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I would like to thank you so very much for your recent efforts on my behalf. The bar that you constructed for my wheelchair has been a complete success. I realize that a simple metal bar will not change the world but it has made my wanderings in it a lot easier."

Tetra client Pamela Read
(Hamilton, ON volunteers fabricated a shopping bag holder between her wheelchair footrests)









Tetra woodworking shop

In June 2010, the Tetra Society opened a a 620-square-foot, fully accessible woodworking shop to support its Vancouver chapter.

Based at the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre (818 West 10th St., Vancouver), the shop is a resource and collaborative environment for Tetra’s Vancouver-area volunteers - a place for them to work together, meet clients, mentor students and attract volunteers who don’t have a shop and woodworking tools of their own at home.

Along with being a workspace for volunteers, the Vancouver shop has inspired a new project that is enhancing the independence and abilities of Tetra clients in Vancouver.

Tetra Shop Skills

Launched in 2011, the Tetra shop project is helping people with significant mobility limitations to make beautiful arts and crafts, handy items like bookshelves, footstools and ballpoint pens, and fun ones like birdhouses and planters.

Check out the facebook page for pictures of the shop in use. It's designed to be accessible, with its tools, equipment and machinery modified for use by people with mobility and dexterity limitations.

Participants discover new skills and hobbies and have fun at the same time.

“We encourage people to do whatever they can physically do,” explains Tetra volunteer George Shipley. “We are there to advise and inspire people – but mainly to guarantee safety."

The shop is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 10am to 2:30pm and operates on a drop-in basis.  The charge is $10/session and that covers the cost of materials for most of the projects.

For more information, contact George Shipley by email or at 604-596-9404.

Outcomes: Elaine’s story

Opportunities to create art in a new medium are opening doors for Elaine Lee.

But then, as Elaine is proud to say, she’s spent her whole life overcoming obstacles.  “With hands as tiny as a newborn baby, nobody knew what I’d be capable of – not even I knew,” she said.

“Born with a rare condition known as osteogenesis imperfect – known as brittle bones – I was never expected to live past the age of two. I spent my first five years living in the hospital where I baffled doctors, family and friends by overcoming every fathomable challenge.”

An acclaimed artist, inspired and tutored by Canadian painter Ted Harrison, she has been drawing and painting in acrylics for most of her 32 years.

But earlier this year, Lee got to try woodwork through the Tetra shop.

“Never in a million years did I ever imagine that I would be getting down and dusty on a scroll saw, electric drill, banging nails, creating everything from small wooden animals, designing unique benches and making pretty pictures with wood burning tools,” she said.


Thank you to the following organizations for their generous support of the Tetra woodworking shop and the TAO project:




Workshop video


Workshop gallery





HeartsDonate to Tetra's Vancouver Chapter

Help support the dedicated Tetra volunteers who give their time and expertise to make assistive devices for people with disabilities in the community. Your contribution will pay for the materials needed to design and build a custom assistive device. Donate now.