On Friday Bob DeAngelo visited AVID students at Western Middle School for a group art project with the message not to judge others without knowing their full story.
DeAngelo was invited by AVID teacher and site coordinator Kim Matarese to work with the students on crafting a family holiday gift.
Ms Matarese talked to the students about impactful gifts, and how presents that take time and effort are just as powerful and meaningful as store-bought gifts.
“Something that comes from the heart is way more valuable than something that comes from the store,” Matarese said.
Mr. DeAngelo said he had developed a love of working with wood from his grandfather who had immigrated from Italy and was a master woodworker with a woodshop near the Greenwich train station.
“He was making boats and I really fell in love with wood,” he said.
“I’m the happiest guy on the planet today,” he said. “I get to share my love of woodworking and working with young people. I love the AVID program – stick with it.”
DeAngelo, who described his career having started as a pilot in the Navy and later in leadership positions at the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich and the YMCA Greenwich, said the idea for working with wood “slices” came from his daughter.
“One day it hit me, there’s a tie between these wood slices and people,” he said, noting that every wood slice was unique.
“No two are the same. Same thing with people. No two are the same.”
DeAngelo said that like wood, people have their own unique core and grain.
He said that during hikes, he and his wife pick up branches and logs and bring them home to slice.
“It wasn’t until I started slicing the wood with my saw that I was totally blown away by all the cores,” he explained. “Same thing with people.”
“Don’t judge people from their outside. Get to know their inside,” he said.
All the students selected wood boards and wood slices and applied their own creativity. Afterward, they left their projects in the media center for the wood glue to dry and plan to give them as gifts to pay forward the message!