New Beginnings for 2015

September 5th marks the annual anniversary date of Trade School Indianapolis. While two years is certainly not a milestone, it is an entire year. 365 days have passed, and each year we reflect on what we have done, celebrate our wins and losses, and start thinking about what we want to accomplish in the coming year.

If you are new to the Trade School model, welcome! We can’t wait to see you in classes and get to know you. If you’re a seasoned student or instructor, we’d like to know, what does two years of learning mean to you?

Two Years of Learning

I’ve collected and saved every class handout since we launched our school two years ago. I refer to a handout at least once a week, whether I’m looking for a recipe or a resource on Vermicomposting. Scribbled notes lines hundreds of papers stuffed in my dedicated Trade School drawer. These piles of class handouts invoke such a feeling of gratitude, pride, and a heart full of love for everyone I have had the pleasure of meeting and learning from.

Did these moments of learning truly impact my life? Can the Trade School model provide real opportunities to learn a new skill? Upon looking back, I’ve attended over 150 classes! I’m not sure how I did it, either, but I know my mind thanks me.

Thanks to Trade School, I have personally been able to share my love of Mail Art, typewriters, thank you cards, and pen pals. Starting a mini movement in Indy dedicated to the art of letter writing and taking the time to let someone know you’re thinking about them is still one of my greatest feats. Having the Letter Writers Alliance come to Indy to host with me, you just don’t forget those moments.

I’ve found that after several attempts at knitting, sewing and crocheting, I will probably never be able to make a Halloween costume for my kid, make my own wedding dress or crochet cute tiny animals. Can we just agree that you either got it or you don’t? I refuse to give up though, and will continue to rely on future Trade School teachers to help honor this neccesity for those with less than average craft skills. It is a skill you must admire. I met Sophie Faught through Trade School, the woman who DID make her own stunning wedding dress and inspired me to never, ever give up trying, sewing or anything else in life. She will happily teach anyone who wants to learn how to sew. Now she is my dear friend and we’ve canned pickles together, prepared wonderful meals straight out of her garden, played intense games of Settlers of Catan, and learned all about Jazz, by watching her and her trio perform and explain what the heck they were doing up to there to make such beautiful noise.

One of the most important classes for me was Public Speaking. I could have easily said I wasn’t feeling well and not gone (like I normally do for these sorts of things), but I didn’t. I went and I was uncomfortable and I hated every minute of it…but it changed my life. I look at that moment as a profound shift in the direction my life was going. I think about all the different choices I could have made that weekend of the class, and how I ended up exactly where I was meant to be. Every time I have to speak in public I take a deep breath, thank Katie Casey for pushing me out of my comfort zone, and then do my thing. I will never again be the person who avoids a wonderful opportunity because of fear. I conquered my fear that day and you cannot put a price on that.

Let’s not forget how my taste buds (and waist line) have thanked me! The years after my Veganism days were rough. Life got in the way and I just gave up on my health. Cooking and eating nutritional meals were replaced by frozen Stouffer’s Lasagna and fast food. By luck and good fortune, I was introduced to someone who cared deeply about the food they ate. Not only that, but also where it came from, if it was seasonal, and even what wine it paired well with! That’s all it took to bring me back to my old self, one that loved a good meal and cared about sharing that good meal with the people you love. Keri Geiger has inspired me to cook boldly but simply, to finally start my garden and to care about what I’m eating. It’s a known fact in my life now that a recipe full of love and flavor, paired with a $15 bottle of wine, can make you a happier person.

So, to answer my own questions…did these moments of learning truly impact my life? Can the Trade School model provide real opportunities to learn a new skill?

Yes. A thousand times, yes. What Trade School has given me is more than I could have hoped for. Those are just a few out of the hundred examples of what Trade School has meant to me. I am not an expert at any of those things I listed above, but I now have a friend who is. I now have the building blocks to be able to pursue it on my own, and a friend to support me along the way. That’s what the Trade School model is capable of and meant to do – to help you create the meaningful relationships in life you long for built on mutual respect with people who have skills or hobbies you admire.

I hope that if you want to, and where there’s a will there’s a way, you are able to create these same moments and opportunities for yourself, with Trade School, with our community here in Indianapolis.

Life, As We Know It & New Beginnings

When life happens, you have to adapt to survive. Life is working 9-5, raising children, mowing the lawn, cooking dinner and finding time to shower. We’re amazing creatures because on top of all of that, we want to do more. We want to volunteer with the animals, we want to run all-volunteer organizations, we want to make an impact on our city in a positive way. Trade School is our contribution to the city, and after two years of extremely hard work and dedication, evolving, trying new things, working out the kinks, losing a co-founder to that dang beautiful state of North Carolina, we’ve come to a standstill against life. We always knew that as a growing organization, we wouldn’t be able to do this free forever. There are real costs associated with running an organization, as well as the time and effort needed to sustain it.

That’s why in order to keep our school open in 2015, we’re asking the community to become a member and a part of what we’d like to think is the true beginning of Trade School. This is a one-time donation that will help us keep our school open, organize classes, keep the website running and pursue our big dream of owning a space for a full-time school to operate out of. Regretfully, if we do not reach our goal of members, we will be going on a hiatus for 2015 while we consider other ways to sustain our school.

However, we are deeply committed to the membership funding model because we believe it keeps us accountable to the people who believe in the Trade School mission, and because we also believe that it validates our existence; our financial support comes from the group of people who believe that there should be educational opportunities available such as Trade School. Without it, Trade School ceases to exist.

With the membership model, we will also be creating a new structure for teachers we’re calling the Trade School Teaching Fellowship. We created this as a way to give us the opportunity to form lasting relationships with our teachers while giving students the best opportunities to learn a new skill throughout the year.

We’re planning to officially announce our plans and how you can be involved mid September, but we wanted to first take the time to gather feedback from the community. We will talk to anyone who has questions, concerns or ideas. We hope this lets you know that we truly value your perspective and feedback.

You can read our plans below. We welcome your feedback through email, our Facebook group, or even a phone call!

You warm our hearts, every single day.

Trade School Indianapolis