The 100-year-old Horace Mann building at 2410 East Cherry is preparing to begin a new life as home for an education pilot project for Seattle teens who have dropped out of school but want to get back on track. When starting new things, it’s always nice to fix yourself up a little. This weekend, a small Pacific Northwest army of volunteers will report for duty on East Cherry to lend their elbow grease to a $100,000 Seattle Department of Neighborhoods grant awarded for cleaning up the mothballed school.
Details on the weekend’s work are below. We received this update on volunteer enthusiasm from organizers: “We have received an amazing outpouring of local volunteers sign ups, and as of tonight (11/15), nearly 60 volunteers from all around Seattle – and as far away as Portland, Ore. – are expected to participate.”
“EXTREME MAKEOVER: SCHOOLHOUSE EDITION”
WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 20 & Sunday, Nov. 21, 10am – 5pm each day
WHERE: Horace Mann School Building, 2410 E Cherry St, Seattle, WA 98122
What do you get when you combine a 100-year old school building, community volunteers and handyman, Chris Stevens?
We call it, “Extreme Makeover: Schoolhouse Edition” and you can call it the most rewarding weekend in Seattle.
On Nov. 20 and 21, the volunteer forces of local nonprofit, BEAN Seattle, with the community forces of the Central District, and helping transform the historic Horace Mann school building into a refuge for the vulnerable youth of Seattle.
Leased by Work It Out Seattle – a collaboration of Central District activists and education leaders – the Horace Mann building will soon be a grassroots alternative school, drawing in 16 – 21 year-olds from the CD and beyond, who have dropped out of high school and are hovering on the edge of poverty and homelessness.
But before it can open its doors, this centurion schoolhouse needs a little TLC. Work It Out Seattle has already received a City of Seattle $100,000 Neighborhood Matching grant for the first year of the project, but its relying on community volunteers – like those of BEAN Seattle and its partner groups – to help fix up Horace Mann and successfully integrate the city’s at-risk youth back into society.
Under the guidance and direction of Stevens, a long-time BEAN Seattle member, the community volunteers will be stripping, sanding and refinishing the school’s vast hardwood floors. These floors show decades of wear and decay, but BEAN Seattle’s team of volunteers is dedicated to making them shine once more – all 11,000 square feet of them!
This project will be divided over Saturday and Sunday, with two shifts each day – 10am to 1pm, and 1pm to 5pm.
“Of all the service events BEAN does, this is probably the most hands-on and meaningful project we’ve had the opportunity to be a part of,” said Lisa Smith, BEAN Seattle’s VP of Service. “When almost half of all minority youth in Seattle fail to graduate high school, this is our chance to make a difference the entire city will benefit from.”