For some people, working with their hands is a hobby. For others, working with their hands is lifesaving. Purposeful Design is saving lives every day by providing their craftsman with a purpose and a paycheck. Purposeful Design is building more than furniture. It is building fulfilling lives.
Purposeful Design is a not-for-profit that designs and builds beautiful hand-crafted furniture. The shop exists through a collaboration of partners. College Park Church of Indianapolis, IN provided an ideal facility in the very neighborhood where most of the employed men live. MacBeath Hardwoods in Edinburgh, IN provides beautiful hard woods. Wheeler Mission’s substance abuse rehabilitation center in Brown County, Indiana cuts wood to spec in their wood milling operation. The men of Purposeful Design then assemble that wood into furniture and apply the beautifying finish. The employees of Purposeful Design come from diverse backgrounds with obstacles that were not easy to overcome, such as homelessness and drug addiction. Andrew is one of those men.
I met Andrew on a sunny afternoon when he returned from his lunch break. Carrying a coffee cup and sporting a pencil behind his ear, he walked in to the building with a sense of pride that showed he was happy to return. If I were not informed of his background before meeting him, I would not have suspected a troubled past. He was pleasant, polite, and happy—almost more so than people you may see at your job every day.
Andrew was eager to share his story. After some mistakes made in Illinois, Andrew found himself in the residential rehabilitation program at Wheeler Mission in downtown Indianapolis. Towards the end of his stay, he was referred to Purposeful Design for a part-time position. With a background in construction, Andrew was eager to start working with his hands again. When he first heard of the position, he thought he would be putting together pre-made furniture pieces that came out of box. Little did he know, he would be creating furniture from reclaimed wood, and that furniture would help him reclaim his life.
The part-time job that Andrew took soon became a full-time position and now he is a supervisor. Not only does Andrew help make chairs, conference tables, and wall art, he also has the opportunity to make custom pieces, such as a receptionist desk he made himself from start to finish. The environment Andrew works in everyday has helped build his confidence, strengthen his character, and provide for his family that he was estranged from for 15 months. His wife, six-year-old daughter, and three-year-old son moved to Indiana after his wife saw the change in Andrew—the change his rehabilitation and his purpose made in him.
When I asked Andrew what it meant to have his family back, the grin on his face went from ear to ear. When speaking of his marriage, he shared he was only a husband for the first six months. He was there, but not present. He was around, but not involved. Now married six years, he is active with his wife and two children. They live one neighborhood over from the shop. They have a vehicle now. They have a relationship with Christ that strengthens their family. They are very involved in their Church and have made good friends—ones that remain a positive influence in Andrew’s life. His family has opportunities and their life is fulfilling. The change made in one man is now making a change in a family. That family is helping strengthen their neighborhood. That neighborhood helps create a better community…
The next time you find yourself driving down East 16th
Street—whether on accident or on purpose—pay more attention to the little white church at the intersection with Gladstone. Not only are you driving by an old church, you are driving by a mission. You are driving by Purposeful Design, a business attacking joblessness in Indianapolis and providing beautiful, rustic style furniture and art for customers to enjoy. A business building more than furniture—a business building lives.
Leading local living,
To learn more about Purposeful Designs or to see their goods, visit pdindy.com.
Here is the receptionist desk Andrew made--his favorite piece so far.