Josh’s Hope prepares carpentry program

Mar. 06, 2013 @ 09:09 PM

Steve Bailey and Rich Goldberg walked around a large vacant garage Tuesday with plans in their hands.

There’s where we’ll store the lumber. Work benches go there. Here’s a good spot for the chop saw.

It was Goldberg’s first day on the job at Josh’s Hope Foundation. He’ll teach woodworking and construction to participants at the new center behind the McDonald’s in Hillsborough.

“Our goal here is to train young adults with mental health issues and or substance abuse issues,” Bailey said. “We’re going to provide training in craftsmanship and construction carpentry.

Bailey is the father of Josh Bailey, who was murdered northwest of Carrboro in 2008 at age 20 by a group of acquaintances. Steve and Julie Bailey adopted Josh and his two brothers at an early age, and they’ve each struggled with mental health issues throughout their lives.

Before Josh’s death, Steve Bailey, a business consultant in the construction industry, had talked with the young man about carpentry.

“The opportunities that were available to him were so limited, we started discussing the idea of starting a program like this,” Bailey said. “I even went out and bought some tools.”

Josh was in the transition years between 18 and 26, a difficult time for people struggling with mental health issues. They’re often eager to get out on their own, but don’t have the skills to find jobs. Because they officially become an adult at the age of 18, their parents are suddenly cut off from being active participants in medical aspects of their issues.

For Josh, there wasn’t much available to him to help prepare for adulthood and earn a living.

“It was our goal after his death to provide that opportunity,” Bailey said.

That’s why Tools for Hope, one of the programs under the umbrella of Josh’s Hope Foundation, is getting its start.

The program will consider accepting young adults who are bipolar, are ADHD, have post-traumatic stress disorder or similar conditions for the carpentry program, Bailey said. For participants who enroll in Tools for Hope, they’ll be able to stay as long as they need to complete it, Bailey said.

On Tuesday, Bailey and Goldberg completed the list of tools they’re going to order for the shop area of the center, located at 200-B Cardinal Dr. In the front office area, they plan on opening a retail shop where participants can sell items they make.

Another part of Josh’s Hope is called Family Hope, a program to help educate parents about issues and needs of young adults with mental health conditions. The foundation will hold occasional education seminars for parents.

The first session for Tools for Hope is scheduled this spring, with eight to 10 participants. The hope is for about 36 people a year to participate, with the goal of preparing them for at least part-time employment.

If carpentry is not appropriate for some participants, Josh’s Hope will offer other activities to build skills, such as pottery, jewelry and glass fusion.

“We’re looking for the young adults we accept to have the ability to react positively to appropriate training and education,” Bailey said.

The plan is to individualize training for each participant to build character and a positive self image, Bailey said.

“It will make them feel productive,” said Sue Jarrell, a member of the board of directors and the sister of Bailey’s wife, Julie Bailey, who also serves on the board.

Josh’s Hope is working with Carolina Outreach, which provides mental health services in Durham. Steve Bailey is optimistic that the foundation will partner with the N.C. Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

In addition to job skills, Josh’s Hope will provide counseling and classes on life skills, such as how to pay bills, how to write a resume and how to interview for a job.

Josh’s Hope is holding an art auction called “Art for Hope” on March 23 at the center in Hillsborough. The foundation is currently accepting art donations for the auction.

For information about Josh’s Hope, its programs and the art auction, visit their Web site at joshshopefoundation.org.