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Past Winners - Minwax® Do Good With Wood Award

Do Good With Wood Award

2011 Grand Prize Award Winner: Michigan Woodworkers' Guild

Michigan Woodworkers' Guild members have built a doll-sized MRI machine, which allows children to put their dolls through the MRI process, promoting a better understanding of the process and alleviating their stress about undergoing their own procedure. They construct small wooden boxes to hold patients' personal possessions during their hospitalization, and they build "memory boxes" that the hospital uses to return the possessions of children who have lost their fight with illness or injury. Another special project done by members was to make the waiting room more kid-friendly by creating 25 circus-themed picture frames that hold a variety of children's' art class pictures, plus a magazine and book rack that is easily accessible to children of every size. Every year, guild members build and donate hundreds of wooden toys to ensure that all children hospitalized or enduring outpatient care over the holidays gets a toy to keep. And members also build a variety of large toys that are donated for fundraisers – rocking airplanes, elaborate rocking horses, and pedal-powered airplanes.

Greenville Woodworkers Guild Janet Krakow, VP, Marketing, Sherwin-Williams Wood Care Products, presents Ken Wolf, President of Michigan Woodworkers' Guild, with a plaque commemorating the guild members' countless volunteer hours and projects completed on behalf of the Detroit Medical Center's Children's Hospital of Michigan.

2010 Grand Prize Award Winner: Bossier KIDS, Inc.

The volunteers at Bossier KIDS, Inc., a foster care agency in Bossier City, LA, have built sturdy beds for the foster children - who in some cases have had to leave their homes with few personal belongings - to have a safe, snug place to sleep. By designing and building these beds, they saved the nonprofit agency precious funds, freeing up resources to support the foster children in other ways.

The award was made possible through the contributions of three generous woodworkers - Leon Freeman, Joe McDaniel and Jim Stoval, affectionately known around the agency as the "Crafty Old Men."

Crafty Old Men Pictured, left to right: volunteer Joe McDaniel joins Bruce Johnson - wood finishing expert and Minwax® spokesperson, in background - and fellow volunteers Leon Freeman and Jim Stoval to build and stain wooden "hope chests," to be given to children in the care of Louisiana foster care agency Bossier KIDS, Inc.

2009 Grand Prize Award Winner: Lancaster High School Carpentry Program

The Lancaster High School Carpentry Program has a long history of projects completed for the community. Just some of them include building cat shelters for local organization Animal Rescue Friends, creating doghouses and building sheds for the Fairfield Humane Society, and participating in a local Habitat for Humanity project house by doing trim carpentry.

Building on past projects in which the students of the carpentry program have enriched their community, the group is being specially recognized this year for building dozens of wooden rocking toys—horses, snails, airplanes and motorcycles—for children at The Lighthouse, a local shelter for victims of domestic abuse.

Greenville Woodworkers Guild Janet Krakow, VP, Marketing, Sherwin-Williams Wood Care Products, teacher Andy Phillips and Bruce Johnson—wood finishing expert and Minwax® spokesperson join the carpentry students of Lancaster High School to celebrate their recognition as Do Good With Wood Award grand prize winners. The class was presented with a plaque honoring their donations of hand-built wooden toys to children at The Lighthouse shelter, along with a $5,000 check to benefit the school's carpentry program.

2008 Grand Prize Award Winner: Greenville Woodworkers Guild

Living up to the guild's motto of "Giving Through Fellowship," the members of the guild have enriched their community with a wealth of charitable projects, including considerable woodworking done on behalf of Greenville's Meyer Center for Special Needs Children. The Greenville Woodworkers Guild continues to build on a long history of projects completed for the Meyer Center—including special furniture built for disabled children, as well as stools, stairs, storage "cubbies" and physical training equipment.

Projects for 2008 included more than 4,000 volunteer hours building office cabinetry for the center's expansion, and additional physical therapy equipment for the facility. For the holiday season, participants in the guild's toy-building classes constructed and donated more than 300 wooden toys to the Meyer Center and other area charitable organizations. Individual guild members also produced many artistic pieces, which were then donated to the center for its annual silent auction fundraiser.

Greenville Woodworkers Guild Janet Krakow, VP, Marketing, Sherwin-Williams Wood Care Products presents the $5,000 award check to recipient Wayne Comstock, President of the Greenville Woodworkers Guild at their annual cookout event.

2007 Winner: Hardin County High School Trade & Industry Carpentry Program

The entire community rallied in support of Jason Hunt and Rodney Strong, the vocational school instructors, who spearheaded the project and their students in the carpentry class. The students, Hunt said, "did all the work." A local community bank donated the land for the students to build on and set up an interest-free construction loan so that the house could be built at no cost to the students. Local lumber companies helped by donating building materials and supplies or providing materials at a reduced cost. The program also received a SkillsUSA and Lowe's grant, which helped fund a mobile tool unit the students used to haul materials to and from the job site.

Construction of the house has been completed now—all the exterior siding and roofing is done and the interior finishing and construction of cabinets, etc., will be completed in the coming school year. Interest in the project has been so great that enrollment in the residential carpentry class is at an all-time high and many graduating students are now hoping to apply their newly acquired skills to a job in the construction industry.

Hardin County High School Winners The Hardin County High School Trade & Industry Carpentry program students and instructors take a time out in the workshop as they were honored by Minwax® as grand prize winners of the 2007 Do Good With Wood Award. Local industry supporters Josh Wilbanks from Lowe's and James Fitts from Clayton Homes look on.

2006 Winner: Greater West Town Community Development Project – Chicago, IL

Applicants for this program come from Chicago neighborhoods where upwards of 50% of adults have no high school education, over 30% of people are below the poverty level, and where more than 20% of working age adults are unemployed. The Woodworkers Training Program began its first class in March 1993 and the program addresses the urgent need of disadvantaged residents--such as Empowerment Zone residents, ex-offenders, long-term welfare recipients, and women seeking non-traditional careers--for technical skills training leading to careers offering decent wages, stable employment, and growth potential. At the same time, the program addresses the needs of a strategic local industry to develop the skilled and motivated workforce it requires.

The full-time course teaches these low-income residents math and measuring, language skills and job readiness in the context of woodworking. After 3 months and 450 hours of training the staff works with the students to place them in entry-level positions in the woodworking industry. The program at Greater West Town achieves its success through the commitment and determination of trainees, who undergo rigorous screening to enter the program and must meet high standards (without pay) during the training. The four woodworkers on staff, two of whom are graduates of the program, work tirelessly with enrollees to teach them everything they need to know before they help students find an entry-level position in the industry. Once on the job, the employer, employee and trainers are in constant communication to assure a smooth transition.

Since 1993, the Woodworkers Training Program has seen 530 students graduate from the program. Today, a number of local woodworking firms credit the program for their manufacturing success; others cite the program as an important factor in the decisions to remain and expand operations in the area.

The Greater West Town Woodworking Training program graduating class is excited to receive the 2006 Do Good With Wood Award from Minwax. Dominick Pisciotta (holding check), senior vice president Sherwin-Williams Wood Care Product, and wood finishing expert Bruce Johnson (last row, center), presented the award and $5,000 cash grant and conducted a wood-finishing workshop at the Greater West Town facility in Chicago on June 12.

Excited to enhance their skills, students at Greater West Town Woodworking Training Program practice the expert wood-finishing techniques taught to them by Bruce Johnson at a wood-finishing workshop. This workshop was just one of the prizes the program received for winning the 2006 Minwax® Do Good With Wood Award.

2005 Winner: Shoreham-Wading River High School's Industrial Arts and Technology Program

Industrial Arts instructor David Driscoll recommended his students for the award based on their community service project- the Barn Owl Conservation Project. Students designed and built 35 wooden barn owl nests in hopes of helping this endangered species repopulate in their local farmland community. This successful project not only benefited the community but also allowed the students to put their woodworking and technology skills to work while learning about the environment.

The Shoreham-Wading River students have also tackled other community projects including restoring a beloved landmark sign, creating toy trains for the Long Island Rail Road Museum and restoring a gazebo on school grounds. The students are also planning another long-term woodworking project to honor a classmate, Matt Baisley, who died of bone cancer in 2004. They plan to handcraft wooden toys and donate them to a children's research and cancer hospital in Matt Baisley's name.

"It is always gratifying seeing students involved in woodworking at an early age. The Shoreham-Wading River High School students deserve this honor and our congratulations for setting a great example on how important it is for all of us to give back to our communities," says Dominick Pisciotta, senior vice president of marketing Sherwin-Williams Wood Care Products.

2004 Winner: Salem High School Woods Technology Program of Salem, Ohio

Ken Peters, Salem Woods Technology Instructor, sparked his students' interest in community involvement. In 2004, the class worked on two community projects and 43 in-house school repair projects. They began their efforts with a food collection drive for which they built 5-foot sailboats that they raffled in exchange for food donations, gathering over 10,000 food items in the process. In a second fundraiser, the students helped the local Lion's Club by building a deluxe playhouse and raffling it off with the proceeds benefiting those in need of eye care.

The woods technology class also participated in a mentoring program with the special needs classes at Salem High. Each woods technology student partnered with a special needs student to build a paddleboat. The finished boats were raced in the Salem High Paddle Boat Regatta held in the school wood shop. Each special needs student received a trophy for participating and was able to keep the boat that they made with their woods technology partner. The project went beyond teaching woodworking skills, promoting kindness and sensitivity among all students.

"The Salem High program encourages the development of confidence and self-esteem which are necessary qualities to become successful in life," says Dominick Pisciotta, vice president of marketing, Sherwin-Williams Wood Care Group. "Not only are the students learning valuable woodworking skills, but they are learning to put others first and help their community."

2003 Winner: Ovid-Elsie High School Industrial Arts

Ovid-Elsie program director Everett Smith instills skills and confidence in his students, and teaches them self-reliance by assigning challenging woodworking projects. To keep the students interested, he allows them to pick their own projects, which usually include sporting equipment, such as bows and arrows, canoes and paddles.

The students also serve as mentors and teachers, giving back to the community and passing along their skills. During the holidays, they support local charities by making toys for needy children. Over the years, Ovid-Elsie High School's Industrial Arts Program has continued to expand its reach throughout Michigan. Students from other districts are able to visit and participate in woodworking workshops, gaining valuable skills and sharing their pride of craftsmanship.

According to Everett Smith, "One of the reasons why this program has been so successful is the quality of the students themselves. They take pride in what they're working on." After graduation, several of students usually find employment in the industrial arts field, continuing to hone their woodworking skills and becoming successful woodworkers."

photo2002 Winner: Kids Making It

Kids Making It is an after school and summer camp woodworking experience, teaching basic woodworking skills to youth living in Wilmington Housing Authority neighborhoods and Level II Youth Offenders. Developed by Jimmy Pierce, the program director, in collaboration with the Wilmington Housing Authority, the program not only teaches woodworking skills, but also instills positive values and life skills to help prevent juvenile crime in public housing. Successful from the onset, the program appeals to youth aged 8 to 15 years old because it offers young people a chance to have fun while learning a new skill.

“It’s a pleasure to recognize Jimmy Pierce and the contributions that he has made to the community on behalf of the 'Kids Making It' Woodworking Program. When young people are clamoring to get into your workshop you have to be doing something very exciting,” said Dominick Pisciotta, Vice President Marketing, Minwax®. "Kids Making It comprises the essence of the Do Good With Wood Award.”

2001 Winner: Woodworkers For Children Charity

Woodworkers for Children Charity (WCC), located in Laytonsville, MD, donates the toys it crafts to other charitable organizations in the Washington DC area that serve at-risk children. The Charity provides materials, plans and instructions to its volunteers, who produce about 200 wooden toys a month in their own wood shops.

Bob Hammond, category director marketing, Minwax (left) and Do-It-Yourself Expert and Author Bruce Johnson (right), presented the award to Frank Ierardi, Woodworkers For Children Charity president.

2000 Winner: The Woodworkers' Guild of Georgia

The Woodworkers' Guild of Georgia, seen here working on projects with boys from the Mountain Top Boys' Home. Since it was founded in 1980, the Mountain Top Boys' Home has provided education and social nurturing to boys ages 14 thru 17 that have been adjudicated by the courts. In 2000, a wood shop was completed with updated equipment, and an outstanding vocational education program was installed.

Members of Woodworkers' Guild of Georgia work hands-on with the boys.