, Derry, New Hampshire

November 22, 2012

Editorial: Woodworking helps them find their way

Derry News

---- — Young men battling past problems with drug and alcohol addiction are learning to help others as they help themselves.

Residents of the Granite House transitional living facility on West Broadway are working with a woodworking company to learn a new craft and help children in the process.

American Pride Woodworking has joined with another firm, 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 told reporter Julie Huss.

LeBlanc, who says he has had his own problems with drugs and alcohol, is getting help from residents of the Granite House sober house.

Bringing the Granite House crew on board is LeBlanc’s way of giving back to the residents of the West Broadway facility, who are working hard to be successful. The carpentry work often mirrors a person’s journey through tough times, he told Huss.

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

The Granite House residents are learning life skills while creating something that will benefit others.

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

“It’s cool to have an opportunity presented to you, to be able to help people out,” he said.

Steve Woodworth, 20, said he spent so much time causing others pain while he worked through his issues that it was time to give something back.

“Instead of being selfish, I am being selfless,” he said. “I want to do more, and I’m not asking for something in return.”

The young men visit LeBlanc’s workshop on West Broadway several times a week to work on the bins. The team will make 20 bins to deliver by the end of the month.

Granite House owner Eric Spofford, who has known LeBlanc for many years, said the woodworking program is a lifeline for Granite House residents who need opportunities for success.

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

It’s clear that the young men in the woodworking program enjoy it and are learning useful skills in the process. LeBlanc’s effort is helping draw the young men out of themselves and turning their focus toward others. That the product of this labor goes to help children is a bonus.

LeBlanc hopes to expand his charitable efforts to help others, possibly setting up a diversion program for troubled teens.

LeBlanc’s work with the Granite House residents seems to be helping them, the children who receive the book bins and his small business. We congratulate them all and wish them continued success.