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Community Impact

Sep 06, 2019

KidsBuild! On the Road

Kids Build Aug172019 002

Young city builder with Gerard Georges, Assoc. AIA, KidsBuild! on the Road volunteer. See more KidsBuild! on the Road images.

Images courtesy Kit Castagne

What happens when you ask a group of young people to imagine a new neighborhood? If you give them the space, the structure, and the tools, they create places that work for both children and adults.

See more KidsBuild! on the Road images

On August 17, 2019, KidsBuild!, the BSA's largest youth education program, picked up the city grid and took it to Dorchester. Partnering with the Lena Park Community Development Corporation (Lena Park), design volunteers led family members through the entire KidsBuild! process of permitting, materials selection, construction, and obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy.

The neighborhood map on the ground at Lena Park included landmarks and streets from the community including Franklin Park, the Neponset River, and Columbia road. For this ‘new Boston’ young designers created a firehouse, a residential tower, a homeless shelter, a cabin for the woods in Franklin Park, a sneaker store, a bowling alley and a zoo with an aquarium. Volunteer architects came from the KidsBuild! committee as well as from the Boston chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects [BosNOMA]. Architects rolled up their sleeves to work with the students and even produce a few buildings themselves, seeming to have as much fun as the children.

"The most fun for me," said Gerard Georges Assoc. AIA, Chair of BosNOMA and KidsBuild! volunteer, "is watching the excitement on the children's faces as they realize they can design whatever they want, and that design can impact their lives. These are kids from my community, kids I come in contact with every day, and to have them see architects and architecture as something they can aspire to is really amazing.”

KidsBuild! on the Road offered relaxed outdoor family time for participants of all ages. We saw cousins working with cousins, grandparents building alongside grandchildren, and lots of kids collaborating, borrowing, and helping each other as their imagined city became real.

Lena Park Community Development Corporation was founded in 1968 by community residents concerned with affordable housing needs and youth development. LPCDC has developed, managed and maintained over 458 units of affordable and moderate income housing hosting over 1,300 residents in Dorchester and Mattapan.

KidsBuild! on the Road is supported by:

Lead supporters of youth design education through Provoking Change Legacy Circle membership: