Wise Young Builders (WYB) is a unique enrichment program for youth ages 8-15. We use carpentry to strengthen participants math skills, confidence and exposure to hobbies and careers. Improving youths success in math is vital to reducing dropout and unemployment rates in our communities, but more importantly, it is a key ingredient in helping bolster confidence and a can-do attitude. WYB bridges youth to the STEM trades and construction industry, helping youth realize the practicality and value in skill development. We help youth design and build projects, meet real estate developers, visit construction sites, use tools and engage in activities to increase their interest in math and STEM related fields. We increase their confidence, aptitude and exposure to careers.
During each session, WYB participants spend the time learning age appropriate math concepts such as multiplication, division, fractions, area, perimeter, and more. This is done through our instructors and math coaches. Further, we teach youth how to read a tape measure, guide them through the world of building and show them how it connects to mathematics.
Additionally, participants apply their math knowledge by building simple carpentry projects in a hands-on workshop setting. Every student builds a project and is able to take these projects home to share with family and friends. This gives our youth a sense of confidence and accomplishment in using their minds and hands to complete a task.
WYB participants also benefit from early exposure to the building trades through field trips and visits from developers, contractors, master electricians, carpenters and other experts who use math every day in their fields. As guest speakers and mentors, these adults model the positive roles WYB participants can play in society. While our focus is not to build carpenters; we seek to actualize the model/ quote of Frederick Douglass; that "it is easier to build strong boys (children) than to repair broken men".
All goals and activities rest on the twelve-pillar WYB motto, a firm foundation of values that, when internalized, will shape the youth into strong members of their families and communities for the rest of their lives. We value single gender classes in order to create a focused, productive environment.
Wise Young Builders takes inspiration from two important places. First of all, from a young Hebrew carpenter named Jesus of Nazareth who called for social and economic transformation. Secondly, from a 25-year old educator and founder, Booker T. Washington of the Tuskegee Institute, who believed that being skilled in the trades was vital to success in life.
Wise Young Builders was founded in Washington, D.C. in May of 2010. Back then, we were small and intentionally hidden. We officially became incorporated in Washington, D.C. in December 2012 (our real founding date). Executive Director, Elijah Moses organized and ran the first class of Wise Young Builders with a small group of boys with a vision of using project based learning to advance math skills.
The program officially began after a group of moms requested that Mr. Moses teach their children the skills that he was teaching his own son. Parent Advocacy has been at the roots of our humble beginnings. After seeing the confidence, math knowledge, and trade skills that first class of Wise Young Builders gained, it was decided to expand the program to multiple sites across the Washington, D.C. Metro area.
Wise Young Builders is creating a strong foundation of leadership from which the program will grow. Wise Young Builders is a program of the People Who Care Project. We are a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. Additionally, we have recognized exemption in our birth place; Washington, DC, as well as New York and Maryland.