WE ARE A COMMUNITY BUILDING SKILLS FOR ALL LEVELS OF ABILITY
WE BELIEVE EVERYONE CAN LEARN VALUABLE TRADE SKILLS
DoodleBug Workshop is Changing Lives One Tool At A Time by equipping the special needs community with vocational skills, fostering independence, and building self-esteem, all with the help of our volunteers in our community.
One Mother’s Journey:
It all began in 2016. Sarah Starke wanted something more for her son and others like him who were born with an intellectual disability. Transitioning out of high school left him and his friends lacking meaningful challenges to help them grow into adulthood. She recognized a strong need for something more physically and intellectually challenging to realize their untapped potential.
Sarah knew that teaching skills that would be valuable to an employer would give a sense of self-confidence and accomplishment. Starting with a few sets of hand-me-down power tools and an idea to create wooden products, Sarah tapped into the community for support and volunteers to help provide a structured program that offered adults with disabilities new skills, confidence, a sense of accomplishment, and respect.
Humble Beginnings in a Wheaton Garage:
So the plan was set in motion. Sarah networked within her channels of influence and started DoodleBug Workshop out of her garage. With the help of volunteers, it was transformed into a woodworking shop/classroom. Within two years, a Board was created, non-profit status was achieved, community partners and volunteers were committed to the success of DoodleBug Workshop, and the program was expanded to include an assembly line of tasks. These tasks that vary in degrees of skill levels could be performed by young people at multiple locations.
Participants make decorative products from wood, metal and reclaimed materials that are sold to the public. Workshops are held weekly and participants receive instruction based on ability level and are evaluated regularly. Woodworking shop participants learn to use the drill press, belt and hand sanders, creating the component pieces that are the makings of DoodleBug products. Others do Finishing work in assembly-line fashion and learn to paint, glue and assemble. Horticulture skills have also been taught, with vegetables donated to a food pantry.