Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Another Thrivent Home is Underway in Lynwood

Last week we celebrated the beginning of another Habitat for Humanity home in the City of Lynwood with new homeowner Yadira Luna and her son Joseph.  Yadira’s home was made possible through a partnership with Thrivent Financial and a coalition of 20 Lutheran Churches from across greater Los Angeles.

Thrivent Financial is a Fortune 500 financial services member organization, and the longest servicing sponsor of Habitat for Humanity. This is the 7th Thrivent Builds® home for us here in greater Los Angeles, however Thrivent members and Lutheran volunteers have sponsored and built over 1,600 Habitat for Humanity homes around the world over the last 7 years! 

[Insert cheers and applause here.]

They have given more than 160 million dollars and countless volunteer hours to support Habitat for Humanity and it is an honor to be building with them again. 

This is the 17th newly constructed Habitat home in the City of Lynwood and Yadira’s home, like all Habitat for Humanity homes, will be built with love from all the volunteers who will help construct it over the next several months. 

We are excited to be building this family’s future alongside our amazing friends from Thrivent and look forward to our next celebration come December, when Yadira and Joseph receive the keys to their beautiful new home.  A home that they will have helped to build with some amazing, dedicated volunteers.

I’d like to thank Mayor Jim Morton of Lynwood and Council Member Maria Teresa Santillan-Bass for helping us celebrate our first day of construction.  We would also like to extend special thanks to Geoff Delahanty, Sarah Auernhammer and Lisa Hill from Thrivent for your hands and hearts.

ReStore Volunteer Spotlight: Roxley Pratt

Our volunteers mean everything to us so we always love to shine a spotlight on them here. Gardena ReStore volunteer Roxley Pratt has a unique story and heartfelt commitment to service so, in honor of Roxley's last day today, we thought we'd share his story with the world he makes so much better every day.

In 1998, 20 year old Roxley and his family fled Sierra Leone, West Africa for the United States to escape the country's civil war. His family of five - including his mother, father, sister, and brother - had never left Sierra Leone before the war. The family boarded the African Queen, which had a capacity of approximately 170, along with 750 refugees for a four day journey. They encountered one of the worst storms in years and Roxley says it is because of the grace of God that they did not sink or die aboard, and despite the conditions he was glad his family was together for the journey. After spending a mere year in Gambia the family received visas to enter the US, a process which normally takes 3 to 4 years. 

The family arrived in Los Angeles in 1999.  Roxley came to the United States with a high school degree and an accounting certificate, but decided to pursue his love for the military and service and joined the Marine Corps. He served for six years, spending most of that time in Iraq engaged in active combat, and he became a corporal. 

Looking back on this time, Roxley said "you cannot ever be prepared or trained for real war...those experiences change your life forever...whatever you had planned will be a totally different experience, a very different life."

After his tour Roxley joined the reserves and enrolled in college at Western Michigan University, and graduated in 2007 with a BBA in Management and a minor in Finance. He currently has a desire to pursue an acting career and a law degree, but first wants to re-enlist in the Army; He loves being a member of the military.

Roxley came upon hard times in California after college; he was homeless until the U.S. Vets helped him find an affordable rental. While attending a job fair at Paramount Studios, he visited the Habitat booth and decided to join The Mission Continues fellowship program that week. The Mission Continues offered Roxley a Post 911 Veteran fellowship, and he was able to choose a non-profit with which to work.

In January 2012 Roxley chose our Restore here in Gardena.  He worked in the ReStore itself until recently, when he began working in the office registering, organizing, and coordinating ReStore volunteers. Roxley says he learned a lot about Habitat for Humanity and even about recycling and reuse.

Today is Roxley's last day with us (for now). He plans on enlisting in the Army,  joining the police reserves and he also hopes to take the LSAT and attend law school in the next couple of years along with pursing his acting dream. (Watch the video below and you'll agree he belongs in front of a camera!)  Thanks for your service, your dedication and your smile, Roxley!  Please come back anytime.

Related Posts:
Habitat for Heroes Program Kickoff with The Home Depot Foundation
Preparing for a Royal Visit at the "Hiring Our Heroes" Veterans Job Fair in Los Angeles
Restore in Gardena Provides Drop Off Location for Electronics to be Recycled

Friday, June 22, 2012

Our Lives Have Been Changed Through Homeownership

Guest Blog by Alisha Hicks, HFH GLA homeowner who purchased NSP-funded home

I am extremely grateful and glad that I was able to partner with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles (HFH GLA) and purchase one of their Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) homes. It truly has changed my life, as well as my son's!

Before qualifying for a HFH GLA home in October of 2010, my son and I shared a small one bedroom apartment. It had bad plumbing, chipping paint on the interior and, most importantly, it was too small to accommodate my growing son and I.

Now that I have my own home, I finally have peace for my family. I am so happy that my son and I finally have a place to call our own. My son is so bright and finally has the space to excel even further.

Being a homeowner has warmed my heart and given me a positive outlook, which I can pass down to my son.

Related Posts:
NSP Update from Erin Rank
Habitat for Heroes
NSP Provides Stabilizing Foundation

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Neighborhood Stabilization Program Provides Stabilizing Foundation

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles (HFH GLA) was one of seven Habitat for Humanity affiliates to receive Neighborhood Stabilization funding back in 2009 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. With this funding, HFH GLA is acquiring foreclosed and vacant properties and rehabilitating them into decent, sustainable and affordable homes. 

Amanda Jordan is a HFH GLA homeowner who purchased one of our NSP-funded homes. She recently blogged about how owning her own home has changed her life on Habitat for Humanity International's blog, which you can check out here.

Related Posts:
Habitat for Humanity Continues Building a Greater L.A. with NSP2 
NSP2 Update from Erin Rank 
How to Apply for Homeownership with NSP2 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

James Lesure of TBS' Men at Work Builds a Habitat for Humanity Home in Lynwood

Our Hollywood for Habitat for Humanity division is delighted when members of the Entertainment Community come out to build with us on our build sites.  We were delighted to have actor James Lesure (TBS’ Men at Work) build with us in the City of Lynwood, alongside a couple of his family members. came out and posted this interview with James: 

We invite and encourage more of our Hollywood friends to come out and build with us – anytime! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Yo Gabba Gabba Room Reveal!

Guest blog post by: Holly Westhoff. This post originally appeared on Holly's blog, Adventures of an Almost 40 Year Old Intern. 

I am so excited to reveal the Yo Gabba Gabba kids room I created for Wildbrain and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles.   The contest winner was a single mom who has 3 kids - a boy age 11, a girl who is 7 and another who is 2.  Up until a few months ago this entire family of 4 was sharing one bed in one room the mother rented in a house filled with lots of other people.  The mother is a driven gal who worked really hard to get a Habitat for Humanity home for her family and did it!

I wanted to share some of the overall room photos with you in this post and then in the coming days I will be posting about each of the DIY projects separately so you can get the full download.   And there were lots of them!  Aside from the Yo Gabba Gabba toddler bedding, beds and the toys and books (available at your local Walmart store!), everything else in the room was a DIY project anyone can recreate in their own home. 

The bedroom I made over is being shared by the two young girls.  I was told by their mom that pink is their favorite color.  I wanted to be sure to create something that lasted years for them and didn't feel in any way like a baby's room.  After all, there is a 7 year old living in this room and she's almost a tween!  So, I kept that goal in mind every single step of the way... from choosing the pattern we painted on the wall, creating the designs on the re-purposed vintage furniture, picking the fabric for the curtains and comforter on the twin bed and creating the groovy art adorning the walls.

Over the last month I have been working on all of the projects packed into this room.  I painted the rug, painted and decoupaged several pieces of vintage furniture, created custom art, curtains, made throw pillows, pom poms, a comforter cover... My friend Alison helped with all of the sewn items in the room and I am so grateful for her as I could never have done it as quickly or as well on my own! And then this week I had a team of volunteers helping me paint the room, assemble the beds, and work on a couple of last minute projects.  I couldn't have done it without their help and am so very grateful that all four of them arrived at the house with a positive attitude and a can do spirit that stuck with them throughout our 14 hour (yikes!!!) day!  I had never met any of the volunteers before we worked on this project and just enjoyed every moment of working with them.  All 4 of them work on the Yo Gabba Gabba show... three of them are stars/dancers/characters (David, Nicole and Anna) and one (Hanh) works in the paint/set department (and boy, was I grateful for her help during the whole painting process!!).   We were given one day (I thought they were kidding when they cut my originally promised 2 days down to one!) to pull it all together and I am happy to say we did it!

It was a lot of work and a long day but seeing the big smiles on the kid's faces and tears of joy in their mom's eyes when we showed them what we did really made it all worthwhile.  Because that is truly what this project was all about!  Oh, and I received the ultimate compliment from her 11 year old son when he saw the decoupaged shelf unit I created.  He said "man, that's tight!" 

The next morning the mom told me that her girls were so excited to sleep in their new beds (a first for the 2 year old!) and the 7 year old even made both of their beds when they woke up!  She loves it so much she wants to try to keep the room as it was and can't wait to invite friends over to see it.  Oh, and their older brother, who once thought he was too cool for Yo Gabba Gabba?  Well, he now has some of the cool gear in his room too!

A GREAT BIG THANK YOU to the folks that were so kind to donate their products for the creation of this room!

Behr Paint - How fab of a color is POETIC PRINCESS?! The girls love pink and this shade delivered!

Frog Tape - The ultimate tape for any DIYer if you want great results when painting a cool design on your wall!

Color Services Photo Lab -  See those big Hipstamatic photos above each bed??? I emailed photos taken on my Iphone and these guys printed them to 30" x 30" and did an AMAZING job!

Blick Art Materials - The guys at the Beverly Blvd store were kind enough to dry-mount the wall photos for me! They rock and if you live in LA, I highly recommend you visit their store on Beverly Blvd!

Hoffman Fabrics-  The curtains and twin bedding you see in the photos were made using fabric by Hoffman Fabrics.  It is their Gabba pink design.  Such a great pattern for a kid of any age!

Vecco - The makers of the round painted rug I created for the girls.  It's a new painted rug kit. Who knew??

Celebrate Express  and Amscan provided the hundreds of stickers used in my extreme decoupaging projects

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles ReStore - They have all sorts of cool stuff in their stores and donated the cute wicker dresser I used in the room

And ANOTHER BIG THANK YOU  to those that helped me so much in bringing this together!

My friend Alison was responsible for breaking out her machine and sewing the curtains, duvet and pillows with me and her daughter Maddy pitched in as well.  Amy at Mod Podge Rocks was great about giving me technical directions on how to decoupage my furniture with stickers as I had never done it before! And Hanh, David, Nicole, and Anna, my new Yo Gabba Gabba family friends, who taped and painted and assembled furniture on installation day and did so much more working nonstop for hours and hours (14 to be exact!) with the best attitude and sense of fun!  David provided the music for the day and he was a great deejay with his eclectic playlist which made time fly! And thank you to Sabrina, Kelly, Allie, and Erin and the other folks at Wildbrain for asking me to be involved in the first place and providing me with all the fabulous Yo Gabba Gabba products used to fill the room! And to Jo-An at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles great big thanks for all your help in coordinating this with the winning family!

Stay tuned for the first round of Yo Gabba Gabba DIY instructions tomorrow!

For those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and if you didn't already know... I created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the formerly almost 40 year old intern

Related Posts:

Friday, June 1, 2012

Martha Peralta Describes Becoming a Habitat for Humanity Homeowner (en Espanol)

Una nueva asociada del programa para comprar vivienda, Martha Peralta, describe su experiencia de cuando aplico y fue seleccionada como candidata para comprar casa en colaboración con Habitat for Humanity. Aquí le presentamos a Martha, enfrente de su jardín de su futuro hogar, contándonos su historia.


English translation: 
New partner homeowner, Martha Peralta, describes what it was like to apply and ultimately be selected to purchase a home in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Here is Martha standing in the front yard of her future home telling her story.