Meet Jessica Brubaker, Working Class board member and co-founder of Keystone Kidspace. Jess brings an impressive amount of knowledge and experience to the Working Class team, and we are so excited for you to meet her!
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WC: Tell us a little about Keystone Kidspace.
JB: Keystone Kidspace will be a premier experiential learning center that facilitates play with purpose. It will be a true making place where ideas are discovered through play that employs art, science, technology, and engineering, all while providing children with a competitive advantage for the future. Keystone Kidspace intends to be a catalyst for York's continued renaissance, offering a best-in-class, family-centric experience that is influenced by our region's rich history of industry and making. It will be inclusive and accessible to all residents, and it will help to attract new residents, employees, and businesses to York.
Keystone Kidspace should open in late 2019 or early 2020. We are currently working to finalize the purchase of our future home, planning for the site’s redevelopment, working with partners to further refine the program for the space, and planning a capital campaign and other development strategies to fund the project.
WC: Would you consider Keystone Kidspace a result of the “maker movement” that’s happening right now?
JB: In some ways, yes, it was inspired by the maker movement and programming for kids that exists elsewhere. An important part of Keystone Kidspace’s facility and programs will be a facilitated “makerspace” designed for our target audience – elementary and middle school-aged kids.
Keystone Kidspace was also inspired, more generally, by a desire to make high quality, enrichment opportunities accessible to all York families and to facilitate greater diversity in program offerings. Similar to the makerspace model, Keystone Kidspace will in some ways be a dynamic platform where established and emerging program providers, as well as kids, families and teachers, can have access to space, tools, equipment, mentors, etc. to create engaging and enriching experiences.
WC: How did you get involved with Working Class?
JB: I had been following Pat Sells and Erin Casey’s efforts to create a community-based makerspace and was excited about Working Class becoming a powerful addition to the York landscape. I became involved when they decided to expand their board. They invited me because I bring a different set of skills than some of the others on the board – my focus is on strategic and business planning, organizational development, fundraising, etc. Since joining, my focus has been on helping to ensure that when launched, Working Class is both viable and sustainable.
WC: Why do you think York need a makerspace?
JB: In many ways Working Class is simply a reflection of what York has always been – a community with a long and proud legacy of making things and tackling real-world problems. The term “maker movement” may be unfamiliar to many Yorkers, but embracing that movement is a natural extension of our manufacturing history and our growing community of craftspeople, creative professionals, and industrial designers and manufacturers. If any community should have a makerspace, it’s York.
I am convinced that to be viable and sustainable, York’s makerspace needs to be community-based and a shared resource for hobbyists, higher ed institutions, aspiring entrepreneurs, and local industry partners. A community of York’s size cannot easily afford to create distinct and segregated environments to support each of these constituencies. By bringing these diverse groups together in one space to share tools, equipment and learning, we can create a truly vibrant community that is cross-disciplinary, fosters creativity, and supports innovation and entrepreneurship.
WC: What’s your favorite thing to “make?”
JB: I must admit that I don’t consider myself a “maker” in the sense of working with tools and my hands to create. But I am passionate about helping to make York a vibrant, inclusive community that supports creativity and innovation. I am willing to take calculated risks to move our community forward, as I have chosen to spend my professional and personal time on projects that help to achieve that vision.
WC: Why do you love York City?
JB: I love York City because so much is possible here. I love York City because I’ve witnessed firsthand how the size of our city allows individuals to make a tremendous difference – there are so many working every day to do just that. I love York City because it is my adopted home, because it embraced me with open arms when I wanted to get involved, and because I see all of the progress that has already been made and know that more is to come.
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Thanks for the interview, Jess! York is lucky to have you.
Stay tuned for more board member interviews coming soon.