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2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Urban Workshop NYC, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Education, Educational Services, Secondary & High Schools, Youth Development Programs

Mission: UrbanWorkshop NYC provides students with an opportunity to engage inrigorous academic learning in an applied setting.  Through carefullyconnected studies in math, literature, and writing, students in theprogram learn to plan, design and carry out construction projects invarious New York City communities.  In this integrated learningprocess, they •    make tangible, real-world connections with their academic learning •    develop practical skills and a sense of craft •    connect with community members in various New York City neighborhoods and serve their needs •    understand issues of environmental, economic and social justice facing New York City communities •    build teamwork and leadership skills •    gain a clear sense of accomplishment Theprogram helps students develop the skills, understanding and confidencethey need to earn a high school diploma and succeed in the future.

Geographic areas served: New York City

Programs: A 3-credit class offered to students at Lyons Community School.  Students work on community construction projects four days a week, with math, reading and writing integrated into the project.

Community Stories

46 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Former staff

Rating: 5

I was a teacher at Lyons Community School and I can't imagine where the school would be without the Urban Workshop program. Dan and Jonas provide a uniquely hands on learning experience to some of our school's toughest students. They create many opportunities for these students to be successful in ways that don't happen in a traditional classroom setting. This is a program that genuinely changes lives.

2

Former staff

Rating: 5

Urban Workshop is an amazing organization. It is such an inspiration to see gazebos and arbors throughout the community gardens of Brooklyn, built by high school students using rulers, pencils, hand tools, and their own labor. I've had the good fortune to have worked alongside the Urban Workshop crew, and I left feeling amazed at the power of what young people can do when their energy and effort is harnessed in a positive direction. The work of Urban Workshop really reaches young people, and gives them the skills and opportunities to succeed in the real world. Sometimes the most powerful learning happens outside the classroom walls, and Urban Workshop is an incredible example of what is possible when dedicated, creative educators think outside the box.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Dan and Jonas do remarkable work. There is no other way to describe it. Urban Workshop NYC provides young people with ways of learning a multitude of things; academic, social emotional and skills, that translate into live skills and lessons. They are always working to figure out how to best support our young people, our community and the communities they are working in. You couldn't ask for a more vibrant, reflective and real program.

Taeko Onishi, principal, Lyons Community School

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

These guys work with the most difficult students in the school. On any given day they have everything from 6th graders to HS seniors and teach them math, carpentry and most importantly how to be a human and interact with the world in a positive way.

Previous Stories
2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Have seen this program take challenging students that have absolutely no interest/ confidence in school, and work wonders for them both personally and academically.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

An extraordinary program that weathers all storms and in the end produces remarkable social and emotional gains in addition to fostering the development of craftspeople with practical skills and a genuine enthusiasm for the work.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I teach at Lyons Community School and I have seen first hand the sense of accomplishment and camaraderie that this program instills. The kids get to work with their hands (and their minds!) in the fresh air while they build interpersonal skills, math skills and being-in-a-team skills. The program also allows our students to contribute to their communities and see, with their own eyes (and by their own hands), something be build from the ground-up. There is real learning and character building happening here.

1

Former staff

Rating: 5

I am a teacher at Lyons and have seen the program transform the lives of so many students I taught. It has helped them recognize their strengths and to learn from their weaknesses, it built a community amongst students who needed one, it gave them an opportunity to feel a sense of accomplishment by giving back...Shout Outs to Urban

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Urban Workshop has provided students with a chance to be able to get out of the traditional classroom environment and have experiential learning opportunities. I have seen firsthand how students who may have struggled in core classes gain a new approach to math and writing, and their work is beautiful too!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Urban Workshop has had an incredible impact on the students at Lyons Community School. Students who have typically found school to be a difficult environment in which to find success have had transformative experiences through being part of Urban Workshop. Through building projects for community spaces, the students at Lyons are not only improving their own experience with school, they are improving the community as well.

2

Client Served

Rating: 3

It was the month of April 2014, two gentlemen came to the Union Street Garden and Community Development. Mr. Dan Morgenroth, and Jonas Shantz.
They let me know that Ms. Ena from the Tranquil Garden had recommended our garden to have a beautiful gazebo built, like the one that they had built for her garden.
This project was being funded by the Urban Workshop - nyc-inc, which deserves appreciation in abundance.
They not only made it possible to enhance the beauty of our garden,we now have more community involvement.
Going above and beyond this, it was youths that built this gazebo under the tutelage of Dan and Jonas. These young adults now have a skill for the rest of their lives.
Hopefully this program can continue for both the communities, and the young adult workers, it is truly a blessing.

Sincerely

Gloria Briggs - manager of garden

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a Community Garden Leader in Central Brooklyn, who have for the last four years been the beneficiary of Urban Workshop Students expertise. All of our Garden furniture and infrastructure items in our three Gardens have been built by Urban Workshop Students, under the guidance of Dan Morgenroth, and Jonas Schantz. The level of professional work turned out by these students are unparalleled, and empowering. We hope they get the support that will allow for growth of this organization.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have seen time and time again how this program has the ability to entirely transform how a student feels about school and the possibilities that exist for him/her. Students who are not traditionally successful in classrooms often thrive in this alternative environment, giving them another way to feel and become gifted in their community. We owe so much to Urban Workshop, and the truly transformative effect it has had on so many young people.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have seen students start to care about school when they didn't before. I have seen students come to school when they didn't before. I have seen students be successful in school when they weren't before. All of these things are because of Urban Workshop. It is an incredible and unique program that should be replicated as often and as widely as possible.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer in urban workshop I can happily say it was a great experience to be apart. I learned many new things that can possibly benefit me years from now. The founders of urban workshop Dan, Caroline and Jonas are great people to work with and are always willing to give you their time if you need help. I had a great experience with urban workshop that I will always remember.

1 Enrique M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Enrique,
Hey, just stopping by to give alot of thanks to Dan and everyone else that has helpped me in lyons community school , and also helped me chang my bad wanna be thug life in ny. I was one of thoses students at lyons community school , that didnt care abouts my education and i just got either drunk or high mostly daily , got to school and left early , cut alots and etc.. but thanks to everyone at the school that belived in me and gave me the help to stay in school. I was also thinking dropping out of school and continue my old ways. i also apreshete urban work shop for all there help , makeing it easy,and fun for me that led me majoring in carpentry. i now have learnd how to build a house from the bottom up. From foundation to brick layin to florring to buildding walls to electrical and plumming , to reading bluprints to building rathers n vynal sidding ,paintting ,putting chingals , sheetrock , to building a bathroom , molding , building decks and porches , stair stringers , compound, building cabnets . laying hardwood floor ,from laying them ,sandding them , paintting then sandding again n paintting ...etc ...to everything there is to know . in buildding a house thanks to everyones helpped ivd build a house on my own. ivd also ended up compeatting state ..won the compatition in the county and went to state repersentting the hole county ..Thanks ... guess wat else got in to machanic work too ... also in to painttin cars ...but enuff of me just giveing everyone that has helpped me in life a thanks ...

1 Jonas P.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am extremely impressed with the way math is integrated into real life projects that actually engage the youth that are lucky enough to participate. Dan Morgenroth, along with his leadership team, has created something very special.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a techie who would almost trade my solely academic education for the experience of working in an environment such that Urban Workshop offers, working with a diverse group of peers joined by unified goals. There is immeasurable worth in (warning, superlatives ahead) hard work, commitment, team spirit, pride in work well done, visible results, dedication, human connection, community spirit, practical experience, purpose, satisfaction, preparedness for life. Kudos to Urban Workshop for fulfilling all of these!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Jesus Samboy and I am student at Lyons Community School and I am also involed UrbanWorkshop. I have been in in UrbanWork shop for the whole year now and i can pretty much say that it is worth the time and sweat. The feeling that is gain from helping someone else is awesome and the smiles on the people face are more than enough to keep me strong for the next task we have. Also there's a bond that is form in the group. In time it becomes more that just teachers and classmates, but a family is born and that's nice having a good family that you get along with. UbranWorkshop is the best thing that ever happened to me in high school

Client Served

Rating: 5

Urban Workshop worked with our community gardeners to design and build a beautiful shade structure for the garden that also collects rainwater. What they built has made a huge improvement in the garden but the best thing about the project was the great spirit they all brought. Teachers and students were creative, energetic, and focused on learning, doing, and giving to others.

Matthew O.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been very impressed at the evolution of Urban Workshop, from its conceptualization years ago to the work that they are currently doing. I feel that they money I have donated has been very well spent, paying for essential supplies that are needed to do the urban gardening and construction projects. Also, I have received wonderful correspondences from the children involved in this program, in addition to pictures of the work that they have done.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a donor, but have also seen the students working in the field building structures in community gardens. These are children who are at risk in the classroom, but become totally involved in designing and building things in the field, and demonstrating terrific teamwork. Their commitment to the work is wonderful, as is their sense of pride in the finished product. I have received letters from the students thanking me for my contributions, and telling me that this is as hard as they have worked in their lives and how much they have learned from their involvement in the projects, both in the actual work as well as the planning and writing that they do.

Donor

Rating: 5

Urban Workshop NYC is a phenomenal educational breakthrough. Through hands-on construction projects in community gardens throughout the five boroughs, it transforms the high school experience of participants, giving them academics through carpentry, a feeling of connectedness to each other and their community, the satisfaction of completing tangible projects, and an awareness and sense of belonging to New York City as a whole. Excellent planning and execution of the work projects make for excellent outcomes on every level.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Urban Workshop NYC is, quite literally, a life saving organization. I have referred many students to the organization who are at an extremely high risk of either dropping or failing out of school. These students consistently reconnect to school, find purpose in their work, and get back on track to be successful. I cannot praise this organization enough.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Urban Workshop worked with our school farm to build cold frames and composting bins. I use the cold frames and composting bins everyday- they are great and a huge asset to our farm.

also the staff at urban workshop are great to work with. They are amazing with the students and inspiring!

anonymous777

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Passionate, talented educators developed this revolutionary program to engage at-risk students in education, which has yielded promising results. Urban Workshop provides an alternative and meaningful way for previously unsuccessful students to access education. Should be expanded to more schools!

Donor

Rating: 5

Phenomenal program that tries to teach kids from ground up ... teaching work ethics (which much of US today lacks), love for mathematics (seeing concepts applied in real world and how cool it is), feeling of accomplishing something that is useful and meaningful that kids can carry it with them no matter where they end up in life, and sharpening their mental acuity.

I know one of the program leaders personally. He is a brilliant guy who could have chosen to do anything in life, and would have been successful in anything he chooses to pursue (and creates tremendous monetary wealth for himself if selfish), yet he chose to pursue this with passion - to make a real impact in the world. i have no doubt that this will become a nationwide program many years down the road - and honored to be a part of the program as a donor.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A fantastic charity that does real, concrete (or at least wood-based) work that helps kids and helps community. All money they receive goes 100% to buy materials for the program, no overhead, etc. The teachers that lead the organization are all inspiring, dedicated, creative, amazing individuals who care about helping kids learn and succeed and have found a unique way to improve education for kids in NYC.

Zach R.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I used to work in the school Urban Workshop was housed in, and it was truly amazing to see the things they were able to accomplish with the kids. EVERYONE wanted to be in the program, and for good reason - it is run by an expert staff and provides an amazing way for kids to learn about academics and life.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a senior in the school where Urban Workshop takes a part of. I've actually been apart of Urban Workshop for three years, my growth and mentality towards life has change for the better. Building and giving back to the community has brought out the better side of me. I've shared many experience that I will carry throughout life with Urban Workshop. Everytime I felt like giving up my classmate along with my teachers helped me realize that I shouldn't be thinking that way and help me get through my days with smiles. Urban Workshop is an great program!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Urban Workshop NYC group has help a number of garden groups in NYC with various projects. The is a great way to get students/gardeners working together for the greater cause in the community. We are so happy they working with us to help beautify and enhance our garden. The project they have completed in our garden has been successful. We look forward to further work with them on new garden projects

Donor

Rating: 5

The Urban Workshop NYC is a powerful program. I gave to them because this program works for kids who have struggled with school. We need more programs like Urban Workshop NYC that reach a greater number of students who are on the margins. I applaud their efforts and will continue to support them in the future.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This program combines important ideas in a wide range of content areas with valuable and practical experiences. It immerses students in solving important problems, while, at the same time providing services to the communities where the students come from. It is both educational and empowering. I wish there were more like it.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I work at the school where Urban Workshop is based. Over and over again I watch kids who were on the verge of not caring anymore, catch a second wind and a new outlook not just about school but also about themselves after participating in Urban Workshop.

Donor

Rating: 5

This program is a wonderful opportunity for students to apply their math and other skills to real life projects, and, in the process, to enhance the communities in which they live. The dynamic trio that runs the program is, simply put, fantastic--their energy and dedication is inspiring. The program is run very efficiently, and seems to always be doing something new!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I went to visit Urban Workshop 2 years ago as part of an effort to identify programs that were proven effective in both motivating inner city youth and teaching rigorous math and science skills. After an afternoon spent watching students learning to take units of measurement seriously by mistakenly carrying a 50 lb bag of cement instead of a 20 lb bag, I could see how and why this program worked. In both school-type assessments and with real life, commerical grade production standards, these kids are learning on many levels.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Urban Workshop is a great organization that offers excellent opportunities for students who learn best outside the classroom. The program has very dedicated teachers who work with a select group of students with a high teacher-to-student ratio that is hard to find anywhere, but especially in NYC public schools.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We are a small community garden in central Brooklyn that was in need of having a shade structure built in our garden. Urban Workshop was recommended by one of our greening partners - these young adults were a blessing to us and a joy to work with. The team of Dan, Jonas & Carolyn are very dedicated teachers who take pride and joy in the accomplishments of the students and really inspire the students to their highest potential. The structure they built for us is quite sturdy and could not have been built better by so-called professionals. We very much support the work they do and look forward to future collaboration.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Been following this group since their inception... There is a contagious energy in what they are doing. The students build a legacy of hard work and accomplishment. Communities are strengthened. NYC is growing one open space at a time!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am fortunate to work at the public school in Brooklyn where Urban Workshop is offered as a part of our curriculum. Many students I work with are currently a part of this program or have been involved with it in the past. From conversations I've had with students, Urban Workshop has received nothing but positive reviews. Students really like the idea of seeing their math and planning drive towards a tangible end-product. Aside from the sense of accomplishment they feel, students also enjoy working with instructors in a setting that is conducive to more one-on-one teaching.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The dedication of the staff of Urban Workshop NYC, Inc. is unparalleled. Their enthusiasm sets up a tone that motivates the students to work together as a whole to benefit the community, and in turn they gain confidence, skill mastery and a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I wrote an article on Urban Workshop and had the opportunity to interview the people that created the program as well as the students involved. Dan, Caroline and Jonas talked with me after the school day had ended, and we spoke for nearly two hours without even the slightest lull in our conversation; their care and devotion are exceedingly clear and deep. Their work has created a refuge for a lot of students who might not otherwise have remained in school. These kids are there, really showing up, working on the math, engaged in the English readings. One student took some time to show me the best way to nail a brace level onto a floor joist. Afterward, I asked why Urban Workshop was important to him, to which he responded, "Because I can see that I've done something. I can leave and come back and what we built is here. In school, you work on an assignment, write something, then you never see that piece of paper again."

Taeko O.

Donor

Rating: 5

Urban Workshop is the best organization of its kind. It would with student who wouldn't otherwise have the chance to do this kind of work, and works with them holistically. This isn't simply about teaching students some carpentry and building skills, this is about teaching them how to think, how to work together, how to make better life choices.

The folks running the program are thoughtful, creative and committed to the work and more importantly the students.

I remember hearing about Urban before it came to be and thought it sounded like a great idea. It is rare that the end product is even better than how you envision it.

Because of the people involved and the vision for the program, I wanted nothing more than to work with the folks and bring this program to the school I work at.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Great program! It really helps students develop number sense, especially with fractions.

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a great organization run by dedicated educators, and provides a valuable growth experience for students outside of the traditional classroom setting.

Donor

Rating: 5

I've seen these folks at work when I visited them on site early on in the program's infancy. The educators are great, the mission is great, and the students work together and feel a part of something big.