Carpentry in Service of the Community

January 1, 2017
R. Scott Reedy



Carpentry students at St. Mary's Center for Women and Children in DorchesterGrowth has become the watchword for Carpentry (CA), which last year doubled its class size and added a second full-time faculty member, while taking on its first ever community service projects.

Sharpening tools

“There are a lot of people who want to learn carpentry so our enrollment has doubled, and Aaron Butt has joined us as an instructor. Adding another teacher adds another set of ideas and another way to solve problems,” explained Brian Vogt PC ’94, the Department Head and an instructor in the CA program. “We believe we have the ability to make a tangible difference, too, so we’ve incorporated community service into what we do.”

In February, Brian, Aaron, and 23 Carpentry students joined forces with Harborlight Community Partners, a Beverly-based non-profit providing housing for low- and moderate-income people. “We were subcontracted to help renovate a historic home in Beverly,” recalls Aaron of the two-week project. “We removed all the old windows, installed new windows, repaired rot, and replaced interior and exterior trim.” And when those tasks were complete, North Bennet Street School students didn’t look to clock out, according to Harborlight construction foreman Steve Albanese.

“When they finished up ahead of time on the windows, the students asked for additional work. So we had them patch drywall and do some other small jobs as well. I was very happy with their work and they were also well supervised,” says Steve. “Replacement-window jobs are very common these days, too, so that was a good task for the students.”

“We believe we have the ability to make a tangible difference, too, so we’ve incorporated community service into what we do.”

In May, the students participated in the Association of General Contractors’ National Service Day, working alongside representatives from Suffolk Construction, Turner Construction, and other major companies on a project for the non-profit St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children in Dorchester, which offers transitional space for women and children on their way to self-sufficiency.

“We re-plastered and repainted an old kitchen that was turned into a library, and built bookcases for it, too. We also built a bank of 18 food lockers to help the moms and their children keep their food secure. We fabricated the cabinets at NBSS and then installed them on Community Service Day,” says Brian. “Everything went very smoothly. And I think there was an overall feeling of teamwork and accomplishment in finishing the project and knowing it was for a good cause.”

This is one of nine program stories from the NBSS 2016 Annual Report. Download the full Report here, or see more issues on our Publications page.

North Bennet Street School Carpentry Program