The Possible Project, an after-school program in Cambridge, Massachusetts, launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to buy a professional-grade laser cutter. Why the need for such heavy-duty equipment? It turns out that the Possible Project is a pretty amazing after-school program.
They work with low-income high school teenagers at three Cambridge public schools to help them start and run their own businesses.
“One of the things that is essential to our program is to teach our students about the design manufacturing process through the use of digital fabrication technology,” said Sol Menashi, a business operations specialist at the Possible Project.
Currently, the Possible Project is planning to open a new makerspace in December to give the students even more room and tools to build products. They hope the new laser cutter will be the centerpiece for the makerspace, especially since it will provide crucial training that they’ll need to succeed in the future.
“We’ve focused our Kickstarter on raising funds for a professional-grade laser cutter, so that our students will have the opportunity to work on and develop their skills on equipment that they will be encountering once they enter the job market,” Menashi said.
The students have built all kinds of great items, including iPhone cases, key chains, lamps and holiday ornaments. One product particularly caught our eye: a solar flashlight and cellphone charger. It’s being developed for people in Haiti who don’t have access to electricity, which could be a game changer in a country still recovering from the devastating 2010 earthquake.
“We have a significant number of Haitian immigrants in our student population. A lot of them resettled in Cambridge after the earthquake,” Menashi said. “Through talking with students and folks down in Haiti, there seemed to be an opportunity to help apply technology in the scale and scope that our students were capable of doing.”
It's inspiring to see how one makerspace in Massachusetts can make a difference to people living more than 1,600 miles away.
“There’s a lot of enthusiasm, particularly from the Haitian cohort,” Menashi said. “This is an opportunity to do something to help back home.”
Top photo courtesy of the Possible Project.