DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

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November 22, 2012

Program teaches more than woodworking skills

Woodworking program has many facets

DERRY — Real tools can sometimes help rebuild lives.

Hammers, saws and sanding blocks are being used by a group of young men working to get their lives back on track. There’s an added bonus: the results of their labor will benefit area children.

American Pride Woodworking has teamed up with Granite State-based Charitable Woodworking to create book bins for children in need in the Concord area.

American Pride owner Frank LeBlanc creates the handcrafted wooden bins as a way to give back to those needing it most.

He is enlisting help from residents at the nearby Granite House transitional living facility. Those young men also are reaping the rewards of creating something meaningful for others.

LeBlanc’s small woodworking shop on West Broadway offers more than just construction lessons on how to build a box from wood.

Participants also learn life skills with the pound of a hammer and a desire to create something that will benefit others.

LeBlanc is candid about his history with drugs and alcohol.

Working in wood became his haven.

Bringing the Granite House crew on board is his way of giving back to the residents of the West Broadway sober living facility, who working hard to be successful.

The carpentry work often mirrors a person’s journey through tough times.

“They’re taking rough pieces and turning them into useful projects,” LeBlanc said.

Granite House owner Eric Spofford has known LeBlanc for many years. He, too, is candid about his own battles as a younger man. He said the woodworking program is a lifeline for Granite House residents who need opportunities for success.

Spofford said he respects and commends LeBlanc for his work and willingness to help others.

“He’s working really hard and doing an amazing job with it,” Spofford said.

Braden Nees, 20, said he loves working with LeBlanc in his shop. The Granite House resident said he’s proud of his work.

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