Luke began by making this statement: “This program is an opportunity for veterans to go to the Sam Beauford Workshop and work for free”! The group’s mission, he said, is: “PROMOTING POSITIVE OUTCOMES FOR VETERANS THROUGH PEER MENTORSHIP AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION”.
According to the US Government, he said, only about half of veterans get the help that they need due to such reasons as: many suffer from shame and stigma, the fear of being seen as weak, a lack of understanding about treatment options, concerns over wait time and the inability to travel distances for care. This program, Luke said, will provide them what they need right here in Adrian. These will not be therapy sessions but will go a long way to increase the self-esteem of the men and women who served our country.
While we’ve all heard of PTSD (a condition caused generally by a single event), Luke said, CPTSD is a different condition and a bit harder to treat. It is repeated trauma over an extended period of time. Both, he said, can be addressed through woodworking. The program will consist of “Woodworking Wednesdays”. The workshop will be closed to the public those days and be a veterans ONLY day. No classes for the public will be scheduled that day, Luke said.
Veterans will be able to come in and choose from several options. One option will allow them to use the machinery to make whatever objects they want with some materials the workshop will provide. There will also be the educational component which will allow veterans to participate in training by skilled instructors. Classes will be offered in guitar making, knife making, etc. There will also be a PTSD support group even though it won’t be called that.
The success of the program, Luke said, will be measured in several different ways. A veteran who completes a high quality project will be deemed a success. “These are not your typical popsicle sticks and toilet paper tubes. These are projects that have marketable value in the world.” Veterans will see their accomplishments as meaningful. As participants develop skills on machines, they get vocational certification for doing it through a national accredited organization, Luke said. It will be a real plus for those wanting to get into the woodworking industry long term.
Luke shared with the audience the cost involved which was just under $35,000 that would include instructor wages, materials, facility expenses, marketing, tooling & software, and certification fees for up to 20 veterans. Thanks to the equipment the workshop currently has, the costs to launch and run this program have been greatly reduced. This program will seek funding from outside donors as well as from our club who has already confirmed it as a club program. It could very well be our “signature project”!
Following our regular meeting a group of members and veterans from the area as well as four who traveled from Big Rapids met to discuss the details.