Start building: New Raleigh business aims to teach kids – and parents – carpentry – WRAL.com
By Sarah Lindenfeld Hall, Go Ask Mom editor
Raleigh, N.C. — Carl Robbins has been working with his hands for most of his life. Whether he was tinkering or building, he was always creating.
And now Robbins, along with his wife Cassie, have created something else – a business called Kids Learning Carpentry LLC. Through programs, classes and parties, they aim to teach kids the value of this life skill and build on the other benefits of making something from scratch, which include creative thinking, self-reliance, mathematical thinking and problem solving.
Carl teaches carpentry at Athens Drive Magnet High School. He also has worked in the design department for the N.C. Museum of History, Marbles Kids Museum and the N.C. Museum of Art. Cassie teaches world history at Cardinal Gibbons High School. The couple lives in downtown Raleigh with their three kids – ages 2 to 7.
I checked in with the Robbins to learn more about Kids Learning Carpentry. Here’s a Q&A:
Go Ask Mom: What sparked the idea for Kids Learning Carpentry? Why is it so important for kids to learn these skills?
Carl and Cassie Robbins: In October 2018, we launched Kids Learning Carpentry, LLC out of the back of our family minivan in the blur that was our regular routine – getting all three kids out the door each morning, teaching our full load of high school classes, pick up the kids, take care of all the chores, make sure homework was done and expose our children to as many life skills as possible. One run-of-the-mill Saturday afternoon, as the kids slept in their car seats and Carl and I sat blissfully in the stillness of nap time (waiting for ballet and tap class to begin), it occurred to us that Carl had a life skill we had an obligation to share with our community.
Carl has been an artist his entire life, dabbling in every medium from pastels to paint and woodworking. Over the last three years, Carl has honed his art skills into a successful teaching career. He is currently the moderator of the woodshop and teacher of three varying levels of carpentry curriculum.
From the moment we conceived of our business, Carl and I have devoted countless hours to bringing Kids Learning Carpentry, LLC to fruition. The blur that was our regular routine began to crystalize. We felt a new passion and purpose. The mission of Kids Learning Carpentry, LLC is two-fold:
1. To offer kids of all ages the opportunity to learn a precious (and quickly vanishing) life skill.
2. To create and maintain a sustainable and economically lucrative business with the potential for maximum growth on both the local and national level
GAM: What all do you offer? What are your programs like and for what ages?
Carl Robbins: We offer individual, parent/ child, and small group lessons to kids of ALL ages. We have created modular work benches which are fully equipped with all necessary carpentry essentials. Therefore, at KLC we can turn any classroom or event space into our workshop, providing a truly authentic woodworking experience for our students. In addition, KLC strives to make our classes as user friendly as possible. We can come to you. All we need is a kitchen table, garage or shed. Our classes accommodate today’s busy families.
GAM: What do you love about teaching kids carpentry – and helping parents and kids, together, learn the skill?
Carl: Anytime parents can slow down and kids can break away from their devices and actually learn something together is a win-win. Carpentry has an enormous amount of value, and to be a part of sharing this with our community is very fulfilling.
GAM: The response has been overwhelming, you tell me. Why do you think that is?
Carl: I think parents today realize that the pace of life is too fast, and perhaps something is missing. We have three kids, and we’re in it like everyone else. Innovation and technology is great, but we have to reconnect with the basics. There is such a fulfillment building with your hands, and I think that is something that is inherent in all of us. Whatever the age, it’s a need we want fulfilled. Kids love building with LEGO blocks, and many adults want to make something themselves.
GAM: What do you hope the future looks like for your business?
Carl: We hope to see KLC as part of every afterschool program, deeply involved in community enhancement projects, and an integral partner in service and outreach programs throughout the Raleigh-Durham area.
Go Ask Mom features local parents every Monday.