Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lowe's Women Put Their Construction Expertise to Work in the Community

Guest blog post contributed by: Rose Rozich, District Manager for Lowe's

I’m Rose Rozich, District Manager for Lowe’s. On Saturday 6/18 I had the opportunity to volunteer during the Lowe’s Power Women, Power Tools build and help my fellow Lowe’s volunteers from the surrounding area show the true meaning of girl power as we stood up for affordable housing and helped build homes for Burbank families! It was truly fun and hard work at the same time. It was all worth it as I listened to the partner homeowners speak about how lucky and thankful they are that they were chosen out of 800 other applicants.   

Lowe’s knows that women have the capability and determination necessary to raise their hammers and build homes for Habitat. That is why we are the underwriter of Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build. Through the Women Build program we recruit, educate and empower women with key skills that are not only helpful when working on Habitat sites, but that can be applied in everyday life and in future community projects. We’re so proud of the many homes we’ve built since we started Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build in 2005. We are confident that the homes we build all over the country are a concrete solution to combat substandard housing issues and advocate for safe, decent and affordable homes for all.
And our dedication doesn’t end here today. We’ve been working in neighborhoods throughout the LA area for years and we’ll continue to be here for years to come. We’ve been partnering with Habitat since 2004 and we recently extended our commitment to Habitat through 2013, to bring our total contribution to more than $40 million. So you’ll continue to see Lowe’s Heroes in your community – we aren’t going anywhere!!! We’re committed to this community and to building affordable housing for the residents of Burbank and the surrounding LA area.

We’ll be here because we know that although being a good community neighbor means providing the funds to make big things in this community, it’s just as important to provide the man power – the WOMAN power - to bring a Habitat home from concept to reality and to revitalize a community.

So we’ll continue lifting our hammers, providing our expertise and empowering women on Habitat sites across the country. It’s what we do best, it’s the right thing to do and it’s what we love to do - to support families in the communities where we live and work.

Thank you for all for being part of this event and for helping us build a solution to affordable housing for the citizens of Burbank and families all across the country. The collective work of Lowe’s and Habitat will continue to have a ripple effect across the country thanks to your dedication and hours of support.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Habitat for Humanity Homeowners & Volunteers Learn That It Takes a Village

Guest blog post contributed by: Shannon Pruitt of http://mynewfavoriteday.com

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." ~Anne Frank

 "It takes a Village".  Such a beautiful and simple concept, yet even as I type the words there is a current of power that comes through them into my heart.  From humble beginnings as an African proverb, it has now been further repopulated by notable community members and global leaders such as Hillary Clinton, Malaak Compton - Rock (yes, Chris Rock's wife but a massive force in the advocacy world with a bestselling book called, "If it Takes a Village, Build One", who takes the concept beyond that of raising a child, to raising our global community.  

On a local level, I was recently able to experience this theory in practice, as I had the honor of working on a build site for local  Habitat for Humanity of Greater L.A. families who are in the mid-stages of literally building a community housing development.  This was not my first Habitat for Humanity build, as my husband and I did a build in South Africa in 2007, which was a life-changing experience for me. 

In Habitat, there is a saying that "As the walls go up, walls come down" and this could not be more true. One of the fundamental principles of Habitat for Humanity is that the opportunity to receive a home is not a handout.  Homeowners must both put in 500 hours of "Sweat Equity," as well as repay a no-interest Home Loan.  To give you an idea of the magnitude of the number of  homes that are being built, "a home is finished EVERY 5 minutes" and Habitat has become the largest private home builder in the US.  That means that each of those families has put in 500 hours of labor to help finish their home and when you think of the socio-economic level of the folks receiving and therefore building - not working at their actual job is not an option.  So, clearly the experience of bringing the dream of homeownership to life is definitely a family affair and the message that this sends is universal, we all have to work together and helping your neighbor is an amazing start.

When my husband, KSP, and I went to Africa, we worked in shanty town just outside Capetown.  The roads were dirt and existing homes were made of tarps, wood scraps and corrugated aluminum for the roof.  To say the people were impoverished would not begin to communicate their circumstances.  Yet, as we worked along side our homeowner and his brothers so that he could build a house for his children to come visit, I learned an immense amount about humanity, compassion, fortitude, and love.  Over the course of 5 days, we mixed cement for mortar, made human brick chains to pass the cinderblocks that would be the walls, created window and door frames, scaled walls to attach the wood and tiled roof, and made a door through which this family could pass through everyday into their new home. Words could not properly communicate how much this experience was a gift for my soul and my walls must have come tumbling down because I spent the entire dedication ceremony to our homeowner in tears to which his response was to look me in the eyes, wipe my tears and say thank you.

Between now and then I have done a few more builds locally and Habitat for Humanity of Greater L.A.'s  Lowe's Power Women Power Tools build was special in that again the Homeowners were building with us. I watched in awe as I was on grouting duty with my new wonderful friends as we laid and secured a brick BBQ patio, and the 19 year old daughter of one of the homeowners came swooping into our wheel barrow of mortar and took a huge shovel full and walked it back to where she was working on the other part of the patio.  As I watched her I thought about just how proud her mother (who I later found out is a single mother of 2 girls) must be. Coincidentally, later that day during the lunch break, I ended up sitting with this particular homeowner. She told us about the various families that were out building today and how a few of them were single mothers. Since you have to be 16 to be on the build site, it's very challenging for the mothers with younger children. Especially because their children cannot be on the site and they must work during the week to put food on the table. My fellow volunteers and I asked her various questions and then she told us that because a few of the families had older children who were able to work on the weekdays to put labor hours toward the family's mandatory hours (like her own), when the weekend hours came and the mothers of these older children could work on the site, the children (16 and above) would donate their hours worked on the weekends to the families with small children.  I mean, seriously, how amazing is that?  It is an ultimate gift and demonstration of taking care of your neighbors. She went on to joke about how sad they were that the walls were going up in the townhome style homes because then they wouldn't all be together anymore.  As I sat there and listened to her, it reminded me how amazing the human spirit can be when we give back to others and how meaningful and inspiring it can be for the rest of us to make even small changes or take a small step to help someone we love or a complete stranger, if only for a day.  This community of people is a small village that is raising one another's children and one another.  The ripple effect of their love and kindness enveloped all of us who came in for the day and left many of us wanting to do more.

Malaak Compton-Rock's book is titled,"If it Takes a Village, Build One."  To me this means, you can start in any small way through volunteering for an afternoon or a day. Helping your neighbor will make you feel inspired and the ripple effect of these efforts extend far beyond what you will know as the inspiration is viral.  So make today 'yournewfavoriteday' and do something small to help, "It takes a Village" and we can all do our part.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Hollywood for Habitat for Humanity Build-A-Thon: Day 5

It is hard to believe that Day 5 of our Hollywood for Habitat for Humanity Build-A-Thon is coming to a close. Today, we had David Arquette brave the June gloom and morning drizzle to come out and help put up siding. During our lunch program, volunteers also got to hear from Robbie Damiani, a partner family member who is currently studying civil engineering at UC Irvine, and Marci Johnson, a single mother who never thought homeownership would be possible. Check out the video highlights below!

Related Posts:
Day 1 of HFHFH Build-A-Thon: Executive Build Day
Hollywood for Habitat for Humanity Build-A-Thon: Day 4
What the Burbank Wall Raising Means to a Family Who'll Live There

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hollywood for Habitat for Humanity Build-A-Thon: Day 4

The progress on the eight affordable and sustainable homes that we are building is incredible thanks to our sponsors, as well as the wonderful volunteers who have been coming out to support our Hollywood for Habitat for Humanity Build-A-Thon. Today's highlights were many, but included; hearing from partner homeowner Sandra Leiva, working alongside the very dedicated Cynthia Kirchner and participating in a Lowe's cheer at lunch!

Check out the video highlights below!

Related Posts:
Day 1 of HFHFH Build-A-Thon: Executive Build Day
What the Burbank Wall Raising Means to a Family Who'll Live There
Lending a Hand Up to All Those in Need is Part of our Mission

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day 1 of HFHFH Build-A-Thon: Executive Build Day

Today we kicked off our Hollywood for Habitat for Humanity Build-A-Thon with our Executive Build Day. Our hosts, who were hard at work framing, siding and drywalling alongside other top executives and Habitat partner families, included; Craig Russell, Chief Design and Project Delivery Exec., Walt Disney Imagineering; Matt Petersen, President and CEO of Global Green; Mike Lang, CEO Miramax; and Randall Wallace, Writer, Producer and President of Wallace Entertainment.

We can't wait for the rest of the week, all of which would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors: Lowes, Bernards, Celebrating Home, The Walt Disney Company, Bank of America, Union Bank, Burbank Housing Corp., Burbank Redevelopment Agency and the CA. Department of Housing and Community Development.

Check out some video and photos from the day!

Tia Carrere and Josh Atayde

Randall Wallace

Christina Trinh

Thank You Sponsors!
Erin Rank
Tia Carrere
Executive Build Hosts
Burbank Partner Homeowners

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Deconstructing with Ed
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It's Only Rock N Roll But I Like It

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Art House: Building Hope Through Art

Our dedicated board member and friend, Cheryl Perkey, did it again.  Cheryl put together a wonderful fundraiser for us that was a feast for all the senses.   Art House: Building Hope Through Art was held last Wednesday night at the Santa Monica Art Studios.  We had fabulous food, wine and most impressive, donated works of art that were amazing!

Cheryl curated the event herself and with the help of our own Patty Lee, the evening was first class.  The art was diverse and interesting, and included a unique work by Regina Wyatt, an AmeriCorps member who gives so much to our affiliate every day.  Thank you, Regina for your gift.
Cityscape 4 - Markets by Regina Wyatt
A highlight for me was listening to LuLu Reyes speak to the audience.  LuLu has been a partner homeowner with us since 2005 and when she speaks, there’s never a dry eye in the room. This night was no exception.  LuLu is a true inspiration and one of my favorite “Power Women”.

To all the art lovers and supporters who bid on the artwork, thank YOU!  Because of you, we are able to keep working to meet our goal of completing six homes per month.  We are building more than ever and it’s events like Art House and people like Cheryl, Regina and LuLu who truly help us make a big difference. 

A special thanks to all the amazing artists who donated their beautiful work to support our mission.  You can check out all the artwork that was donated for auction here

Here are some photos from the event and the video below captures LuLu's very special words shared at the event.

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