Senior citizen gives back by building blocks for children in need

A former physics professor is combining his love of logic with woodworking to help disadvantaged children learn. #HomeTownHero #PowerOfPossible

SEATTLE - Bob Mitchell lives at Bayview Retirement Community and spends his days in his workshop.

“They’ve given me one of the storerooms and that’s where I go at least an hour, sometimes two, every day,” said Mitchell.

He has various projects to keep him busy, but one of Mitchell’s main focuses is hand-crafting wooden children’s blocks.

“Building these leads to kids playing, increases brain development, and maybe people can use logic in ways that we don’t use logic very much,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell has created everything from self-propelling boats to cars.

“It turns out that kids love them,” said Mitchell.

The entire process involves measuring, picking out the right wood, and making sure to keep the knots showing.

“It’s just the process of working with wood that is the most interesting,” said Mitchell. “I can make 30 sets a month with no problem.”

Mitchell brings his blocks to Mary’s Place, a day center for disadvantaged families.

“I put them in a cloth bag with the child’s name on them, because many of those children don’t have a home,’ said Mitchell. “They should be able to carry their blocks with them wherever they go.”

Mitchell says education is his favorite things about what he does and making blocks is the start learning.
“I don’t try to teach, [I] just let them play with them,” said Mitchell.

And Mary’s Place is grateful for Mitchell’s generosity.

“Oh, we love Bob’s blocks,” said the Youth Services Director James Flynn. “We appreciate him bringing something that is so basic, yet opens so many doors to exploring and learning.”

“I think if we could get every 2-year-old with a set of blocks it would be a better place,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell hopes to give more blocks away to groups of disadvantaged kids, but he also sells them for $10. If you would like to purchase some of Mitchell's wood blocks, call the Bayview Retirement Community for more information. 

Bayview Retirement Community
206-284-7330
11 West Aloha Street, Seattle, WA 98119

 

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