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Published: April 18, 2013
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National Building Museum Teams Up with Transitional Housing Corporation to Revitalize Community

Teens design and build furniture for families in transition

DAP 2013
 Teen DAP participants examine furniture prototypes. Photo by Museum Staff.

“The experience made me thankful for the home that I live in, and inspired me to create a piece of furniture that a family could find extremely useful in small spaces, and cherish for a lifetime.”

– Taylor Hicks, age 18, after visiting the Transitional Housing Corporation’s transitional apartment building

Since 2001, teen Design Apprenticeship Program participants have planned and constructed solutions to real world design challenges. This spring, the Museum is partnering with the Transitional Housing Corporation (THC), founded in 1990 as a faith-based homeless services organization. DAP participants will design and build at least five pieces of furniture for various families entering THC’s two-year transitional housing program. In addition to building functional furniture, DAP participants aim to create a sense of home for a family in flux. Teens will investigate what makes a house a home and the needs of displaced families.

“I was blown away and impressed by [the teens’] thoughtfulness. They addressed and considered the true needs of the entire home.”

– Andrew Adams, Development and Volunteer Manager, the Transitional Housing Corporation, after seeing design team prototypes

The program culminates in a final presentation and reception, hosted by the National Building Museum, on May 4, from 1–3 pm. Teen design teams present their final products and discuss the design process behind their pieces. Teen families, staff, and constituents of THC will be present. Chase Rynd, executive director, National Building Museum, offers opening remarks.

Past sessions of DAP have partnered with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Takoma Education Campus; the United Office of Planning’s Head Start classrooms; the Dinner Program for Homeless Women; and the Shakespeare in Washington Festival.

National Building Museum Outreach Programs
Tying directly to the Museum’s mission, which is to improve the quality of the built environment by educating people about its impact on their lives, both programs give teens the opportunity to have a real impact on the built environment and the D.C. community through design. Teens also build essential personal and social skills by working as productive team members within defined time and project limitations. Participants range from ages 12 to 18, live in the D.C. metro area, and come from diverse cultural, social, economic, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. All students have a strong interest in design and many want to pursue architecture, engineering, interior design, graphic design, or other design professions in the future. About 30-35 teens will participate in each program.

The National Building Museum’s teen outreach programs are generously supported by The William Randolph Hearst Foundation; the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation; Bloomberg; the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts; MARPAT Foundation, Inc.; Clark Charitable Foundation; McGraw-Hill; Prince Charitable Trusts; The Tower Companies; and an anonymous donor. Geppetto Catering, Inc. is the official Meal Provider for Teen Outreach Programs at the National Building Museum.

The Transitional Housing Corporation is a 22 year-old, faith-based non-profit that provides housing programs and comprehensive supportive services to homeless and at-risk families so that they can make transformational changes in their lives. THC’s housing programs include transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing, and affordable rental housing. THC’s services and programs contribute to permanent housing and effectively move families out of homelessness by improving self-determination, employment and life skills, and mitigating barriers to stable housing.

The National Building Museum is America’s leading cultural institution dedicated to advancing the quality of the built environment by educating people about its impact on their lives. Through its exhibitions, educational programs, online content, and publications, the Museum has become a vital forum for the exchange of ideas and information about the world we build for ourselves. Public inquiries: 202.272.2448 or visit www.nbm.org. Connect with us on Twitter: @BuildingMuseum and Facebook.

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