Shelter from the Storm
A Mighty Tiny Revolution
Shelter from the Storm Objectives: Job training, empowerment, connections to the community, especially the job market, and leadership.
We aim to give youth 18 – 25 years old a paid internship which will give them the skills to transition into the working world as functioning adults.
Why this age group?
After years of working with youth we realize the first years out of high school are the key. During school years students are always tracked, but once they graduate or turn 18 – they are on their own. When the family is dysfunctional, this time and next step can be crippling to a young adult. With this program we want to focus on serious job training and making the connections to transition successfully into a person’s first job.
Why Build Tiny Houses?
1) Skills. Small buildings require planning, design, art, creativity, and problem solving, in short all the soft skills, and hard skills needed.
2) Service. There will be an element of service in that Homes will be used by Bayside Housing as one of the solutions to our homeless crisis in Jefferson County.
3) Empowerment. Building a Tiny House is incredibly empowering. It is a skill set that can be apply one’s own life. For youth who feel home ownership is a fantasy, this is obtainable security that they can do themselves. A first step as they build a life.
4) Leadership. There is an element of leadership as these interns help organize volunteers and younger youth. They are encouraged to develop a sense of ownership of the project.
Jefferson County has proportionally a higher homeless rate than King County. Tiny Houses are not the solution, but a transitional element; and they can useful to help raise awareness.
We primarily work with high school aged youth and young adults to keep them in school by finding a passion that excites them. We believe in a strong community, and that means helping our most vulnerable youth get the skills they need to succeed. Our shop is a place where any youth can feel at home and be accepted.
80% of our youth are from single parent, welfare homes. Most are in alternative programs or out of school. These students long to be accepted and interact with functioning adults. These students want hope. Hope out of the mess they are living in. That hope comes from learning a skill, which in turn leads to a job.
Although we call it the Community Boat Project, boats are a small part of what we do. We build musical instruments, we build Tiny Houses, we teach welding, we teach art – anything to hook a student and get them excited about learning. Sometimes it is a certain project that turns the key that excites learning, but just as often it is the bond with certain adult. Our student/mentor ratio is usually 1:1 and never more than 3:1. These adults are then the pathway into the job world. They are the connection to the Community.
The job world is more often about the soft skills of industry rather than the hard. We teach problem solving, communication, showing up on time, teamwork, and focus. Our volunteer pool of 30 – 50 individuals are incredibly dedicated to helping our youths find acceptance and a sense of purpose.
Challenges/ Needs We are Addressing
Despite tourist images of the Victorian Seaport of Port Townsend, most of Jefferson County is rural and extremely challenged.
- 23% of the children in Jefferson County are living in poverty
- 24% of the youth are disconnected in Jefferson County
- The unemployment rate in Jefferson County is nearly twice the national average
Statistics reflect the impact of the lack of necessary programs and services. For example, in Quilcene School district:
- 28.6% of children between the ages of 5-17 live in poverty
- Only 16.6% of the students met the standards for math
- Only 27% of the students meet the standard for English
The rural, Chimacum School District (serving Chimacum, Port Hadlock, and Irondale) also shows bleak statistics, with 17.2% of children 5-17 living in poverty and only 33.8% meeting the math standard.