Who was going to fabricate 1,500 frames for Breathing Lights? This was the question we asked ourselves this spring when we realized what a monumental task was ahead of us.
Enter The SEAT Center. SEAT is short for “Social Enterprise and Training” and is the new home of YouthBuild Schenectady. Their mission is to provide transformative educational and workforce experiences that create a sense of purpose and hope in our communiites while connecting business to real-time solutions. YouthBuild Schenectady is a program designed to engage young people ages 18-24 that need to complete their high school education and receive training.
After one meeting with their Executive Director, Jennifer Lawrence, and Director of Education & Training, Rebecca Paavola, we knew we had found the perfect partner. Not only is their mission closely aligned with the goals of Breathing Lights, they understood the ambitious goals of the project and knew their supervisors and youth workers would be able to deliver.
And deliver they did. Youth participants were trained to build 1,500 wooden frames and staple the LED light strips around the inside perimeters. For two months this summer, their warehouse was filled with frames as they busily readied them for installation this September.
One young adult involved in the frame building is Isaiah Teeling, who is also a Breathing Lights Schenectady Neighborhood Ambassador. Reflecting on the work he said, “I really enjoyed being a part of creating frames for such a relevant project in my community. I know that when I see them lighting up the abandoned buildings this fall, people will finally begin to take notice of the issues negatively plaguing our community.”
We can’t wait to show Isaiah and all the young people involved in the frame building the full installation this October and November. A special thanks to Jennifer, Rebecca, Carl and all the young adults for helping us get the project off the ground. They literally built the foundation for Breathing Lights.
See their construction process: