We started building Community Shop Class a year ago. We found our home in a mostly abandoned building in Oak Park that had been neglected for much of its life. The AC and most electrical had been stripped out for scrap, and the building was simply uninhabitable. While the task seemed overwhelming, the purpose and mission were clear:
* Bring affordable family activities to Oak Park.
* Create summer and after-school programs for neighborhood teens
* Build an inspiring space that is safe and comfortable that also encouraged community involvement and fairness.
* Teach basic classes that help our neighbors discover careers in the trades and arts.
* Provide access to tools and equipment that may be financially out of reach for residents in the area
* Help others grow food and feed neighbors
* Support Oak Park
The hope was to bring life back to a block of buildings along Stockton Blvd that thousands drive by daily but never see. Shop Class quickly became a resource to our business neighbors and local not for profits. However, the block is still littered with mostly neglected buildings where small business people work tirelessly to survive. Unfortunately, some building owners are not doing their part to help the block or support our businesses.
Community Shop Class takes neighborhood involvement seriously. Our work is spread throughout many non-profits, community gardens, local businesses and neighbors. We don’t seek admiration from these efforts, although we hope to be an example that businesses can be small, helpful, and compassionate and still survive. Families in Oak Park deserve a safe place to build, access to tools and supportive coaching. Community Shop Class can make a huge impact if we have your help.
Chad and all of the friends of Shop Class.
Follow us on IG @communityshopclass