Initially, many people are confused why I left my career as a digital product manager after 20 years to start Maplewoodshop. For me it was simple.
In 2016, I participated in a makersfair in my town, Maplewood, New Jersey. I have been working with my hands my whole life and woodworking has been a lifelong hobby of mine. The school district had cut woodshop, home economics and other vocational trainings like many schools around the country. My kids and I enjoyed making projects at home, so I decided to introduce wood working to the kids at the makersfair.
At the fair, I saw the kid’s faces light up as they got to make the project with their hands. The parents even began to tell me stories of their fond memories from shop class. The kid’s confidence grew as they were trusted with real tools and got to see their finished product at the end. At that moment, it hit me how much I enjoyed teaching kids wood working. Soon after, with my wife’s consent, I jumped at the opportunity to take a package and leave my old job.
I knew I wanted to bring the lifelong benefits of wood working to as many kids as I could, but I was only one person. I realized the best way to have the biggest impact was to go where the kids already were. I had to reach them in their current schools and camps, where the kids already respected their instructors and felt comfortable. I began designing portable workstations that could fit over any desk to quickly transform existing classrooms and spaces into safe wood shops. Although I am now embarrassed by my first prototype. It was important. I was using the very lifeskills I was hoping to teach; problem-solving, grit, and creativity.
Today, Maplewooshop is growing. We are currently in 16 schools and camps and have worked with countless other organizations. We can equip, train, and support your teachers and/or counselors to run my portable woodworking program themselves. We provide everything you need in our portable and easily storable tool chest. We can do both in-person or remote trainings and are constantly making new projects and lesson plans. Join our woodshop revolution.
MIKE SCHLOFF, FOUNDER
Mike Schloff founded Maplewoodshop in 2016 to help children develop lifeskills such as creativity, grit, teamwork, and problem solving by doing woodworking with hand tools. Mike has been doing woodworking for 15 years since he moved into his home and needed to tackle repairs. He invented the workstation that Maplewoodshop uses after building several generations of woodworking tables and fixtures for teaching children and adults. He is a lifelong tinkerer and still teaches locally to try out new lesson plans. Prior to Maplewoodshop, Mike was a pioneer in the Internet space, helping people and companies take advantage of this new medium since 1995. In his spare time, Mike likes to work with local wind fall trees making tables, benches and all sorts of creations that let the natural grain and forms determine the design of the finished project.
Erin came to Maplewoodshop as a maker, an educator and a fan of hands-on learning. After years in the classroom, Erin worked in educational outreach at thirteen/WNET New York, where she wrote and facilitated train-the-trainer programs for the New York City Department of Education, creating ongoing curriculum and support services for teachers and families. A content producer at heart, Erin moved into creative development for children's television where she developed engaging worlds for the preschool set. Erin is the mother of three children who consistently test her creativity and ability to put child development theory into practice.
Lindsay is an art teacher of fifteen years. Her career began at a public school in her home state of Alabama where she established the school's first art program. Her professional pursuits brought her to New York City for graduate studies at Teachers College at Columbia University where she earned her M.A. and Ed. M. in Art and Art Education. Lindsay continued her career at Columbia by joining the faculty at The School where she developed a child-centered and interdisciplinary visual art curriculum for elementary and middle school students. Lindsay’s passion for woodworking began as a young child helping her father in the family’s basement workshop. She enjoys exploring the parks, playgrounds, and museums with her husband and three year old son.
Craig joined Maplewoodshop in 2018 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He brings a wide range of experiences to the team from being a camp counselor to fundraising to public affairs. Although, his high school didn’t offer shop classes. He has been working with his hands most of his life. Craig has been working for his mother’s landscape design business for 10 years and learned woodworking from his father in their home workshop. Craig was drawn to Maplewoodshop by the opportunity to help introduce kids to wood working, because he recognizes how lucky he was to learn woodworking at home.
"Sed dictum ante a leo cursus mattis. Integer euismod, lorem sed molestie gravida, justo mauris dignissim orci, sed convallis elit ipsum at justo. Donec feugiat justo vitae mollis pretium. Suspendisse ultrices, tellus vitae varius convallis, ipsum justo commodo dui, a feugiat mauris turpis ut turpis."
— Donovan Mafnas, Impact Volunteer