Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Adopt a Habitat for Humanity Partner Family for the Holidays

Looking for a way to give back this holiday season?  Join us as we provide 57 deserving families (that's over 150 children) with a holiday they will never forget.
Your contribution of $250 or more will sponsor one of our Habitat partner families, however any amount will help. Whatever amount you pledge we will see to it that our partner families and their children will experience the blessings and magic of the holidays. 

Your contribution will become a gift that someone can unwrap with their families.


·      Adopt a child, a family or more with contributions starting at just $50. Click here to donate now!
·      Contribute a monetary donation of any amount or a gift card to your favorite store to support the Adopt a Family for the Holidays. Click here to donate now!
·      Volunteer your time by either wrapping gifts or delivering gifts.  Email Magna Bahm to volunteer.

Sign up to adopt a family and pledge your contribution today. Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cornerstone Graduates Put New Skills to Use

On Friday and Saturday, November 12th and 13th, recent Cornerstone grads Emmy Davis, Gabby Sanchez, Eric Jung and Danny Olmos along with Crew Leader grads Toni Pearson and Joung-Yi Han joined instructors Marty Greenberger and Sue Hunt at the Imperial site in Lynwood, Ca. USC Real Estate student, Eric Thoreen worked with the team on Friday.

They were there for a working class on how to install kitchen cabinets. In the two days, the cabinets in three kitchens and three bathrooms were installed. Usually, on a good day, a team of four can barely finish one kitchen. This 50% increase in production is a sure sign that Cornerstone skills make a difference!

See the finished product in the picture below. For this project we recycled by using the cardboard packaging from the cabinets to protect the tile floor. Countertops to come!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cornerstone Training Builds Confidence

Guest Blog by Cornerstone Graduate: Kenia Perez

When I signed up for the Cornerstone Training class, it seemed some people were interested in knowing why I did it before thinking it was a good idea. (Ok, to be fair, they were probably thinking, "Geez, she's already crazy busy! Why is she packing more into her schedule?') My line of thinking in response was, "Well, why does anyone want to do anything?" But, rather than say that I actually did have a few good reasons to give them:

1. I'm not your typical girl. Ok sure, I like to dress up and I like sparkly things. But, in my book sparkly things that make me go "OOooo" extend the whole spectrum from shiny purses to tools. I've got the DIY-tendencies personality, so wanting to take this course was a "duhism" for me.

2. I wanted to volunteer. Being who I am (see point #1), I'd always wanted to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. I thought about how awesome it would be to work with my hands after a week of sitting at a desk, with the added bonus of helping families. Problem was, while I was familiar with basic car work, I'd never done any house work before. That leads me to point #3.

3. I wanted to learn. And boy did I learn. The extent of my nailing experience before this was limited to hanging up picture frames. It was immediately apparent that I seriously needed to improve my hammering skills! Luckily, everyone there was extremely helpful & supportive. Being in such a positive learning environment, I got the hammering down by the second night - and that was just the beginning. Over the next seven weeks, I learned more than I knew what to do with.

I now feel like I have a solid foundation to be able to march over to any site and make a difference. Cornerstone training gave me that confidence, and that, in itself, is reason enough for me.

Read more blogs about Cornerstone Training here and here .

The Process of Becoming a Skilled Volunteer through Cornerstone Training

Guest blog by Cornerstone Graduate: Kenneth Tan

I first heard about Habitat for Humanity on a volunteer site. I tried to sign up for some of their volunteer opportunities, but Saturdays were almost always full unless you were a 'skilled' volunteer. I figured that if I wanted to build, it would be smart to become classified as a 'skilled' volunteer. So, I signed up for the Cornerstone Training to build my set of skills.

When I first saw our instructor, Jay's, training video, I was a bit apprehensive. In the video he is in shorts, working in his garage, all while filming an instruction video on construction. Hmmmmm...

Then came the first day of class. I was looking forward (NOT!) to meeting Jay. Actually, in all honesty, I was a bit scared. I always thought construction guys were rough and rugged, but this guy was nice and so were the rest of the people there. The instructors were always available for questions, or just for support. Students ranged from novices to some who already had construction experience. Everyone was so driven that nobody wanted to put their hammers down. The instructors had to force us to take breaks.

Two days a week, for seven weeks - we toiled and we sweat while building mini-houses. Each day, I learned something new and became more confident in my skills. It was quite an accomplishment to see the four walls (technically, three) go up.

At the end of the seven week training I had mixed feelings. Part of me was relieved that it was over and that I no longer had to drive an hour each night to attend class. But, part of me was also sad that it was over. I met some really nice people that have inspired me to do more.

I highly encourage Habitat volunteers to attend the training as it adds value to your time while working onsite.  Plus, you will get to volunteer more often on Saturdays!

Read another blog by a Cornerstone Graduate here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

One Power Woman Describes how Sore Muscles Filled her Heart

Guest blogger: Joanna Cabrera, Power Woman!

As I woke up on June 13th, I started to feel the soreness in my arms.  Yet, I felt great.
Being able to attend the Power Women, Power Tools build was an awesome experience for me.  I was glad that my mentor, Melanie Cook, had invited me to the event.  At first, I was a bit nervous about going.  I have no experience in building whatsoever, so I wondered what I might be able to do.  Once I arrived and saw everyone working, my worries went away.  I thought to myself that if other people were able to contribute something to the build, I could also find something to do, even if it were a small thing. Along with Melanie, I helped cover the outside part of the house boards.  Although it was a smaller task than the rest, it was quite difficult.  However, I had a great time.  I enjoy working with Melanie.  At the end of the day, I felt great knowing I contributed to the building of those houses.  

Read more blog posts:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Habitat for Humanity's Cornerstone Training Gives DIYers the Skills to Give Back

Guest blog by Cornerstone Graduate Charles "Chip" James:

Charles "Chip" James at Cornerstone Graduation Nov. 2010
I have done quite a few DIY projects over the years: installing dry wall; sanding/refinishing hardwood flooring; installing electrical outlets; installing a kitchen sink, bathroom sink, and toilet. So when I signed up for Cornerstone Training, I figured I had a pretty solid foundation to build upon.

I figured wrong.

I learned a lot at that funky warehouse: I learned that I hammered like a girl (profound apologies to women everywhere). I learned that there are (at least) two different types of hammers. I learned that men actually do have a weird thing for power-tools (they're awesome). And most importantly, I learned that the type of people who volunteer with Habitat for Humanity are fun-loving, big-hearted and exceptionally attractive. 

What more could you ask for? Great people, great education, and great fun.

Do it. Now.

Visit our website to learn more about Cornerstone Training and Volunteer opportunities.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Want to Win an iPad and $1,000 for Habitat for Humanity of Greater L.A.?!

At Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles we are blessed with many dedicated volunteers . Every Tuesday through Saturday individuals, families and organizations volunteer their time on our job sites, in our ReStores and in our offices. Now through November 26th all of you, our passionate volunteers, have an opportunity to win an iPad for yourselves and $1,000 for us. All you have to do is make a quick video about what you are thankful for and how you say thanks by giving back to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles.

It's called the Infinity Auto Always Thankful Contest. Here's how it works:

1. "Like" Infinity Auto on facebook
2. Register for the Always Thankful Contest  on their facebook page
3. Record a video about what you're thankful for & how you give back to HFH GLA
4. Go to their facebook page and upload your video before 11/26
5. Vote! Vote for other videos & invite friends and family to vote for yours.

1st prize wins an iPad and a $1,000 donated to their selected charity. 2nd prize wins a $400 Target gift card. And every week Infinity will give away one $300 Target gift card.

Be sure to let us know if you upload a video, so we can vote!

Check out this video explaining the contest :

Check out this adorable video that a little girl and her dad entered:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Patty Lee, Faith & Stewardship Manager, Honored

Patty Lee, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles' Faith & Stewardship Manager, was honored this past Sunday at the 32nd Annual South Coast Interfaith Council Festival of Music Benefit Concert.

For over six years, Patty has been dedicated to making homeownership possible for low-income, hardworking families and individuals in partnership with faith communities all over greater Los Angeles. As our Faith & Stewardship Manager, she has created and coordinated some of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles' most special and successful events, as well as cultivated many meaningful relationships. Most recently, she worked tirelessly with members of the South Coast Interfaith Council to implement an Interfaith Build Day where over two dozen volunteers of diverse faiths came together to help build a home at one of our Long Beach job sites.

Soon Patty will be transitioning to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles' Entertainment, Marketing & Communications Department, where she will serve as the new Manager of Special Events. There is no doubt that she will use her years of experience, signature enthusiasm and creative spirit, to make a big impact in her new role.

At Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles we like to say that, "We build hope, lives and communities." Patty Lee is a person that truly embodies this statement. Congratulations, Patty!

From left to right: Patty giving her acceptance speech and posing with Milia Islam-Majeed, SCIC Executive Director 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Volunteer Spotlight on Jay Alan Cutler

Jay Alan Cutler started volunteering with us several days a week back in 1998. He advanced to become a Crew Leader in 1999 and a House Leader in 2003. In 2005, he built his own home with the help of fellow Habitat GLA volunteers. His wife Karen and children recently moved across the street from their home and plan on building another one in the next few months. Since 2008, Jay has also served in a volunteer position as one of the Instructors for the Cornerstone and Crew Leader Training Programs.

Jay says, “I find volunteering for HFH to be extremely fulfilling. Being retired, there is no better socially rewarding or beneficial use of my time than to use my construction skills for the betterment of those who need a hand up…There is nothing like building a home from the ground up and working with other like-minded people who want to give back to the community. It seems like I learn something new every time I volunteer.” 

Thank you Jay for your service and spirit...we truly appreciate your commitment to our mission!