Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Keep the Mission Rolling: Mobile Clairemont Woodshop Instructor Seeks New Bus

Sheila Dawson’s rolling woodshop has become a fixture in SD County over the past 40 years as she has taught thousands of children at local schools, YMCAs, private events and children’s facilities – and she needs a new bus. Her 1966 Flxible Woodworking Bus is ready to retire, and she is asking the community for help in replacing it.

“I really want The Children’s Woodshop Bus to be on the road and available to another 20,000 or more San Diego children,” Dawson says, “so if you read through this site, watch my video, and find you like what I do, then please help me continue.”

She’s looking for a 30-foot transit style bus that’s in compliance with state emissions requirements and will accept help to write grants for private funding. Dawson’s FundRazr account can be found at:

She says her current bus is just too old and in need of too much repair to keep going. And Dawson’s role as an educator in the San Diego community is just as essential to her as her obtaining a new bus.

“Woodworking stimulates activity that requires thought organization, decision-making, and problem-solving,” says 73-year old Dawson, a retired secretary who discovered her passion for woodworking when her son was a toddler. “I have prepared the workshop carefully and its value is cumulative. My most important objective is that every child that steps up into that bus has a practical, productive, and positive experience with wood and tools.”

She teaches the basics of hand tool woodworking - sawing, sanding, hammering, drilling, and turning screws – out of her bus to children ages 4 ½ to 11. With 10 fully equipped, adjustable work stations, every necessary piece of safety equipment, and drawers-full of wooden items to choose from, every child leaves class with a finished piece to take home.

Dawson estimates that she will need to raise $25,000 to retrofit another bus and to keep her “I Can Build It Myself” program rolling.

Contact Information:
Sheila Dawson
Phone: 858-272-5631

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