Andover to host first Fix-It Clinic

If you need help fixing a household item, or you would like to voluntarily help others, then the Fix-It Clinic May 3 at the Andover YMCA/Community Center would be worth your time.

To help people keep their broken household items instead of throwing them out, Recycling Coordinator Cindy DeRuyter wants to bring this Fix-It Clinic concept that has been successful elsewhere to Andover.

The city of Andover’s recycling coordinator is organizing a new Fix-It Clinic 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 3 at the Andover YMCA/Community Center and needs volunteers who can coach people on repairing their own items. This photo was taken at a similar event in Hennepin County. Courtesy of Hennepin County

The city of Andover’s recycling coordinator is organizing a new Fix-It Clinic 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 3 at the Andover YMCA/Community Center and needs volunteers who can coach people on repairing their own items. This photo was taken at a similar event in Hennepin County. Courtesy of Hennepin County

Volunteers will not repair your item, but coach you on the skills needed to make the repair on your own time. Although there is no guarantee that someone will be there to help you because DeRuyter is still gathering volunteers for this new clinic in Andover.

The event is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 3. If you would like to volunteer or you have more questions, contact DeRuyter at c.deruyter@andovermn,gov

Volunteers are needed who are skilled at fixing items as complex as electronics, motors, circuitry and small appliances or as small as a broken necklace. People skilled at sewing or those who love to tinker with household items are also welcome.

“The Fix-It Clinic can reduce some of what gets thrown into the trash and can teach basic repair skills and build community connections,” DeRuyter said.

DeRuyter got the idea after attending similar clinics in Hennepin County. She also picked the brain of the recycling coordinator for the city of San Francisco, Calif., who is letting her use its Fix-It Clinic logo for the new clinic in Andover.

Nancy Lo, a waste reduction and recycling specialist in Hennepin County, has organized monthly Fix-It Clinics since September 2012 after reading an article in the New York Times about these clinics happening in Amsterdam. She has also heard of clinics in Dakota and Ramsey counties.

The Hennepin County location has changed each month and attendance has range from 40 to 110 people, Lo said.

“It’s very participatory,” Lo said. “The residents feel empowered and it’s really fun for them.”

DeRuyter will only be organizing this one clinic May 3, but said it could return this fall if the community responds well to it.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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