By SHERI GASSAWAY
A group of 24 local craftswomen shared their love of construction with the future generation by teaching them the tools of the trade at a recent girls’ woodworking workshop.
Union tradeswomen, including carpenters, tinners, electricians, laborers and floorlayers, spent the day volunteering at the May 18 event, which was held at the Nelson-Mulligan Carpenters Training Center in Affton. About 25 girls between eight and 18 participated in the free workshop.
Lynda Mueller-Drendel, an instructor at the training center who organized the event, said she was pleased with the turnout and grateful for the tradeswomen who volunteered to empower the next generation.
“The workshop introduces girls to the concept of working with their hands and tools and helps them build self-confidence,” Mueller-Drendel said. “It also gives them the opportunity to learn the skills and introduce them to a career they otherwise might not have considered.”
The girls were taught how to use a hammer, drill, hand saw, palm sander and level and each built a plant stand to take home.
Seven-year-old McKinzey Matthews of Florissant thoroughly enjoyed herself at the event. “Learning how to be a construction worker is fun, and I really liked using all the tools,” she said, grinning.
McKinzey’s mom, Shenell Matthews, learned about the event through the Matthews-Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ Club. Lisa Orr, of St. Louis, also found out about the workshop through the club and enrolled her 13-year-old daughter Barbara Orr.
“I wanted to broaden her mindset and to let her know there are other career avenues you can pursue, and this was a perfect opportunity for her to learn that,” Lisa Orr said.
The workshop was sponsored by the St. Louis Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Program, the Sisters in the Brotherhood of the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council and Missouri Women in Trades.
The Carpenters Regional Council and Moscow Mills Lumber donated materials for the event and the Alberici Corporation and the St. Louis chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction donated funds for lunch and other needed items.