Youth Programs

The Foundry partners with schools, community groups and agencies to provide after school options and day programs that enable participants to explore STEAM or to fulfill either Career Development or Occupational Studies (CDOS) requirements.

Working with our local organizations, we have developed programming to support computer assisted design and making in all four of our shops or labs.  If you have a community-based design & build project for a garden, public art space or local lot, please contact us to coordinate this special learning opportunity by sending E-mail to

Current Youth Programs:

Keeping safety in mind, we are prepared to offer sessions this Fall, and we hope you'll join us! We are limiting the number of students enrolled in each program to reduce safety risks. For all on-site learning sessions, students will participate in a daily health screening, be socially distanced, and wearing masks will be required. Students will be supplied with laptops to complete remote work. In the event that NYS guidelines suggest another shutdown, we are ready to abide by those safety regulations. Our promise - we will continue to find ways for students to learn and make in a safe manner this Fall.

Entrepreneurship Program - Fall 2020 at The Foundry! 

Tuesday and Thursday Afternoons this Fall!

This afterschool program (4PM-6PM) for young adults (11th and 12th graders) starts on September 22nd and is generously sponsored by the Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation. 

Click here to sign up!

Advanced Manufacturing Program in partnership with The Service Collaborative of WNY 

We have a few *funded* spots left in the
18 week session starting in October, 2020. 

Know someone 17-25 years old (must turn 18 by the end of program) who is either interested in 'making' OR developing skills using machines for 'small-batch-manufacturing' OR a new pathway towards a higher paying entry level position in Buffalo? Pass on the information below. 

Click here to sign up or learn more


Funded with a grant from the Small Business Administration ( Advanced Manufacturing classes ground an understanding of small batch manufacturing using our Metalshop, TechLab and the newly created Digital Fabrication Lab.  With tools on site from innovative local industries and workflows aligned with companies in our Buffalo network, a small group of young people from Youthbuild WNY and our makerspace community will join us to secure some timeless techniques and timely computer-assisted-design strategies. These are skills needed by workers entering new and emerging positions in currently open, high paying manufacturing jobs in Buffalo. 

Can young people who have struggled to excel when confronted with complicated economic, social and personal issues master the hard and soft skills required to enter positions that combine using complicated machinery and computer-based manufacturing? Our resounding response is YES

Join us this Fall to see how you can become part of making the future.


Past Programs:

Thanks to The Garman Family Foundation, Ralph C. Wilson Foundation, and The Emerging Philanthropists of Color for their grants in support of our STEM and STEAM sessions.

This Last Fall we led a STEM program for 12th graders focused on electricity in the TechLab. A group of 8th graders also joined us in the TechLab and TextileLab. They designed and constructed a collection of sewn stuffed animals with embedded circuits, which they made for younger students.  LED eyes, soldered into fabric hedgehogs and owls stitched with sensors, light up when noses or beak are touched.

Other Programs:

Tours: During our open and normally active periods, The Foundry hosts tours for elementary, middle and high school students. Schedule one with us for a future date by emailing

Make It Program

The Foundry has offered hands-on learning for after school programs since its inception in 2013. Our Make It Program was born out of the recognition that interactive, exploratory activities allow student to experiment in our shops and labs as they consider possible career options. The Make It Program offers multiple sessions throughout the year where students can select to engage in different opportunities in different shops. Focused career options are rooted in woodworking, metalwork, techniques for using fiber and textiles, or maker-based technologies.

Program Needs: Depending on the structure of the program, funding ranges from $2500 to $10,000 annually. Currently supported by individual donors, grants, or after-school funds from our community. The Foundry covers the cost of an instructor, use of our facilities, and the administrative time needed to coordinate with clients or pick up materials. Typically our partner programs cover the cost of their supervisors and transportation for the students - though sometimes we collaborate to apply for funding to cover the cost of these sessions.

Students enrolled in YouthBuild joined us to build two mobile market carts.  The African Heritage Food Co-op is set to move through our East Side neighborhood to distribute the produce they grow from the cart pictured to the left.

Our Make It Program allows students to explore different skillsets and career pathways while building a specific community-based project. We have designed and fabricated benches, a trellis, and a giant Adirondack chair for the Outer Harbor. Little libraries, blue Buffalo bike racks, garbage receptacles have been created for different groups, and we are frequently asked to make signs and planters for community gardens.


Growth: Not only can The Foundry make small items -- benches or a trellis, we have the potential to build larger structures such as arbors, green roofs, community structures and tiny houses. Good examples of other programs that do large scale community build projects: Yestermorrow Design/Build School and Rural Studio. We are looking to grow in this direction over the next few years.



Supported by a range of different grants, Afterschool Programming at The Foundry has expanded. 

5th graders have created interactive fireflies from recycled materials and small electronic components. The little creatures begin to light up when you wave at them.  

12th graders learned about coding and interactivity by creating a set of creatures that "swim" (rise and fall), wave or growl.

8th graders developed a new toy for younger kids using circuits and tools for computer assisted design using fibers from our TextileLab.

Students from Baker Victory Services and Health Sciences Charter School worked with us to develop a nightlight we designed for younger students.  It has a motion sensor built in – so in a dark room, it turns on when you wave your hand over it.  We concluded the second year of this program - thanks to The Emerging Philanthropists of Color for help with funding and to Thimble for co-writing a grant with us to get their wonderful kits for tinkering with code here onsite!


Growth:  Grant writing is currently underway to assure that arts continue to be an important part of the work we do to support an understanding of science, new technologies, engineering principles and math concepts that young makers need to design new objects in our shops and labs. We are also seeking private funds to work with a group of students to investigate the way waves impact life on our planet -- what impact might systems we can build with audio or colored lights have on plants  -- and on us?!


Experiential Learning

Day Programs get students out of the classroom and into the studio or lab to expose them to real-life opportunities for skills development. We work with students to make community-based projects. We have recently made outdoor tables for the Northland Corridor project, an outdoor bench for WEDIs office on Grant Street, and a game table for the Dearborn Street Community Garden for the BRR|Alliance. We mark all building projects with a ribbon-cutting event so students are able to celebrate their success and the work they’ve achieved.

Program Needs: We need sponsors and community sites to work with us to design build projects. Our application process for new projects starts in late spring for the following year so that we can build two projects in our woodshop and metalshop.

Growth: Currently we offer two programs - one each week in our Woodshop and Metalshop. We are looking to expand to offer a third day for BPS that will run in our TechLab and TextileLab.

  WEDI Bench Ribbon cutting  
scanned-daughterKM-2018.jpg A number of students join us each year to make their own 3D printed objects.  We also teach participants laser scanning and 3D mesh creation.  We don’t like to download pre-made files from the web – we teach people to create their own three-dimensional works, masterpieces and usable products. 



Our  Partners:

To learn more about options for partnering, please send an email to to start the conversation.