Building lives... one Lego at a time
Kara Fletcher, of Eagle Rock, is passionate about Lego, a passion that translates into a mission to change young lives.
"I think so many kids in our area have so much going against them before they even step in the door," said Fletcher. "Let's do everything we can to empower them and build them up, and show them there is so much opportunity."
In March, Fletcher co-founded the Eagle Rock Lego Club, which meets at the Eagle Rock Branch Library. The club has been meeting regularly two times a month -- one Saturday morning and one Tuesday night, but recently eliminated the Tuesday evening event and replaced it with a Thursday night program.
The change was made to cut down on the number of conflicts that occurred with kid's sports schedules and community groups who meet at the library.
"Our goal is to meet on the first Saturday and the third Thursday of the month," said Fletcher who is appreciative of the support that has been provided by the library and the whole community.
Each program is free and offered for kids of all ages. Parents of children who are preschool age are asked to remain with their kids because of the small Lego pieces that are made available.
Fletcher, who provides all the materials, views Lego building as a form of life skills training.
"We'll be doing a build, and I'll note that we don't have that piece, what am I going to do? Well, you'll get that kid who walks away and says, 'Just can't build it.' That's the way he's going to be with his job, that's the way he's going to be down the road in whatever path he chooses," said Fletcher.
"Then you get the kid who says, 'There's got to be a way that you can do this, there's got to be a way that you can take this piece and change it,'" continued Fletcher, "That's who I want working for me."
Fletcher also believes that building with Lego can help build skills in various subject areas such as math, art and general creativity. The club's co-founder Jessie Graybill Rex, whose son Levi is home schooled, shares this belief.
"I believe anytime he creates and uses his imagination it helps him with his schooling," said Rex who notes how Lego building can even enhance reading literature when her son is encouraged to use his imagination to create something from the story.
Fletcher visited Legoland in Florida this past summer and returned with many ideas on how to improve the experience she provides.
"I work with four or five at a time now," said Fletcher, "and we don't move until everyone in the group accomplishes each step. Then they work together. You see the older kids working with the younger ones, and it becomes more intimate."
Next month's program will provide a choice between building a pumpkin or building a Frankenstein. This requires Fletcher to build and then bag both projects for the total number of anticipated participants.
The Eagle Rock Lego Club will also sponsor a booth at Eagle Rock Daze, which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 26. Fletcher plans to provide multiple Lego tables, items for purchase, guessing games and free key chains. She will also provide a racetrack for kids to race Lego cars.
Upcoming meetings of the club will be held on Thursday, Oct. 3, Saturday, Oct. 19, Thursday, Nov. 7, Saturday, Nov. 23, Thursday, Dec. 5 and Saturday, Dec. 14. All Saturday events are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and the Thursday night programs begin at 5:30 p.m.