Art and design classes are an excellent way to inspire curiosity, build confidence, encourage problem-solving, and sharpen 21st century skills. CultureWorks, a local faith inspired non-profit, provides a variety of art and design experiences to benefit middle and high school students from all backgrounds in Southwest Michigan. In addition to art and design, the program appeals to children with other interests like engineering, math, science, and technology. Dan Parker, Laura Nelson, and I recently had the pleasure of volunteering at CultureWorks’ Third Annual Cardboard Regatta at the Macatawa Yacht Club in Holland. It was an incredible experience watching young kids work together to brainstorm creative ways to engineer their boats.


Many teams tried hard to build a boat for function over fashion while others went for pure style. One team built a boat that looked almost exactly like a cigarette boat. It even had inside structural supports and sleek contours. It looked amazing but when it was placed in the water— it only made it about five feet before flipping over. Another boat appropriately named The Pizza Box was a big square that was big enough to hold four kids. The Pizza Box lasted for two and a half races before it sank. It was difficult to determine how well a boat would do by simply looking at it. This really captured the kids interest because they had no idea which boats had the potential to succeed and which ones would sink. Everyone had such positive energy and we all had a great time!

CultureWorks gets kids engaged and breaks down any boundaries that may be experienced at school. Instructors and volunteers provide fuel for imaginative learning that may even guide students to career choices later in life. It’s a unique place where kids matter and their ideas matter. For Dan, Laura, and I it was a great opportunity for us to give back to the community and make a positive difference in the lives of others.


Written By: Brennen Proudfit – Engineering Intern |
Brennen just completed his Freshman year at Kettering University. While young, Brennen already has four years of SolidWorks experience under his belt and co-op experience at Ford. Brennen is an off-road enthusiast who loves being on the sand dunes with his friends and family. He enjoys tinkering on cars and trucks and building things with his brother and friends.