"As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world but in being able to remake ourselves." Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
As some of you may know, I have been accepted to North Bennet Street School's Preservation Carpentry Program (www.nbss.edu), and am scheduled to start September 2, 2014. This is a dramatic career shift for me because I have been working in human services since 1996 and Ijust turned forty years old. While a part of me has always been an aspiring carpenter and I have deep family roots in carpentry field, the last three years have been particularly instrumental in this pursuit. Carpentry has served as a much needed stress reduction "tool" (aka: lifeline) that has helped me cope with thirteen failed infertility treatments. Ironically, I received my acceptance letter to NBSS the day before receiving devastating news that my last pregnancy attempt had failed. My mother always told me God does not close one door without opening another; and once again she was right. After attempting to learn carpentry skills by watching countless YouTube videos and taking a handful of woodworking classes, I will finally be able to dedicate a full two years to learning this craft.
When I visited North Bennet Street for the first time, I was still investigating which program to apply to. I decided upon preservation carpentry versus carpentry for several reasons. First, it a longer and more intensive program (2 years versus 9 months), which is especially useful because I am new to the field. Second, it combines both an education in contemporary residential construction and a thorough grounding in pre-20th century New England house construction (which is right up my alley). Lastly, during the summer between academic years, students are connected to internships with private preservation contractors or at historic house museums or preservation societies, which will help to reinforce the skills learned during the prior school year.
I am fortunate that I received a total of $11,300 in loans and grants for my first year, which leaves me with a balance of approximately $12,000 for tuition plus $2200 for tools and books. In order to raise money for school, I have decided to do a solo "BIKE TO BUILD" ride, which means I will be riding my bicycle about 330 miles from Quincy, MA to New York City on August 15th, 16th, and 17th. Although I have done a few bicycle rides between Boston and New York for special causes, I have never done this ride alone, without the emotional and physical support of hundreds of cyclists and volunteers. Not only am I riding to raise money for my education, but I am also riding to raise money for a cause that is close to my heart. I will be donating 20% of every donation to Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity (http://www.habitat.org/) is an international organization whose vision imagines a world where everyone has a decent place to live, and whose mission statement seeks to bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Habitat for Humanity builds homes worldwide, from a town near you to as far away as New Zealand, and every continent in between. I have chosen Habitat for Humanity because I plan to bridge my love of carpentry with my calling to help people through volunteering for this organization when I complete school, if not sooner.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. I greatly appreciate any help you can offer. Donations can be made in any amount, and none is too small. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me make this dream of attending to North Bennet Street School a reality, and on behalf of those you will help through Habitat for Humanity, I offer my sincerest appreciation.
Feel free to track my progress via my blog at www.biketobuildatnbss.com
Elizabeth J. Rice
"It's not about how much you do, but how much love you put into what you do that counts." Mother Theresa (1910-1997)