The Shop Rat Foundation is a Michigan-based initiative to bring manufacturing and hands-on skilled trades training to middle-school students. Its efforts extend beyond Michigan's borders, and the Shop Rat classes & events are creative and effective. More background, from the ShopRat.org site:
An Alabama-based chapter of Shop Rats
In Fall of 2006 the Shop Rat Foundation began its first program to pursue its mission called the Shop Rat Education Program. The Shop Rat Education Program is an afterschool private program for local Middle School Students. During the program the students learn Hands-on skills in the Skilled Trade Industry along with skill sets in math, science, team work, work ethic and employability. Students complete projects such as custom built motorcycle choppers, customized wheelchairs and full size two seat hovercrafts. Classes are free to students and the program is funded with donations, sponsorships and personal contributions.
Whether you choose to donate or not, pay these guys a visit online and give 'em some encouragement. A noble cause, this.