WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - For many of the non-profit agencies in our area, raising money in today's economy is tough, but especially during the holiday season. Kids Making It is a group in the area that gives inner city and at risk young people a chance to learn a trade and guide them from school in the workforce.
The program was started by Wilmington attorney Jimmy Pierce, who closed a successful law practice and began teaching woodworking to young people. On a trip with his wife and young son, Pierce said he began thinking about if being an attorney is what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.
"I love woodworking, but could not make enough money for us as a woodworker," said Piece. "I'm not that good, but maybe I could work with kids, and teach them woodworking. It took a while for that idea to gel, but when it hit, it hit."
Pierce started with hand tools, in a temporary space, but now KMI has a complete workshop, full of power tools and a retail store in the Jacobi warehouse in downtown Wilmington.
KMI offers a woodworking program, dedicated to inner city and at risk youth. It is a place where kids can go after school, or if they have been suspended or dropped out of school.
Pierce says it is a safe alternative to the streets, crime and gangs. But being a young person in today's society is a lot tougher than what it used to be.
"We have a phrase, when kids graduate from high school, to me, they are faced with the reality of a low paying, fast food job versus the lure of fast money on the streets, and that is exactly what is going on for a lot of our kids these days," said Pierce.
The items the kids create and make in the workshop are sold in the KMI retail store, on South Water Street. The kids are allowed to keep all of the profits from the items they sell.
"We do everything from just a few dollars up to $50, none of our stuff is really expensive," explained Pierce. "One of our most popular items are our pens, which the kids make, handmade or hand turned pens, with a cross refill that we guarantee for life."
But like all other non-profits, money is extremely tight, and at this point, the Kids Making It program is not sure where the funding will come from for the rest of the fiscal year.
So if you are still searching for that perfect and unusual gift, please consider a handmade wooden items, and help keep a program going that is truly making a difference in our community.
Click here to donate to this charity or one of the others feature in the WECT Gives Back campaign: http://bit.ly/1gFc2q3
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