Friday, May 30, 2008

Operation HOPE at the Home Improvement Store

It’s Tuesday morning and the Home Improvement Store opens just like any other day—9:00AM sharp. On this particular day, an empty, open-air truck awaits donated items that will be shipped off to AIDS orphans in Africa. Two missionaries await in the parking filled with glee that their large container will be completely filled with materials suitable for the orphans, who have lost parents to Africa’s leading killer- AIDS. Within an hour the truck is completely full with hospital beds, desks and various tables and chairs all happily donated to Horizon International. It’s just a day like any other at the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles Home Improvement Store.

Though our primary goal is to serve the people of Los Angeles, we know there is a greater need worldwide for items that many people take for granted. All of these materials, spanning from restaurant donors to movie studios were trash for one and treasure for thousands of others.

Horizon International exists to create a world of hope for AIDS orphans. Our objective is to raise up, out of the tragedy of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, a new generation of leaders who follow Jesus Christ ‘one child at a time.’” Horizon International is currently working on projects in Uganda, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Zambia where more than half of the population is under the age of 15. This organization offers medical care, schooling and leadership training to pull these kids out of the trenches and mold them into the future hope for African people.

If you have items you'd like to donate for Horizon International, contact us for more information.

Posted by: Nicki at the Home Improvement Store

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Is Habitat for Humanity in Fashion?

You can imagine how cool we feel when a company like Kenneth Cole says they want to feature our Habitat for Humanity affiliate on their blog. The folks who run the Kenneth Cole blog recently found a photo at the website of one of our volunteers and former publicist, Mary Catherine Hamelin. They asked if she would allow them to run the photo and if she'd send a blog post to accompany it, which of course she did.

This photo is from a pretty special build event back in 2006 at a local elementary school, where students raised enough money to send a home to the Gulf. It was part of Operation Home Delivery, a home-in-a-box program that helped to get the Gulf region back on its feet in the year following Katrina. Since supplies and resources were scarce there, Habitat affiliates from all over the U.S. framed homes and packaged them up and shipped them to the affected areas. Upon arrival, partner families would complete their homes with the help of local volunteers.

Besides being a great way to help residents in the Gulf, the program allowed donors from all over to see and touch what their donations helped build. Pretty cool.

This past week President and Mrs. Carter were in the Gulf area building as part of their annual Carter Work Project. There is still a long way to go in rebuilding what Katrina and Rita took away, but thankfully, we have great volunteers, donors and so much hope!

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Giving Spirit, A Brush with Kindness & Cupcakes

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 check enclosed.

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

Check out other A Brush with Kindness tales:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Habitat Home Store Happenings

Always willing to lend a hand…

Exciting things are happening in the Home Improvement Store! A few months ago we were approached by the Newport Beach Chapter of the American Cancer Society. Their 7th Annual Relay for Life takes place this weekend (May 16-18) at Newport Harbor High School. This three-day event highlights survivors and will be filled with tons of activities! Saturday night you can see Habitat’s representation at the Luminaria ceremony with presentations by the CEO of the American Cancer Society California Division and the incredible story of one cancer survivor. Without hesitation, the Home Improvement Store has donated materials necessary to make the room for this event as comfortable as possible for survivors, family and friends.

All are welcome to the Relay for Life, so if you have time this weekend, pop in, listen to some great bands, meet some awesome people and hear many speak about their will and strength to fight cancer! The Home Improvement Store is a proud sponsor and we’re all looking forward to helping out in the future!

If you have any ideas about how the Home Improvement Store can help your organization, please contact us at (310) 323-HOME.

Posted by: Home Store Nicki

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Annual Fine Art Event in Manhattan Beach Helps Build More Affordable Homes in L.A.

Art/House 2008 is this weekend! Did you know that Beach Cities Friends started with some friends in the South Bay of Los Angeles throwing parties to raise money for our Habitat for Humanity affiliate? Yes, and now 8 years later, they have been one of our most successful partnerships, having sponsored six homes!

The Art/House event is a silent auction that brings together the community to bid on 100% donated works of fine art from major artists and rising stars. Last year's event raised over $60,000 - enough to build 1/2 of a single family Habitat home in Los Angeles! Can you imagine raising that much money in just a few hours and having a great time doing it?

If this sounds good, follow the lead of the Beach Cities Friends and bring your friends together to raise money for a cause or organization that is important to you! If you wish to work with Habitat for Humanity, contact us and we'll even attend your event to talk about how we operate and how you all can help.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Upcoming Habitat GLA Events - Save the Dates!

  • Beach Cities Friends & Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles proudly present Art House 2008, Sat. May 10, 6:30 – 10 pm, over 50 beautiful works of art by world renowned artist, live music, food, drink. All to benefit HFH GLA. Free admission. RSVP Required, contact Christa Reiff for info 310-323-4663 ext. 124
  • Join HFH GLA, Volunteers, Sponsors and Partner Families for a Habitat Block Party to celebrate our newest homeowners. Saturday, June 7 at Vermont Village, 11120 S. Vermont Ave. at 112th Street and Saturday, June 21 at Harborside Terrace, 308 N. Palos Verdes Ave. at O’Farrell in San Pedro. Entertainment, Food, Fun, 10 am – 3 pm. RSVP required, contact Janell McKane, 310-323-4663 ext. 129

The Housing Center for Excellence Training Days:

  • Cornerstone Training: A 14 unit training that will teach construction skills needed on our sites. Held Saturday mornings 9 am - noon and Wednesday nights 6-9 pm. Training will start on Saturday May 17 and go through Wednesday, July 2. To receive the certificate of completion for the training, participants must attend at least 11 of the 14 training sessions. This is the first Cornerstone course, space is very limited.
  • Crew Leader Training: A four week training course from 6-9pm on Tuesday nights, May 27th to June 20th. The Crew Leader training will focus on understanding Habitat procedures and how to lead teams of volunteers. No skills assessment will be needed, but participants should have basic construction skills and have previous experience on a Habitat site as a volunteer. Participants should commit to all four training sessions. Space is very limited for the Crew Leader training.
    RSVP today to Deborah Lewis, ext. 119

Coming Up:

  • 15th Annual Fannie Mae Golf Tournament to Benefit Habitat GLA: August 28 & 29 in beautful Dana Point. Golf, Silent Auction and Gala with live entertainment. Please contact Jo-An Turman at 310-323-4662 ext. 121 to register.
  • Don’t miss our “Building a Greater Los Angeles” Gala, Wednesday, October 1, 2008, Beverly Hilton Hotel. Call Jo-An for more information & tickets, ext. 121

Visit our site for all upcoming event listings.