Shirley, 59, is the primary caregiver for her 16-year-old daughter, Alyssa, who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. They sought help from Rebuilding Together Sacramento because their home lacked the proper safety modifications that could allow Alyssa to move around freely.
Rebuilding Together Sacramento volunteers installed several grab bars in their bathroom’s shower area. They also built a new ramp that leads from the backdoor to the backyard. Alyssa can now safely leave her home and enjoy her family’s backyard. Volunteers installed parallel bars in the backyard so Alyssa could safely walk up and down the entire length of the yard. Another ramp was installed from the family’s garage to their car.
Shirley told the volunteers, “The ramps are the greatest gifts.” She was also very pleased that her daughter can now exercise outside thanks to the parallel bars.
Rebuilding Together Omaha helped Beverly, 76, continue to age in place in her home, which she has lived in for 20 years.
Housing and poverty have become serious problems in Beverly’s Omaha neighborhood. Beverly, a soft spoken and quiet woman, applied to Rebuilding Together Omaha looking for home repairs that would make her home more accessible.
Volunteers replaced Beverly’s claw foot tub with a more accessible one. They also installed grab bars and a new showerhead. Members of the National Association of The Remodeling Industry (NARI) also repaired the front and back porches of her home, installing a stoop and handrails. Contractors repaired Beverly’s roof as well.
After the renovations were done, Beverly told the volunteers, “Thanks for helping me.”
Rebuilding Together Greater Milwaukee helped Fred and Wilma transform their house into a safe and healthy home.
Fred and Wilma have lived in their home for nearly 40 years. It’s where they raised their five children and now care for their six grandchildren. These retirees live on a fixed income and staying in their home as they age has become increasingly difficult.
Their one bathroom only had a claw foot tub, making getting in and out of the tub difficult for Fred and Wilma. The two were very afraid of falling trying to get in and out of the bath. With the help of an occupational therapist, Rebuilding Together Greater Milwaukee installed a new showerhead, several grab bars, and a new chair height toilet.
Mr. and Mrs. White live with three of their children and their grandchild. They’ve spent the last 21 years in their West Pittsburgh home raising their family.
Mr. White is substitute teacher and Mrs. White works for the municipal court system. These two working grandparents were finding it hard to keep a safe and healthy home while providing for their large family.
Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh was more than happy to help the Whites. Volunteers painted their kitchen walls, replaced 20-year-old flooring, replaced damaged ceiling tiles, and repaired broken baseboard heaters that risked burning the small children in the home. They also made the home more accessible by installing a new handrail on the front porch, a brighter light fixture, and stabilizing the handrail for the interior staircase.
Joseph and Dulcie are childhood friends turned high school sweethearts who were helped by Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley. The two love birds grew up just down the street from each other. They married when Joseph came back home after serving as an aircraft mechanic in the navy. “Serving in the navy has been the very best thing that has happened to me…besides my lovely wife, of course,” Joseph said with a big smile.
Joseph uses a cane to walk and has to carefully plan his movements when he uses the stairs. He wouldn’t use his high porch steps due to a fear of falling, making it impossible for him to go outside. Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley volunteers installed grab bars around their home so Joseph can steady himself as he moves. Volunteers also built half steps on his porch so Joseph could use his existing porch with greater ease. When asked if the new porch steps have helped him, Joseph emphatically said, “Oh, yeah. They’re great!”
Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley team members were shown Joseph’s tool shed when they made their second visit to see how he was doing. Joseph had collected a large amount of hand and power tools over the years. It was there and then that Joseph donated a table sander to Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley so they could continue helping his neighbors.
Rebuilding Together Central Ohio helped Ms. Scott, 89, during their Building a Healthy Neighborhood event.
Ms. Scott married her husband, a U.S. Army veteran, after he came home from serving his country in World War II. She still lives in the same house she and husband called home and raised their two children in. In fact, she’s been in her home for almost 70 years.
One her favorite things to do is sit outside on her porch and talk to the people passing by. The neighborhood knows her house as Porch Ministries and Ms. Scott is the self-proclaimed CEO.
She survives on a fixed income, which makes fixing the critical repairs she needs an impossibility. Volunteers from Rebuilding Together Central Ohio installed grab bars in her bathrooms, painted her bedroom, repaired downspouts to divert water away from the foundation, cleaned her gutters, and built a new back porch for her to safely enter and leave her home.
Rebuilding Together Sacramento helped Michael, a 58-year-old veteran, live in a safer and more accessible home.
Michael suffers from neuropathy, diabetes, and a degenerative disc in his back. With his limited mobility, Michael was concerned about falling hazards in his home. Volunteers from Rebuilding Together Sacramento installed grab bars, a shower mat, a toilet rise and seat, smoke and CO alarms, and a fire extinguisher. Volunteers will soon install wood railings in his home as well.
Michael said, “[This] will help my back big time. The install items will help me keep doings things around the house.”
Rebuilding Together Clay County worked with an occupational therapist to ensure a 47-year-old homeowner could live safely in his own home.
The homeowner suffers from mobility issues and depends on a wheelchair to get around. However, his home had no ramp or accessible way to enter or leave his home. He was also forced to use a towel bar in order to use the bathroom. The hallway to his bedroom wasn’t accessible, forcing him to lean against the walls as he moved.
Volunteers from Rebuilding Together Clay County built a wooden ramp outside of the homeowner’s front door. He can now freely come and go from his house as he pleases. They installed two grab bars in his bathroom, making it much easier for him to enter and exit his shower. Grab bars were also installed throughout his hallway, allowing him to safely walk to and from his bedroom.
The homeowner was so thrilled with the new ramp and other safety modifications, He posted pictures on Facebook saying, “All finished and loving it!”
Maria, an actress from Brooklyn, volunteered with Rebuilding Together to help homeowners affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Maria felt very lucky after the storm since her home never lost power and only suffered minor wind and tree damage. So what made her jump into action? She credits her Southern upbringing that instilled in her a belief that a person has to give back when they have something others don’t. Before working with Rebuilding Together, she helped elderly New Yorkers in shelters and sorted donations.
While with Rebuilding Together affiliates, Maria painted, built a deck, cut wood, and cleaned. Maria said that her acting background gave her some experience like this before when she had to build stages.
She also said she felt very supported while volunteering. “Someone taught me how to do things and helped me learn,” Maria said. “I never felt out of my depth. Everyone was so nice and supportive.” Maria joked that getting a sunburn was the hardest part of the day.
Maria said a couple she helped in Moonachie, New Jersey, really inspired her. “They had so much family there on the reveal day,” Maria said. “So many volunteers and family showed up. There was so much love and support, and they were so gracious and overwhelmed.”
Would she volunteer again? “I definitely would,” Maria said. “It took something like Sandy to get me into gear. It was a beautiful coincidence that Rebuilding Together was introduced to me. It was a perfect fit.”
Maria and her husband have even utilized what she learned while volunteering in their new apartment. Maria said, “We DIYed some shelving units and got a little crafty.
Rebuilding Together Seattle repaired the house Linda has called home for over 30 years.
Linda, 60, has been unemployed since 2009 and her husband lost his job a month ago. She and her husband live in Seattle’s Rainier Beach community, a historically impoverished area and where the majority of Rebuilding Together Seattle’s projects take place. Linda also suffers from liver cancer and type 1 diabetes.
Their small, one story home needed a lot of repairs. There was floor and wall damage caused by rodents. There was no insulation of any kind under the house. A heating duct was completely rusted through, preventing any heat from getting to the house.
Volunteers from Rebuilding Together Seattle installed insulation under the house and a new washer and dryer. They painted, replaced the broken heater, shingles, and four interior doors. They also redid their baseboards and patched all the holes.
“She was absolutely thrilled,” Mike Lahoda, program associate for Rebuilding Together Seattle, said regarding Linda’s reaction to her repaired home. Mike added that this was the first time Linda was on the receiving end of help. She dedicated her life to keeping her son out of trouble and taking in her son’s friends who lost their way. “She’s a really good neighbor and role model,” said Mike.
While the 20 volunteers were working, Linda tried her best to make them feel as at home as possible. She spoke to every volunteer, asking about their lives and how they were doing. “Her energy really built the team up,” said Mike. Abdi, one of the project managers, actually grew up in Linda’s neighborhood and the two shared a lot of personal connections.
Linda is very active in Seattle’s music and art scene. She told Mike that seeing the new shade of pink paint on her home has inspired her to write a poem called Pink House.