A Creating Community

Published on by Marissa Ukosakul.

<<Sketch of Rainier Maker's Trailer Model courtisy of Andy Wong

<<Sketch of Rainier Maker's Trailer Model courtisy of Andy Wong

MAKER MOVEMENT \’mā-kƏr\ \’müv-mƏnt\


1. a cultural trend in which people place value on an individual’s ability to be a creator of things as well as a consumer of things

2. a subculture of creating, recreating or assembling any raw material or product


A hip-hop group that engages and employs youth in the community. A line of clothing that employs marginalized women in the Rainier Valley. A community-connecting creativity trailer that provides access to creative tools like drill presses and sewing machines. 

These were some innovative social business plans entered in Seattle Pacific University’s(SPU) Social Venture Competition and then in Urban Impact’s tandem contest “Sharks at the Beach,” imitating the popular reality show “Shark Tank” with “Beach” referring to Rainier Beach and the surrounding neighborhoods. 

In Rainier Valley, where there are many highly entrepreneurially minded individuals, there are few places where families can create together, playing with circuits, woodworking or making LED textile products. As makers themselves, Helen Shor-Wong and Andy Wong presented their vision of a community creating together to a panel of community judges. As they built circuit boards and toys with their own daughter, they saw their business, Rainier Makers, as a unique way to “cultivate the Rainier Valley’s imaginative creativity and amplify their unique stories through a venue that fosters community connectedness, provides maker-centered learning through hands-on making classes, workshops and events, and incubate the entrepreneurial spirit to innovate and grow small businesses”. As a mobile trailer brings community together no matter where the location, Rainier Makers allows for “a safe place to try and fail again” as well as a fun and productive way for community to engage and connect. 

Helen and Andy saw this competition as a valuable way to join this economic development component of Urban Impact. “Through this opportunity we are able to create as a community, just how God intended for things to be.” They will continue to collaborate with schools, libraries and organizations to bring Rainier Makers into existence, building upon people’s potential to innovate. 

Helen Shor-Wong & Andy Wong present their business plan to a panel of community judges >>