WELCOME TO THE BUILD-IT BUS
Current Project: making "Little Free Libraries" at West Philadelphia High School
•A Ministry of Ardmore Presbyterian Church: The Build-it Bus is a traveling creative workshop that operates out of a refitted para-transit bus. The Bus is a ministry of Ardmore Presbyterian to urban children, offering opportunities for learning woodworking and other skilled handcrafts. Students work on the bus itself, which is equipped with workbenches and manual tools re-engineered for children. The Build-it Bus can partner with churches, urban schools, after-school programs, day care centers, summer camps, senior centers. The bus operates in the Philadelphia area.
For students coming aboard, The Build-it Bus is a novel and welcoming space. The interior space of the bus is equipped as flexible work-shop space for a variety of hand skills - from woodworking to sewing craft to cooking. (See the navigation bar to browse for list of classes for different age groups).
The Build-it Bus seeks to offer students the opportunity to make meaningful projects for themselves, for their communities, and for their families - projects that teach life skills, enhance relationships, teach self-sufficiency.
•We travel to location tailoring anything from single one hour classes to full 5 to 12 week courses for:
- Church programs/events
- Summer camps
- After-school programs
- Day care centers and pre schools
- Adult senior centers
•The Build-it Bus is an urban/suburban partnership. Begun in 2008, the ministry has received both financial and volunteer support from such organizations as Ardmore Presbyterian Church, The West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC), Eastern University's outreach to The Barry School, grants from the Presbytery of Philadelphia, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, and private donors.
Funded by a combination of grants and fees, prices per class are charged on a sliding scale based on the ability to pay.
•The Build-it Bus is handicap accessible.
We want children to experience the joy of working with their hands. Students feel the pride of learning tool-skills and techniques in various media. They learn the satisfaction of making projects by hand that are constructed out of quality materials and are of real use. Students express themselves creatively. They feel a degree of control over their environment. They are given the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to their family’s and community’s wellbeing. All this is underpinned by warm working friendships with each other and with leaders.
- Youth Woodshop at Woodland Presbyterian: Woodland Youth Group builds items in response to mission needs. The woodshop specializes in woodturning with lathes engineered for kids. PHOTOS (pending particpants' permission)
- Chess Sets: Students make their own chess pieces on hand-cranked lathes. They also make their own chess boards and learn to play chess (Gesu School, Spruce Hill School and WePAC at the Joseph Leidy School). PHOTOS
Chess Shop web page
- Roof Top Garden at the Barry School: Students made garden structures for a thematic garden (growing ingredients for pizza making) on the Barry School roof-top garden. The project culminated with a crowded roof-top pizza party. PHOTOS (pending particpants' permission)
- Drumming-making: Children make drums with piping and rawhide. They are led in a drum workshop by an African drummer (Leidy School, Eastern University summer camp for Barry School, The John Gloucester House). PHOTOS
- Six string electric guitars: Kids make functioning electric guitars (Rhoads School). PHOTOS
- Three string guitars: Students make easy to play three string guitars (dulcimer fretting) and learn to play hymns (Trinity Presbyterian Church, Eastern University summer camp for Barry School, Spruce Hill Academy). PHOTOS
- Magic tricks: Students practice reading written directions by learning magic tricks (Barry School, Fresh Air Fund). PHOTOS
- Book-making: Kids make leather-bound journals (Ardmore Presbyterian Church, Barry School). PHOTOS
- Window Boxes: Students construct window boxes (Barry school). PHOTOS
- Button Making: Bus travels to Church street-evangelism fairs and kids make their own pin-on buttons (Mill Creek Baptist Church, Darby Baptist). PHOTOS
- Hand-Cranked Lathe: Student made a hand-cranked lathe. (Ardmore Presbyterian). PHOTOS
- Senior Center projects: Senior adults make furniture and other items for the home. PHOTOS
- Young Children and Worship Materials Making Workshops: The Bus helps congregations build materials for the Montessori-based Christian Education curriculum. PHOTOS (pending particpants' permission)
Photos of Bus Workshop
The Build-it Bus
Workshop set up for lathing (making chess pieces)
Workshop set up for woodworking
Students working on hand-cranked lathes
Student working on a chess Queen
Pop-out space built on the extended lift - for reading, playing quiet games
Playing chess (and eating popcorn) in the Pop-out
The Pop-out in warm weather