“The change in the girls over time and to hear the stories of girls who have gone through the program is really remarkable to see.”
Maris Wofsy attended a fundraiser for Girls at Work three years ago and thought “when I retire, I am going to get involved with that group.” She really cares about the mission of the organization and made it her first priority to get involved when she eventually did retire. She has been a volunteer instructor for the Women’s Build classes, has helped with the summer camp program and most recently taught a Birthday build for 8-10 year old girls.
Maris has stayed involved with Girls at Work for over a year and a half and explains the impact that these classes have on girls and women. She says that often there are women who come to classes and are skeptical about their abilities to use power tools. One time she had a woman who came to a class and said that she had a basement full of power tools and didn’t have the courage to learn how to use them. After taking the class that Maris taught she said she felt confident and said she would now be able to use her tools at home and was excited to build more. Maris reflects on her experience as an instructor, “Women learn confidence, safety and how to work in a logical progressional…after two hours of building you can see them pumped up [about what they built].”
Maris has gained an awareness of the impact that this program has had on the girls in the Manchester area, “seeing the change in the girls over time is really great and the stories of girls who have gone through the program and where it has taken them is really remarkable.” Volunteering with Girls at Work has been a fulfilling experience for Maris and she has gained confidence as an instructor because so many women are looking to her and believing in her ability as a teacher. “You get so much back…It’s a blast and anybody can get involved.”
“The knowledge and insight to see how other people evolve from the program and myself evolving from the program is monumental”
Pam and her wife were encouraged to get involved with the program by a close friend who said that Girls at Work was made for them. She started out helping before the series of women’s classes were established and was one of the first instructors to come on board. Pam enjoys volunteering with Girls at Work because she really appreciates that the Women’s build program directly contributes to the success of the youth program. She also loves to see the look in peoples faces at the end of a class as they leave feeling accomplished and proud.
Pam grew up around power tools and has always been quite vocal in questioning the status quo and stereotypes of women. Girls at Work has opened Pam’s eyes because not all women have had similar experiences with power tools and some have “expectations that these tools aren’t made for them.” She goes on to say that “society in general has made women passive and now there is a shift that says it’s okay to be powerful and to have your own voice,” and that is what Girls at Work is all about.
Pam encourages women to let go of striving for absolute perfection. “When any woman comes here to build she is learning how to become confident and self-sufficient, if they are quick to point out all the flaws in their work they are devaluing their accomplishments and we strive to find beauty in the process and finished product of every build.”
If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering with Girls at Work, Pam says, “do it! No matter what your skill level is, if you want to commit, definitely take the steps to get involved – don’t wait, there is no reason to not get involved now.”
“I have gained knowing some great people and being able to do things that I love. I love working in the shop and I could do this everyday”
Mary Crawford has always enjoyed working with power tools and was doing some handy work with a partner for a few years until he was no longer able to work. She was getting bored and was looking for something to do when a friend told her about Girls at Work and said it was right up her alley. She stopped by to meet Elaine and watched her teach a class. Mary ended up staying to help with one of the Women’s Build classes that same day.
Mary is not only a women’s instructor for Girls at Work. She has put in many hours helping to maintain their space by cleaning, organizing, painting, building, etc. as well as participating in events such as DIVA. “I enjoyed working on DIVA night, Mel and I ran one of the rooms and it was really rewarding to see all that we accomplished.” Mary has continued to stay involved because she thinks it is a good cause to support.
Mary encourages people who are interested in getting involved with Girls at Work to go for it. “You will meet really great people and you’ll enjoy working with the girls. I have really enjoyed teaching the Women’s Classes and watching women who have never used power tools finish a project and seeing how proud they are.”