A backyard tucked away on Greenleaf Street was humming with activity on Sept. 26. Tom Reinfranck, a member of the Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse (ERW)workforce training program and instructor and mentor to Rashaan Wanton, Marc Jenkins and Treyvon Dean, all part of ERW’s job-training program, reconstructed a shed in Yvonne Dickerson’s yard. It was the first experience for this team of both deconstructing and reconstructing and they were enthusiastic about this experience.
According to the ERW website, projects like the training further the ERW’s mission by creating demand for skilled workers in the deconstruction arena.
The shed, originally built on a Wilmette beach and until recently used to store sailing equipment, had been deconstructed that is carefully taken apart – so that it can be rebuilt.
The trainees explained that the shed was built to withstand anything, and that became a real challenge for this deconstructing team.
The repurposed shed will store porch furniture and a snow blower in the winter months and will be transformed into an outdoor living space in the summer.
The trainees have been involved in the workforce programs for varying lengths of time. They participated in an intensive workforce program in sustainable deconstruction. A program to prepare these young men for living wage jobs in deconstruction.
Mr. Reinfranck said the trainees will also participate in classes at ERW in such areas as education, nutrition and GED assistance. He also said Mr. Wanton is considered their “safety czar” and is well informed concerning the Hazmat (hazardous materials) and OSHA (Occupational, Safety & Health Administration) guidelines, the RRP (renovation, repair and painting) as he continues to study for the national deconstructor’s cetification.
Enthusiasm and responsibility were apparent as the young men explained, because they are salvaging building materials that are reusable, making for less waste in landfills. Each trainee talked about this throughout the day. It was easy to observe focus and concentration as the team problem-solved with Mr. Reinfranck about the most efficient and correct way to reconstruct the shed.
Ms. Dickerson said “For me, with a strong marketing background, I see … through trends to the true value. Mr. Reinfranck knew that the shed was what I wanted.”
Ms. Dickerson also that the shed was to have a utilitarian function in her yard, but “once he informed me of the availability of this shed, he took it to another level.” She said this deconstruction and reconstructing the shed would be a phenomenal experience for these trainees and for her family.