Teaching – To E-Nable Others


A journalist recently asked a question of the E-nable group: “Who is benefiting most from this work?”

Most would assume that the obvious answer would be that the children who were born without fingers are the ones benefiting the most. Getting to have fingers where none have ever existed before…being able to hold two hot wheels cars and make them smash together in a demolition derby…carrying a lunch box at school in one hand and eating your sandwich with the other, being able to hold on with both hands while riding your bike or playing on the swings…

But you may be surprised to find out that the people that are dedicating their free time, resources and materials and design work to this project…are benefiting just as much. While they are giving away their time and talents to create these devices for complete strangers they may never actually meet – their lives are changing just as much as the people that they are creating these devices for.

Everyone involved is benefiting.

One of our members shared his story and we would like to share some of it with you:

From Frankie Flood

“I grew up working on things with my Dad in his shop when I was a young child. We made things for the pure joy of hanging out together and learning something new together. I continued that love of learning and creating as i attended college and discovered Metalsmithing. I continued my course of study into graduate school and discovered a love of teaching and sharing my knowledge with others. Eventually I landed a teaching job here in Milwaukee. As I worked my way up through academia I found that I had lost some of the joy of what I do in my own work. I realize now that it was because most everything I did was self-serving (except for my teaching)…The work of the (E-nable) group has put the “heart” back into my creativity and now I have more drive to share my gifts than ever before.

…My relationship with my students in teaching them what is means to be a creative problem solver through the act of making objects has been my true passion for the last twelve years. This year I have been on sabbatical and I have actually had the time to return to my own work, but I still have had the void. That is, until I contacted Ranee about Shea. Something was rekindled again inside of me and I have finally realized that I need to be using my abilities to help others. Teaching is one part of that, but so is making mechanical hands or anything, for that matter, that can help someone else or make a difference in someone’s life. I have always believed that making tools or objects is an innate behavior and is partially what makes us human. The history of Making and/or toolmaking dates back to the beginning of time. Before the Industrial Revolution, makers were at the core of society and actually bonded society together with their abilities and creativity. Now with the current technological revolution, I find myself more connected with society than ever before, when it comes to sharing my creativity and abilities. The community of sharing has made me realize how important it is to share ideas freely and how important it is to share our gifts with others. We all have a role to play in helping to make the world a better place.

(Along with another Teacher – Adream Blair) … we adopted “Shea’s Hand” as an opportunity to teach our students what it means to share information, collaborate on ideas, and create something special for someone specific. We have been so grateful that we made this decision as the students have been hooked from day one. I believe they feel the same things we do; It’s an opportunity to truly help someone. We have had many people reach out to us from our immediate community about the potential of getting a hand and we are going to work this into the class so we can help as many people as possible.” 

Trying to figure out who benefits most from this project is near impossible.

Both the Makers and the Recipients have had their lives changed for the better and are causing ripples of hope to spread across the Globe.

The open source design collaboration effort that is coming together through the E-nable group has potential to grow into something that could benefit many generations to come.

It is going to be amazing to watch it grow.

““It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.” – Mahatma Gandhi

11 thoughts on “Teaching – To E-Nable Others

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