Hello and Happy New Year to all our makers, supporters, and followers!
With COVID-19 being so prevalent in everyday life, it's hard to remember what else we did during 2020. At the start of this New Year, I'd like to take the opportunity to reflect upon what this year has meant for Roswell Firelabs, and some things we are looking forward to in the near future.
First, our membership: We began 2020 with approximately 80 members at the Firelabs, and despite necessary shutdowns of business, health precautions, social distancing, and other considerations, we have grown to over 100 members - an amazing thing given current circumstances. Our maker community has shown itself to be incredibly resilient.
Next, our outreach & community impact: From March to October, Roswell Firelabs engaged in a partnership called "Atlanta Beats COVID" with other Metro-Atlanta area makerspaces, with the goal of fabricating and/or distributing as many units of Personal Protective Equipment as possible to address commercial supply shortages. In this timeframe, approximately 11,000 face shields / isolation shields were distributed from Roswell Firelabs, and overall, the Atlanta Beats COVID initiative distributed over 60,000 units of PPE throughout the greater metropolitan area. We are tremendously proud of the work we did and the impact we were able to make through this initiative!
(Members of the medical community with face shields constructed at Roswell Firelabs)
Recently, we have also started working with rising Eagle Scouts from local scout troops - in November, we assisted Veronica Roark of Troop 432 with her service project for attaining her Eagle rank. Veronica used our woodshop to cut rough lumber to make Barn Owl nesting boxes, which she assembled and installed for a local nature preserve.
(Veronica and fellow scouts with one of her finished Barn Owl boxes)
In December, rising Eagle Scout Nathaniel Hall of Troop 226 performed a service project on-site at the Firelabs, which involved re-landscaping our front entryway, and adding outdoor seating for all to enjoy. As an Eagle Scout myself, it brings me great joy to facilitate on behalf of these wonderful future leaders in our community.
(Nathaniel leading his troop during his service project)
In addition to these initiatives, we have also been able to resume many of our classes, allowing us to inspire members of the community to learn new things with us and hone skills that they never knew they had. One of the most inspirational things about Roswell Firelabs is seeing people who have never used a tool before (or are perhaps outright apprehensive about using a tool) overcome uncertainty in a matter of hours, and produce a finished project they can be proud of. We share examples of such projects every Monday (#MakerMonday)!
(Kamlesh showing off a cutting board he made himself at the Firelabs)
Lastly, our leadership: I am excited to announce that Roswell Firelabs has a brand new Board of Directors for 2021. Our founding board has been in place since 2017; it has been a long road and a lot of work to get to this transitional moment. I am looking forward to the strategic direction, diverse perspectives, and advisement that this new board will provide, and I have full confidence in their ability to lead Roswell Firelabs to make an even more significant impact in our community going forward. Get to know our new board at roswellfirelabs.org/board.
Thank you all for your support! I am looking forward to another year of building community through making, enabling innovation at every level, and promoting personal growth through hands-on experience. I will see you at the Firelabs!
Executive Director, Roswell Firelabs