Ernie is our large order pro! He first came to Would Works in October 2016 to help us crank out 3,000 custom coasters for ManCrates, and we are happy to have him back this Fall working on another large order of custom menu boards for Dominique Ansel’s new restaurant at The Grove.
Ernie was born in El Salvador but moved to the US at the age of two. He's pretty much spent his whole life in and around Los Angeles. Orphaned at an early age, Ernie lived in various boys' homes and on the streets. He graduated from Bellmont High School, but sadly, living on the streets from such a young age almost cost him his life. At age seventeen he was shot six times in the stomach, and for many years he was in and out of prison and using drugs and alcohol.
Ernie is now fifty three years old, sober, and working hard to get back to a peaceful life. In the past he's worked as a painter, forklift driver, and for a long time as a skilled plumber. He said he learned how to work by taking advantage of the vocational programs offered in prison. Being without a home and on the streets was all he knew. He had to 'learn' how to get off the streets and into housing and a job. He eventually got a bed at a shelter and then his own room in SRO housing. He's now working hard to secure section 8 housing.
Being surrounded by chaos and crime everyday in Skid Row--the 'Belly of the beast' as he calls it--takes a toll on his mental state. He's tired he says. But even despite his joint pain and arthritis, Ernie is a great worker and a great member of our team. When asked about Would Works he said 'Even though I can't do much, it takes me away from the bullshit. You come here and you dream.'
You do a lot for us, Ernie! We hope to help make some of your dreams come true.
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Also in Our Artisans
Meet Taaj, Tim and Quinn – Three of our Artisans in Would Works’ Young Makers Program.
The Young Makers Program provides youth the opportunity to learn the beginning fundamentals of woodworking. At WW they learn to fabricate kitchen products and furniture all the while gaining experience using tools and machines in the wood shop that will prepare them for jobs when they graduate from our program.