Robert and Kelly Piasecki volunteered at Alexander Adaire in a 7th-grade Mathematics classroom in the Spring of 2022. The dynamic husband and wife duo held a huge presence in the classroom and made a major impact on the students when exposing the group to the world of architecture and design. Kelly is a Senior Project Architect at CICADA Architecture and Design and Robert is Senior Project Manager at UPenn FRES Design & Construction.
Q: Why did you decide to start volunteering with ADE?
A: "We both want to be part of bringing a more representative group of Philadelphians into the design profession as well as to give back to the profession we enjoy. We also tried to cover the full brief of available design professions. When we were in middle school, we barely knew what architects did, let alone the many other related designs and AEC professions available to today’s students. Today's 7th graders could be imagining and creating space colonies, energy-efficient underwater housing, and solar-powered everything - it is never too early to encourage collaboration on human-focused design. Rob has also enjoyed working with high school students through ACE mentoring and Kelly has created and taught classes about architecture to preschool and pre-K students."
Q: Why do you believe design is important to share with students?
A: "Nearly everything that you interact with during the day was created by humans- buildings of course, but also kitchen utensils, video games, the textiles that become clothes or furniture, Septa buses, and entire cities. So students have been exposed to design, good or bad, their entire lives. What most kids aren't exposed to is the process - it's important to share tools they can use to evaluate and suggest improvements for familiar spaces thru information gathering and collaboration. This is something they can use and build on through life as they hone their appreciation of quality design. It's equally important to empower kids to be confident in their inner creativity."
Q: What have been some of the most rewarding aspects of working as a volunteer?
A: "Witnessing students realize that they are already creative problem solvers, but now with the added ability to evaluate, encourage and embrace positive design."
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in volunteering in the ADE program?
A: "It’s a great opportunity to engage with younger students and to show them all the amazing design professions that are available for them to pursue. And even if they don’t become a designer, they will be better clients someday by understanding what designers do and the processes we use."
Interested in volunteering with CFAD's Architecture and Design Education program? Please reach out to Michael Spain (firstname.lastname@example.org), Liza Niles (email@example.com), or Carly Clifford (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
“If you can design one thing, you can design everything.” – Massimo Vignelli More...