Last Saturday at Eula Wooten’s home, an experience reminded me why we do the work we do. It began with a young woman energized by the idea of having a birthday party that lasted 8 hours and who was interested in helping her community.
In the beginning of this year Rachel Lee worked to schedule a build day for her upcoming birthday on May 16, 2008. The Habitat GLA staff who worked with Rachel explained what would help: plan ahead and be flexible. Our Programs Department handled Rachel’s group and did a great job of managing expectations and preparing her for an experience on site. (You can find out more about volunteering in large groups at our website.)
Rachel and her 13 party guests arrived with forms in hand and ready to work by 8:05 am. The homeowner, Ms. Wooten, who had been setting tarps around the house, came to the front to greet the group and lead the devotion, as they do in her church, holding hands in a circle. The group helped each other dispense materials and worked safely and diligently throughout the cloudy morning. At break-time a tamale truck filled with pork, cheese, and sweet pineapple tamales re-energized the group. By 11:30 am the first coat of primer had been completed and the group set up a picnic for lunch. Cupcakes made by one of the party guests were stuffed with candles and Rachel, who had been at the top of the eves with an extension ladder all morning, descended to a Happy Birthday song.
After a relaxing lunch, the group - not tied together by anything more than their friendship with Rachel -were discussing future plans and sharing stories. The transition in the home was outstanding. Time spent preparing the home for paint had paid off as rollers and brushes in every hand, facilitated the paint that was beginning to touch most surfaces of the home.
The ending of our day approached but Rachel had two gifts to share. Bringing everyone together, in Ms. Wooten’s tradition of hands grasped in a circle, Rachel asked us to pray. She led the group in prayer giving thanks for the work we completed while blessing the home and lives of the people who worked and lived there. As guests left, Rachel handed over a card with a donation
I wanted to share this experience with staff because of how hard you work to make these moments possible. Thanks for doing everything you do that enables use to better serve the Los Angeles community.
Posted by: Jenny Isaacs
, Coordinator, A Brush with Kindness
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Labels: A Brush With Kindness, birthday giving, charity in lieu of gifts, Habitat for Humanity Greater Los Angeles, helping the community, jenny isaacs, rachel lee