Back on my Feet’s posting articulates the common goals and shared ideals of Back on my Feet and Furnishing A Future.
The Gender Wall Falls. Usually the first question asked at a Furnishing A Future orientation meeting is, “Do you take women?” The resounding answer of “Of course!” has never been taken up…until now. Tyra has not only taken up the challenge, but has run hard with it…right to the finish line of a beautifully crafted dresser and a full-time career in this field. Our answer to the question will never be the same again!
Our 25th graduate finishes the program with both a full-time job (making custom cabinets) and a smile!
Broadcast on Sirius XM's 'Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School.'
Furnishing a Future's collaboration with the Fairmont Park Conservancy provides locally grown trees in Fairmont Park to be used as the raw materials for Furnishing a Future's projects and NextFab's wood shop benches. As the article states, "Philly wood could be used by a Philly workforce development program to train Philly’s returning citizens to get jobs in Philly while providing furniture for Philly’s homeless!’ We liked the idea of a complete local circle.”
Furnishing a Future is honored by the Society of American Registered Architects as the inaugural recipient of their Community Service Award during their annual conference in New York City.
Furnishing a Future recently put out a call for help - asking for donations that would be put toward their BMW (Boots-Meals-Wheels) Fund. This fund is paying for the purchase of needed work boots to start a job, and meals/transportation during training.
Dunham (a division of The Rockport Group that has been making fine boots since 1885), and Bombas (a high quality sock company) have heard the call, and responded with open hearts and generosity. They have agreed to supply each graduate of Furnishing a Future with a brand new pair of steel-tipped work boots and five pairs of high quality socks.
Our most recent graduate just completed the program, and will move into a fine carpentry position with a local real estate developer in Philadelphia - sporting his new boots and socks.
Furnishing a Future's collaboration with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Philadelphia School District produces their first student-craftsman graduate (and enjoys watching him graduate high school the following week!) He is now focused on a career in this field, and enrolled in a two year associates degree program at the Commonwealth Technical Institute.
Students are continuing to graduate from the program and secure full-time jobs! However, we decided that too many candidates come to our shop, are motivated to begin a career in this field, and are ready and able to work...but are not meeting the minimum math skill level needed to begin.
Instead of turning these good candidates away, FAF decided to expand our five-week training program to include a new Carpentry Math Boot Camp. This one-week program will focus exclusively on the math concepts and applications.
Our first graduate finishes the program on a Friday afternoon....and begins a full-time job as a skilled craftsman the following Monday...at a local Philadelphia company - building custom doors and windows. A full-time position with a salary, overtime pay, benefits, medical insurance and days off.
The second cohort begins their shop orientation class on the same day he starts his new career. Hopefully, the cycle will just keep repeating itself!
Furnishing a Future gets some terrific news coverage early on:, 2016 article.
November, 2016 article.
November, 2016 Fox 29 TV news segment.
December, 2016 article. "Philly Gives Back" (p. 4)
The original vision of Furnishing a Future finally comes to fruition: furniture made by homeless returning citizens is delivered to a furniture bank set up to provide furniture to people transitioning from homelessness to their own homes. One student made sure to inform the Philadelphia Furniture Bank driver, "y'know...this didn't just come from a store...we made it!!"