Re-Design the mind

construction activities to maintain homes in adequate conditions, so that people have a greater quality of life.

Photo of Leonardo Claure
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Date Started

03/ 18/ 2018 at the Maker Faire in George Mason University, Virginia

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

When I visited homes to help my father in his construction company, I observed that many American citizen's residences were in need of maintenance. Admiringly, much of that maintenance/repair could have been resolved by the resident themselves. It was after this recurring observation that I decided to take action in order to improve the living conditions of my neighbors, and the rest of society. This is how the idea of educational workshops about construction maintenance was born.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

The lack of maintenance of homes in the United States, and at the world level, leads to poor health of the residents. This is a persisting problem because most people feel incapable of resolving issues around their own residence, and over time these issues can become hazardous. Unmaintained homes exacerbate health issues such as allergies, exposure to led, asthma, negative perception of self, among other psychological issues.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

The people have to get educated on maintenance/repair around their own home, to avoid health complications and improve their quality of life. The educational program, that I am directing, motivates people to take initiative and make arrangements inside their own homes. These workshops take place in public settings such as Maker Faire at a local university in Virginia, and at the local Arlington Central Library. The method for fostering the "I can do this repair in my home" mindset among participants is: engage participants in hands-on workshops that introduce construction activities in a fun manner. The introduction simplifies problems around the home by letting the participants resolve the issues in a guided setting, with proprietary training material I develop. I work with construction staff and engineers to ensure relevance and accuracy of the training. After participants do the activities, they see their finished project, and feel motivated. This is how the program redesigns the mind.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

The educational workshops that our group runs are hands-on programs for families and individuals of all ages. Participants engage in activities with materials customized to simplify the teaching of construction activities, such as tile design, flooring, drywall installation, and others. Once participants feel comfortable with the introductory material, they get to "play" with more formal kits that are comprised of real construction material and actual scenarios. I have observed how this activity attracts diverse people for various reasons. The kids enjoy building and playing with the mini model houses we display, the adults find relevance in the material being taught.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

What differentiates the workshops is the unique educational material we create. For example, I developed a kit the size of chessboard that helps people learn about tiles and pattern design, using real tiles and a unique magnetic adhesion method. Kids in particular really enjoy the magnetic aspect of it. Additionally, I have already run initial tests of the idea, and have received positive feedback. Lastly, I count on the support of my family for the events, and this makes our program stronger. We work together to load all the training material, transport it, and teach the day of events.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

In addition to the normal decay of residences, the world's changing conditions due to different natural phenomena(earth movements, rains, winds, hurricanes, etc) also damage the properties. The houses are deteriorating and as consequence people are affected in their health. The people who attend the workshops have a increased sense of "i can do this", and are more likely to engage in maintenance projects. This will ensure that they have a better quality of life.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

My goals for the program include expanding the workshops to more locations, such as schools, community centers, and malls. Additionally, I want to expand this program to other regions of the world since the knowledge is relevant throughout. This I have confirmed through my visits to countries like Bolivia, where I saw homes that were damaged from natural disasters like flooding. The people waited for help from local agencies or the government, but there was a delayed response, and the people waited helplessly. By the time aid arrived, the homes had already suffered weeks from water damage. With training from my workshops, the people would have felt more empowered to take action and address the repairs, and limit the damage.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

First, this project requires the participation of several people who are trained in the field of construction. They would assist as facilitators of the workshops, sharing their knowledge as they train residents to address maintenance issues. Second, funding is needed to expand locations and purchase more training material. The funding will also enable the purchase of adequate materials for designing new training materials. Since our program deals with real construction material, the initial investment is sizable.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Family support

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

One way to establish collaboration partnerships is to invite other change makers to visit my events, and then ask for their feedback. The insights they provide would be helpful, and may potentially serve to excite them about my project. They might even get involved. A very important way to involve other young leaders is to say " look at these puzzles of wood, build a floor with it." The person will try and then be motivated, this is what happened with my family. They can then become a support person, and contribute towards the growth of the program.

How did you hear about this challenge?

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Ariyan Miller

Hey There Fellow Changemaker,

Congrats on moving to the next phase. I wishing you the best of luck ! & I am sending love and light to all the positive things that you do.

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