Seniors Run


Volunteer Workshop

to Benefit Community Neighbors

Started 15 years ago at the request of Salemtowne resident Jim Forkner, the wood shop at Salemtowne, a Winston-Salem retirement community, has evolved into a fully functioning, resident-run social enterprise. 

Salemtowne focuses on creating an engaging environment for older adults seeking healthy, active and independent lives, and the wood shop is one such effort.

Five residents maintain regular schedules in the shop, manufacturing everything from bowls and chess sets to small tables, fixing neighbors’ wooden walking canes, and repairing or replacing furniture legs around the community. Recently, the wood shop volunteers constructed a set of wooden stairs for Salemtowne’s physical therapy department to help residents rehabilitate after surgery or injury.

The volunteer initiative continues to grow, expanding twice in just the last year. Salemtowne recently added a dust-collection system to further enhance operations at the woodshop.

Many of the items crafted at the wood shop are sold in Salemtowne’s gift shop, with profits directly funding the residents’ council, a group that allocates money to improve on-site resources and enrichment like the library, music programs and the woodworking shop itself.

Former Winston-Salem-Forsyth County planning director Jim Yarbrough moved to Salemtowne in 2014 and quickly took up shifts in the wood shop. Yarbrough specializes in woodturning, creating bowls, boxes, pizza cutter handles, and letter openers, often with wood from river birch and ambrosia maple trees that were cut on the Salemtowne grounds.

“It is inspiring to have such talented artisans at Salemtowne,” says President and CEO Mark Steele. “It is truly a partnership that allows residents to pursue their passion while at the same time benefiting the larger Salemtowne community.”

Salemtowne is a nonprofit continuing care retirement community that promotes the well-being of its residents by providing a caring environment. It is an ecumenical community that reflects the Moravian values of individual respect, hospitality, lifelong learning, and love of the arts. For more information, please contact Nikki Burris at


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