BUILDSing the Heights Line
So much is happening all over the city of Memphis these days-- from the massive expansion of Shelby Farms to the renovation of the old Sears building we all know now as the Crosstown Concourse. With so much going on you might miss some of the exciting things happening right inside the neighborhoods around us. Mitchell Heights is one of the three main neighborhoods SOS focuses its attention on and as of late this community has started a rather large project of their own called the Heights Line Project. (Read more about the project HERE) Executive Director of the Heights CDC, Jared Myers, thought this project would be a wonderful opportunity for some skilled students from the community to get involved in and he asked some of our High School Builders here at SOS if they could help (Mya-10th grade, Jacquez-9th, Que-9th, Derrion-9th, and Martavious-9th).
Jared organized a work day for volunteers to come by the SOS building to build 20 Planter boxes and 10 Benches which would be used to decorate National street and give the community an idea of what the space could look like and be used for. With close to 40 volunteers by his side, Jared enlisted the high school Builds team to plan and set up workstations as well as cut out all of the materials for the project.
Henry Ford would have been very proud of our Builders as they put their minds together and decided that having an assembly line for the planter boxes and benches was the best way to get the job done. They divided the projects into two areas with three stations each which allowed the volunteers to focus on one part of the assembly and succeed in that area instead of having to learn how to do it all. This also gave the Builders a chance to set up a letter system for the materials so each station knew they only needed to use a certain cut or material when it came time to get building.
Once all the planning was finished it was time for some actual work so the Builders got into the shop and started prepping and cutting out materials for the big work day. They decided that if they had enough materials cut out to make four planter boxes and two benches, they would have enough of a head start to finish cutting out the materials on the day of the build.
Work day came and as volunteers rolled into SOS the lumber started flying off the shelf and for the next four and half hours the Builders made close to 1000 different cuts while volunteers worked away in the parking lot. As 11:30 came around, the last cuts were being made and in the parking lot stood 20 brand new planter boxes and 10 brand new benches. The day went exactly the way the Builders planned it- from setting up stations to pre-cutting out the materials for the volunteers.
It has been so exciting to see the Builders grow-- not only in knowledge of how to use the tools here at SOS but also how to setup and run projects. I know they feel very proud of the skills they have and even look forward to future projects that will allow them to show off what they have learned with us here at SOS.