Wise Young Builders, Using Carpentry to Build Character in DC Youth

Student participates in the Wise Young Builders program

Student participates in the Wise Young Builders program

Wise Young Builders (WYB) knows about building foundations, both in the literal sense and in the lives of children in DC Wards 5,6,7 and 8, areas that experience the District’s highest rates of unemployment and subsequently the highest rates of poverty. In 2009, founder, Elijah Moses established the program, noticing the trend that when children don’t see family members being productive, many will in turn become unproductive themselves.

The Program:

Wise Young Builders’ target population often lacks a supportive home environment and positive male role models. This undermines the belief that they can thrive and positively engage in their community.

Through a unique weekly enrichment program for children ages 8-12, Wise Young Builders uses carpentry to strengthen participants’ math skills- a skill that is vital to reducing dropout and unemployment rates. In addition to learning concepts such as multiplication, division, fractions, area and perimeter through the hands-on workshops, Wise Young Builders provides students with a supportive environment where students engage in social and civic activities to positively increase their image of themselves as they contribute to improving their outlook on life and learning.

All goals and activities rest on the seven-pillar WYB motto, a firm foundation of values that, when internalized, will shape the youth into strong members of their families and communities for the rest of their lives.

The Next Steps:

As a small not-for-profit, Wise Young Builders will utilize the DC Social Innovation Project to build on an intentional foundation and leverage social capital and resources, allowing the organization to demonstrate the ability to deliver quality programming.


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