CAM Laboral school works with students from 15 to 25 years of age who possess a variety of handicaps and special needs. In the past there had been a carpentry shop where students were taught how to use power tools. The school does not currently have a teacher in this capacity and when we inquired about activities/projects we could do for the school we were asked if we could possibly hold a workshop to teach some students and some of the teachers how to safely use these tools. We agreed to do this and to also incorporate making boards with hooks that could hold coats, backpacks and aprons.
With 3 teachers and 7 students in attendance we talked about safety. We demonstrated how quickly a band saw could cut off four fingers of a wooden hand. We also demonstrated a portable skilsaw, hand drills, a drill press and palm sander and then asked if anyone would like to use these tools. Everyone’s hands shot into the air as the students were very eager to use these tools.
The students took turns measuring, cutting, sanding, and drilling to prepare their projects. It was wonderful to see the interest the students had in creating something. Henry, the local teach of the computer class participated and later told me “I am very sad about this workshop. Prior to this day, my computer class was the favorite activity for these kids. They now tell me the carpentry class is their favorite!” It was a joy to work with these kids and to allow them the experience of making something that they will use in the school.