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ACE Mentoring

WID volunteers and other professionals from our Denver community have helped mentor at East High School for the past 3 years in support of the ACE Program (www.ACEmentor.org). Working with high school students has its challenges. You may have 20 years of experience in your field and patiently brainstorm with a student design team, explaining site grading, placement of the building, ADA access, solar orientation, massing, and much more. In return, there is usually a lot of silence and blinking… and then some sketching of what all this means to the teens. It’s a lot to process, but by taking it one step at a time we can help remove the stress of the design challenge and start producing something that they can sink their teeth into and proceed on their own with occasional help from patrolling mentors.

Last week we had a quick 45 minute model exercise where the teams cut up cereal boxes to tape together mass models of the buildings.

ACE action shot, photo by Kathy Ford

Each year ACE presents the students with an RFP and they have to design based on the program in the RFP packet. This year the kids are designing a history museum that has to tie into what it means to be a teen in Colorado. They were given 3 sites- one in Downtown Denver, one in the Stapleton area, and in the Foothills.

It was fun and felt a lot like Box City (http://aiacolorado.org/events/COArchitectureMonth/BoxCity.aspx), except for teens. Mentors are always needed so if this is something that sounds fun to you, feel free to contact ACE at the link above to be added to their email list for the Fall 2013 program.

Written by WID mentors Kathy Ford and Molly Blakley

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