High School Senior Josh Buchanan Helps Refugees Through Woodworking


Josh Buchanan's senior project turned into a major blessing for one of LSG's refugee families.  In order to graduate,  Josh, a senior at Wheeler High School, is required to receive mentoring in a skill or field that he is interested in and use that mentoring to create a product that benefits the community.  Josh is headed to Virginia Tech in the fall to major in Product Design, so he’s very interested in designing and making useful things. He chose woodworking as the skill to learn and, with the guidance of his mentor, built his first piece of furniture – a chest of drawers . He asked LSG if he could donate it to a newly arrived refugee family who might need it.  Josh learned about LSG’s refugee resettlement work through his church, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Atlanta, a congregation that’s partnered with LSG to resettle several refugee families.  His chest of drawers went to a Syrian family who gratefully received Josh’s donation!


Here’s what Josh had to say about his experience:

Chest Made by Josh Buchanan.jpg
Every semester at Wheeler High School in Cobb County, seniors go through the process called Senior Project. This is a nearly semester-long process in which the seniors, as part of their English class, learn something new from a professional mentor and present it to teachers and community members. This learning has to result in some sort of product that benefits the community. The product can range from a physical object to an event organized by the student. I chose to learn more about the area of woodworking. I used this opportunity to build a wooden chest-of-drawers that I then donated to Lutheran Services of Georgia in hopes that they would use it to furnish the homes of the numerous refugee families that they assist.
 The chest of drawers is a 28” by 35.5” by 20.5” piece made of primarily of ¼” plywood and ¾” pine. Each drawer is a 24” by 19.5” and the entire construction was made possible by wood glue and nail gun studs. Under the supervision of my mentor in his woodshop in Acworth, I used a table saw, band saw and router to craft the piece.
 I learned several lessons through this process. Beyond the obvious woodworking skills that I needed to learn to successfully complete the project, I learned that woodworking, like many endeavors in life, is done best when you do not rush through the work. Instead of trying to accomplish as many things in as little time as possible, the best work is done when you take the time to focus and be mindful of what you are doing. That is a lesson that I am still trying to apply to my life, not only in woodworking, but in everything I do.

 Thank you Josh for helping support LSG and our refugee clients!