people in woodshop
The Woodies gather in their on-campus workshop. (Photo courtesy of CC Young Senior Living)

CC Young Senior Living in Dallas is proof that a simple observation can make a massive difference.

About 10 years ago, a few residents noticed that men were not receiving the resources they needed and made sure to let CEO Russell Crews know. 

“We had a group of ladies who were very pleased with the amount of life enrichment opportunities on our campus for females. Probably 80% of our residents are female,” Crews said. “But they felt like we were lacking activities for the men in particular.”

The solution? Once the proper safety guidelines were in place, Crews and the community opened a woodshop on the other side of campus for the “Woodies” to sand and saw the day away. Members of the group do everything from fixing broken chairs to creating items such as a Texas-shaped cutting board or business card holders. They even have their own golf cart, the “Woody Wagon,” to transport them to the shop.

Although members receive payment for the valuable services they provide to both residents and staff members alike, it always is used to lend a helping hand — specifically, for residents who have outlived their financial resources. 

“At CC Young, we have a benevolence program where we will step in and subsidize part or all the remaining days [of a resident’s time] at CC Young so they’re not displaced,” Crews said. “The Woodies will accept payments to benefit the benevolence fund. All proceeds go to that benevolence fund, and it will support eight to 10 residents annually.”

Crews said he not only is happy with his residents finding their own niche on campus but with the impact the group has made over its 10 years in existence. 

“We gave them the space, we supported it, we made it safe and they love doing it,” he said. “They just go down there every day, and they come out covered in sawdust. They’re just an extremely positive presence on our campus, and everybody benefits from it here.”

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