FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Last Thursday, Rotarians learned about the history of, and programs available at, the non-profit 'Folk School of Fairbanks'.
In the Gold Room of the Westmark Hotel, the audience listened as furniture maker and co-founder of the Folk School, John Manthei talked about the purpose of the school, as well as what is still needed to help the institution be accessible to more community members.
The Folk School has been operating for 20 years, and adheres to the philosophy of Danish educator Nikolaj Grundtvig, who started the folk school movement during the Industrial Revolution.
The point is to provide children and adults with courses in hands-on disciplines such as woodworking, survival skills, farming, and other abilities that are specific to where they live.
Manthei told us what he wants for the future of the school, as well as what he sees as the main obstacle in achieving his vision.
John Manthei; Co-Founder - Folk School of Fairbanks>>"I would like to see us play a major role in augmenting the diminished offerings in the public school system, to fill that void in the community. I would like to see us have a vibrant scholarship program, so that people less fortunate could partake in every bit as much of our programming as the folks that are better off can partake in. Given, if we were in a location that was much better, our program would immediately expand, and that would then result in improved economics of the Folk School."