Community Boat Project gets $10K to provide shelter

Tiny house-builders get paid internships, job training, community connections

Posted 5/29/19

The Jefferson Community Foundation’s “Better Living Through Giving Circle” has given the Community Boat Project $10,000 for a landlocked community service program.

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Community Boat Project gets $10K to provide shelter

Tiny house-builders get paid internships, job training, community connections

Posted

The Jefferson Community Foundation’s “Better Living Through Giving Circle” has given the Community Boat Project $10,000 for a landlocked community service program.

Members of the group stopped by Community Boat’s hillside hangar in Port Hadlock May 16 to cheer on “Shelter from the Storm,” a program which tasks interns aged 18-25 with building tiny homes, as both a job training program and community service.

The $10,000 award is expected to fund as many as half a dozen intern positions. Circle Member Roger McPherson praised the program for contributing to the Foundation’s objectives of training young people for careers, providing assistance to those in need in the community, and fostering a healthier environment.

“You have all of it together under one program,” McPherson said.

Earll Murman, vice president of the Foundation’s Board, credited Community Boat with teaching its students “to think” as much as to develop employable skills. Community Boat Captain Wayne Chimenti sees his programs, among them Shelter from the Storm, as ways to break the Catch-22 cycle of needing experience to obtain a job, and a job to gain experience.

“Imagine you get out of high school and don’t know what to do,” Chimenti said. “You don’t want college, or can’t afford it. You have no real skills. How do you learn a trade that is satisfying and pays well? How do you get that first job?”

Chimenti sees tiny houses as a means for these students to develop job, life and building skills, while establishing connections to the surrounding community and affording them an outlet for artistic expression through architectural design and even furnishing them with wages in the process.

“Our goal is to give young adults not only the hard skills, but also the soft skills of industry,” Chimenti said. “Being great with tools is not going to cut it if you can’t learn to show up on time, or communicate with your employer.”

As a bonus, Chimenti sees Shelter from the Storm as tapping into the “Shed Boy” legacy of Jefferson County, as well as helping to chip away at the county’s housing crisis. Original Olympic Mountain settlers were referred to as “Shed Boys,” a term adopted by back-to-the-land hippies and now used to describe residents forced by Port Townsend housing prices into non-standard housing.

Giving Circle members said Community Boat won this competitive grant on the strength of stories by past interns, and a long history of successful programs.

Kasha Mascarena is one of the Community Boat’s success stories.

Although currently enrolled in the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building, just down the hill, Mascarena did his share of tiny house-building with the aim of providing affordable housing for others, and perhaps even himself.

Mascarena credited Community Boat with not only grounding him in the foundations of woodworking and the maritime trades, but also introducing him to related fields like welding.

“I never would have thought this is where I’d be,” Mascarena said. “But I’ve learned to focus and communicate with other people better. I can take instruction, and I’ve built up a pretty good work ethic.”

Community Boat starts its new round of internships in September, and more information is available at communityboats.wordpress.com.

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