Empowering people through the process of making.
The Making Foundation was founded in 2016 to encourage learning through hands-on experience. We have found since then that learning through hands-on experience serves a wider audience than we originally imagined. From empowering people to healing people who have suffered from trauma to workforce development to the average Joe/Jane that just wants to learn a new skill and take a break from their computer work.
Empower People through making
Dreaming up ideas, creating plans and executing them by making with your hands builds confidence, gives someone a purpose and a sense of pride.
Healing through making
Making is a powerful tool. As we mentioned in our previous goal, it has the power to instill confidence, a purpose and a sense of pride. These are essential to healing people who are suffering from trauma or are in rehabilitation.
There are hundreds of jobs in the Roanoke valley and beyond that are not being filled due to lack of awareness of these skilled trade jobs. We hope to spread awareness to our students and prove to them that working with your hands is not “less than.”
Providing the public a space to make
We want the public to use our space for corporate team building to girls night out to birthday parties. Our hope is people will learn to make and love to make and come back often!
“As a society we have a habit of trying to correct what students are bad at, and not focusing on what they’re good at.”
Aaron Ray-dykstra | founder and executive director
What We Do
After School Enrichment
The Making Foundation hosts after-school enrichment for late elementary, middle school and high school kids aged 8-18 in Roanoke City through the 21st Century Grant. The programs teach STEM concepts through an innovative, hands-on project-based curriculum, designed to teach kids problem-solving skills and the basic use of hand tools.
Summer camps for area students ages 8-18 are available starting June 10th. We are offering half-day and full-day options. Camps run for five days and students can sign up for as many camps as they like, building something new every week.
The Making Foundation is excited to offer its first Adult Spring Term beginning April 2nd, 2019!
Adults 18+ can enroll in evening classes from 6:30 pm – 9 pm on either evening of their choice, Tuesday-Thursday. Each student may choose to either have a guided project or they can come in with their own idea and the staff at TMF will help them design it and create it.
Ready to help?
Aaron Dykstra, the creator of The Making Foundation, struggled in traditional classroom settings as a kid. It is this understanding, paired with his creativity, experience as a small business owner, a “maker” and his entrepreneurial spirit that led him to create The Making Foundation.
Founded in 2016, TMF’s first intention was workforce development. There are hundreds of manufacturing jobs that pay upwards of $40k a year that are currently unfilled in the Valley and surrounding areas due to lack of qualified workforce. The high school and college level classes exist, however, we can’t even get students into these programs because of what is ultimately a branding issue. We’ve spent the last 20-30 years teaching kids that a college education is the only way to be successful and that vocational programs are for students who can’t cut it in college. But what we should have been teaching is that kids learn in a variety of ways, and working with one’s hands is not “less than”. We must start reaching these kids (and their parents) at an earlier age.
For an entire generation, we have focused our time and efforts on creating a workforce that would be able to help America compete in the global economy. And yet we’ve neglected the local economies that got us there in the first place. A reflection of the country itself, Roanoke and the surrounding region suffers from profound upward mobility issues, an aging manufacturing workforce and a lack of diverse role models influencing the next generation. Through The Making Foundation, Aaron strives to reach kids across all socioeconomic statuses to impart the basic skills necessary to excel in life and work beyond high school. Furthermore, programming designed specifically for group learning reinforces social development, a vital process to creating an employable workforce.
The Making Foundation is a catalyst for self-improvement, empowering kids to be self-starters. With enough support, programs will one day grow to include outreach into neighboring communities and development of long-term, skills-based apprenticeship programs in the valley and beyond.There are hundreds of manufacturing jobs that pay upwards of $40k a year that are currently unfilled in the Valley and surrounding areas due to lack of qualified workforce. The high school and college level classes exist, however, we can’t even get students into these programs because of what is ultimately a branding issue. We’ve spent the last 20-30 years teaching kids that a college education is the only way to be successful and that vocational programs are for students who can’t cut it in college. But what we should have been teaching is that kids learn in a variety of ways, and working with one’s hands is not “less than”. We must start reaching these kids (and their parents) at an earlier age.
While workforce development is still a prominent goal of ours we have since expanded our programming to achieve additional goals from empowering people, healing people and providing children and adults a space to make.