There’s a new clubhouse in the backyard at the Carpenter Art Garden Purple House!photo 3

It’s giving the kids who attend art classes, tutoring, and many other activities at the Garden a way to have some fun outdoor play, and it was built by SOS Builds participants who will be entering the seventh grade!

Through our focus last spring on Binghampton for 2nd MILE giving, Christ Church helped fund SOS Builds, along with the construction of the Purple House and educational opportunities at Cornerstone Prep (which is right across the street). This program of Service Over Self is a collaboration with the Carpenter Art Garden and the Binghampton Development Corporation that provides after-school educational, character, and leadership enrichment for Binghampton middle-schoolers through hands-on construction training.

It’s this kind of building knowledge that comes in handy for the sort of work that SOS does in the neighborhood. As they enter high school and then college, the opportunities for these students to be involved at SOS to greater degrees only increase.

Click here to check out the last update on SOS Builds at the end of last year about the unveiling of the plan to construct the clubhouse at the Carpenter Art Garden.

photo 4On May 6, community members and organization leaders celebrated the completion of the clubhouse and gathered to dedicate it to God and for the good of the community. The longest and best part of the ceremony, however, the congratulations given to the first class of SOS Builds on their hard work.

Each rising seventh grader from Lester Prep who has given one afternoon every week for the entire school year to see the clubhouse completed was called up by name. They received a certificate, a Bible verse chosen specially for them, and got to hear the SOS Builds leaders (recent graduates from Collegiate School of Memphis) tell them the virtuous characteristics they have seen from them over the past year.

Founder of the Carpenter Art Garden, Erin Harris, emphasized the dedication she witnessed over the past year as the students planned and built the clubhouse. “You worked hard in ways that are not easy for middle schoolers to do!”

Philip Walkley, Executive Director of SOS, congratulated the SOS Builds team. “You have given of yourselves like Jesus for the benefit not only of yourselves but for others. You have built something more beautiful as a gospel witness than something you could ever build with your hands. We are so proud of you and thankful for what you’ve done.”

Visit the Carpenter Art Garden when you get a chance to see the clubhouse in person! They are closed this week for a break before summer activities get underway, but go to to see what’s launching next week, such as arts/crafts, vegetable gardening, tutoring, and bicycle riding on the Greenline.

Ally Velderman, Director of SOS Builds, announced in her opening remarks that each year the SOS Builds program will seek to “complete, from start to finish, a significant construction project for Binghampton.” We’re excited about the next project to begin this fall!

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