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Nonprofit Motogo is bringing shop class back to schools in Cleveland

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Posted at 7:22 AM, Apr 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-24 18:17:27-04

CLEVELAND — Molly Vaughan and Brian Schaffran started Skidmark Garage as a place for motorcycle riders to come, fix up their bikes, share parts and knowledge. It’s a community, DIY garage.

“We saw the adult members of the garage form these adult relationships and talking to each other,” said Vaughan. “It was successful. People from different sides of towns were finding commonality, and as former teachers we both knew this was the dream in the classroom.”

That’s when the idea of creating a nonprofit out of the garage sparked.

"We knew not only do kids need shop class, but they need to find places where they could work on something together and find commonality in a place outside of the classroom,” she said.

After a year of work, Motogo is up and running. Every week, students from schools throughout Cleveland, including Design Lab Early College, Saint Martin de Porres High School, University Settlement and soon, Magnificat High School, will come to the garage to get hands on learning, by building up and breaking down motorcycles.

For students like Martaevion Friesco, a junior at Design Lab, it’s a nice break from the classroom, but not a break from learning.

“Everybody learns different, so like sitting in a class for three to four hours doing regular math and stuff,” he said. “You can do the same stuff in here, you can do the same math and do the same stuff with the engines.”

Vaughan said it’s rewarding to see the kids learn skills like problem solving.

“They fail and they try again and they succeed and all of the sudden it’s a redefinition of failure,” she said.

Schaffran said his goal is to eventually bring Motogo to all schools in our area.

“There are a lot of reasons why schools abandon shop class and one of them, I think, is the cost of having all of the equipment, the cost of having the dedicated classroom, the cost of having a specific teacher, so we thought we would kind of solve that by making it mobile,” he said

The group will soon be getting a mobile rig. They’ll be able to pack up all of the equipment in Skidmark Garage and bring it to each school, specifically, and then set up shop right there. Schaffran and Vaughan are hoping this will give even more schools the opportunity to experience Motogo.