In 1983 Karen Ensminger was looking for something to do when her son started kindergarten. She had known about the recycling program at the Children’s Museum in Boston, which became her model for Ann Arbor’s Scrap Box.
Karen was introduced to Bess Manchester Sternberg who was on the staff of the Child Care Network. They agreed to sponsor The Scrap Box as one of their programs offered to early childhood workers. Soon Bess introduced Karen to Ken Moore, and he became co-director. Neither really knew what they were getting into. At first The Scrap Box was open only on Thursday afternoons for two hours. It was a start—humble though it was.
Two years later The Scrap Box formed its own non-profit organization and moved into a few empty classrooms in the Westside Methodist Church on 7th Street. From there The Scrap Box moved three more times, to finally settle in to our current location in a 9,000 square foot warehouse. After about 10 years, Ken and his wife moved to New Mexico to pursue other dreams, and Karen began to hire others to help develop the program into what it has become today.
Now we have about 11 employees and numerous volunteers. Many different companies from throughout southeast Michigan regularly save scraps. By donating scraps and discards to The Scrap Box businesses them out of the landfill.
Kids of all ages visit for school field trips, scout workshops, birthdays, and just shopping for unique materials to express their creativity.
Hear an interview with our founder.