By: Aaron Green
Volunteers at the Rebuilding Center are the life-blood of the organization. I heard a staff member say that once during a tour. It’s a big thing to say, too. Could it really be true? When I stop to consider the 15,000+ hours our 2,250 volunteers contributed to our organization in 2018 alone, from wrangling and sorting in hardware and lighting, to lifting and moving heavy items in the lumber yard, data entry and receipt organization in the admin office, to material preparation and tool maintenance in the education shop, I find myself having to conclude that in some ways, yes, I think we really do run on the generosity of our volunteer help! Our volunteers, whether they’re aware of it or not, provide a special service that really does bolster the greater life of our operation.
Now, I may be biased (as one who spends half their time in the Education Shop!), but Marci Edwards, a regular (weekly) volunteer in the shop, and occasional teaching assistant on the weekends, has been one of the most helpful volunteers we’ve had in the two-and-a-half years that our department has been around. From the beginning, Marci made it clear that she was looking grow as a woodworker, and that otherwise she was happy to help however. Marci was a quick study. Before long she was safely and expertly ripping plywood on the saws, maintenancing our planers, and putting together brand new table saws! On top of that, she was always one of the first people to welcome new volunteers into our space and show them the ropes.
We’re going to miss Marci’s calm, caring demeanor and carpentry expertise in our shop. We wish her well in this next chapter and hope to see her again later in the year! She was kind enough to sit down with me for a brief interview about her time with us. Please enjoy!
Q: Marci, how long have you been volunteering with us at the Rebuilding Center?
A: I think it was November 2018 when I started volunteering, but I actually got started here as a student.
Q: Oh really? What the first class you took with us?
A: I took the Hopping Toys class back in September, but then when I found out about some of your more carpentry-heavy classes, I got myself signed up for those. I took the Rough-to-Finished Lumber class, and then the Tablesaw Bootcamp class after that. I knew I really needed to learn the tools from those classes.
Q: So before volunteering with us, what were one or two things you were hoping to gain from your experience at RBC?
A: Safety training and comfortability with using large tools, like the table saw! Then I wanted to learn how to take a deeper dive in rabbets and dados and basic joinery techniques. Which then led me to routers! I feel comfortable and confident enough (since I took routers class as well!).
Q: While here, what has been a unique tool or technique that you’ve learned to work with that you didn’t expect to?
A: Using the circle jig on the bandsaw (for a plant stand), and being able to see a cross-cut sled work [on the table saw]. Also, getting to receive positive feedback from some female students about how I was a resource to them was really fun. It was pleasantly surprising.
Q: What’s been your favorite part about your time here?
A: Getting to build the porch step for a tiny home for the Kenton Women’s Village with another volunteer; getting to see it start from beginning to end, making mistakes and getting to learn from them. That was very rewarding.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about RBC as a whole?
A: It has an amazing staff that is caring, competent, helpful, people-oriented. The staff here in the shop are wonderful as well!
Q: Are you sad to be leaving us for a little while?
A: I am. I've really enjoyed my time in the shop. It's a nice place to go and use the other side of my brain. It's a special treat to get to come in and get to work with wood.