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 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.”

AmeriCorps Member Helps Bring Thanksgiving Back Home
Rachel Lehr, AmeriCorps Year Round Coordinator for Rebuilding Together South Sound, shared with us her Rebuilding Together experience
Ms. Hill is an elderly woman who lives alone in Tacoma. She has had cancer twice and has to use a walker to get around because the chemo has left her weak. She applied to Rebuilding Together South Sound because the faucets in her kitchen and bathroom were dripping constantly, the electrical system didn’t work in part of her home, and the baseboard heaters weren’t working. Her application was a little more serious than some applications that we get, but her descriptions were nowhere close to what we had anticipated.
Water ran continually, even when the sink handles were shut off, because the pipes used in Ms. Hill’s home were corroded. She had been collecting the free-flowing water in jars so it wasn’t just running down the drain. Her water bill was $600 per month. In addition, the electrical outlets in four of the six rooms in the home weren’t working and Ms. Hill was using extension cords to get power to her kitchen and bedroom. Finally, the baseboard heaters in those same rooms wouldn’t work. Ms. Hill resorted to attempting to heat her home with her oven. In the winter, her electric bill could get as high as $500 per month. After our initial home visit, I was really excited and determined to help Ms. Hill.
The Rebuilding Together South Sound volunteers couldn’t have been better! A volunteer plumber replaced the pipes and the faucets for the kitchen and bathroom sinks so they would actually shut off and be corrosion free. He checked the entire bathroom to make sure nothing would cause her any problems in the future. A volunteer contractor put in a grab bar to ensure Ms. Hill could access her restroom without assistance.  An electrician volunteer replaced all 30 broken outlets and the four baseboard heaters so Ms. Hill could actually live in her whole home. And thanks to a donation from Lowe’s, materials and new appliances were provided allowed this project to happen.
I had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Hill shortly after all the repairs were complete. For the first time in over ten years she had guests over to her home for Thanksgiving. Ms. Hill is proud of her home again. She knows she can stay in her home independently, for a longer time, and most importantly with more dignity! Her doctor was also happy because the repairs will help her during the difficult cancer recovery process.
What made me the most excited, or happy, or stunned (I’m still not really sure which) was the amount of money she is now saving every month. Her water bill dropped from $600 to $200 per month and she became eligible for the water company’s senior reduced rate, an additional $100 a month in savings. Her electric bill is a similar story - what started as a $500 bill will go down because she is heating her home efficiently and will be reduced by 30% each month. In addition to restoring a safe and healthy home, I was able to help save Ms. Hill almost $8,000 a year in utility costs!
Ms. Hill now has more freedom in her home and in her finances. I am just astounded that we can impact someone’s life so dramatically. I am grateful to have been a part of the process. I am grateful to serve.

AmeriCorps Member Helps Bring Thanksgiving Back Home

Rachel Lehr, AmeriCorps Year Round Coordinator for Rebuilding Together South Sound, shared with us her Rebuilding Together experience

Ms. Hill is an elderly woman who lives alone in Tacoma. She has had cancer twice and has to use a walker to get around because the chemo has left her weak. She applied to Rebuilding Together South Sound because the faucets in her kitchen and bathroom were dripping constantly, the electrical system didn’t work in part of her home, and the baseboard heaters weren’t working. Her application was a little more serious than some applications that we get, but her descriptions were nowhere close to what we had anticipated.

Water ran continually, even when the sink handles were shut off, because the pipes used in Ms. Hill’s home were corroded. She had been collecting the free-flowing water in jars so it wasn’t just running down the drain. Her water bill was $600 per month. In addition, the electrical outlets in four of the six rooms in the home weren’t working and Ms. Hill was using extension cords to get power to her kitchen and bedroom. Finally, the baseboard heaters in those same rooms wouldn’t work. Ms. Hill resorted to attempting to heat her home with her oven. In the winter, her electric bill could get as high as $500 per month. After our initial home visit, I was really excited and determined to help Ms. Hill.

The Rebuilding Together South Sound volunteers couldn’t have been better! A volunteer plumber replaced the pipes and the faucets for the kitchen and bathroom sinks so they would actually shut off and be corrosion free. He checked the entire bathroom to make sure nothing would cause her any problems in the future. A volunteer contractor put in a grab bar to ensure Ms. Hill could access her restroom without assistance.  An electrician volunteer replaced all 30 broken outlets and the four baseboard heaters so Ms. Hill could actually live in her whole home. And thanks to a donation from Lowe’s, materials and new appliances were provided allowed this project to happen.

I had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Hill shortly after all the repairs were complete. For the first time in over ten years she had guests over to her home for Thanksgiving. Ms. Hill is proud of her home again. She knows she can stay in her home independently, for a longer time, and most importantly with more dignity! Her doctor was also happy because the repairs will help her during the difficult cancer recovery process.

What made me the most excited, or happy, or stunned (I’m still not really sure which) was the amount of money she is now saving every month. Her water bill dropped from $600 to $200 per month and she became eligible for the water company’s senior reduced rate, an additional $100 a month in savings. Her electric bill is a similar story - what started as a $500 bill will go down because she is heating her home efficiently and will be reduced by 30% each month. In addition to restoring a safe and healthy home, I was able to help save Ms. Hill almost $8,000 a year in utility costs!

Ms. Hill now has more freedom in her home and in her finances. I am just astounded that we can impact someone’s life so dramatically. I am grateful to have been a part of the process. I am grateful to serve.

Michael Verla wins Rebuilding Together’s AmeriCorps Member of the Year Award
Michael Verla, 23, recently won Rebuilding Together’s AmeriCorps Member of the Year Award.
Originally from a small town in Massachusetts, Michael studied community development at the University of Vermont. Michael’s passion for helping others led him to look for service opportunities through the AmeriCorps Program. “I found Rebuilding Together Philadelphia through an AmeriCorps position. It seemed like it would be a good fit,” Michael said. “I could serve in communities and with a nonprofit that’s having an impact and doing its own brand of community development.”
Michael’s service included about a dozen major projects while being an AmeriCorps member at Rebuilding Together Philadelphia. His first project was a Maxwell House Drops of Good community center renovation. Another one of his service projects was Building a Healthy Neighborhood, one of Rebuilding Together’s largest annual events. 
Michael was in charge of coordinating the energy efficient repairs and modifications. He often found himself doing volunteer management and community outreach. “It was formative in a lot of ways,” Michael said looking back at his experience. He managed a wide variety of volunteers from local neighborhoods, corporations and universities. Michael’s favorite part of his service was helping the homeowners though. “I’d engage with homeowners and go to community meetings. I loved being the liason between the residents and organization.” He’d be the homeowners’ point person when it came to questions concerning their new energy efficient upgrades or home repair.
His favorite project was a block build that took place over two weekends. A team of Rebuilding Together Philadelphia volunteers renovated an entire block in West Philadelphia. Michael quickly developed a rapport with the homeowners. He began meeting with them several months before the renovations took place. “I had a really strong connection with the homeowners. There was a lot of good energy.”
A woman from that West Philadelphia project named Alice especially stood out to Michael. He considered her a Block Captain of sorts. Alice was more than happy to get the word out about the block build, work alongside the volunteers, and even recruit her son to volunteer for the project as well.
As an AmeriCorps member, Michael’s favorite experiences came from being surrounded by his fellow AmeriCorps members. Rebuilding Together AmeriCorps members are placed all over the country, but they come together for their orientation, Rebuilding Together’s National Conference, and the AmeriCorps’ Martin Luther King Jr. service week. “It got everybody together. We picked each other’s brains, which we couldn’t do in our day to day tasks. We shared stories. It was a powerful experience.”
And for how he feels about being the Rebuilding Together’s AmeriCorps member of the year? “It was exciting, and I definitely feel honored. It’s humbling because there are so many others doing such great work.”
To find out more about Rebuilding Together’s AmeriCorps program, visit this link: rebuildingtogether.org/capacitycorps 

Michael Verla wins Rebuilding Together’s AmeriCorps Member of the Year Award

Michael Verla, 23, recently won Rebuilding Together’s AmeriCorps Member of the Year Award.

Originally from a small town in Massachusetts, Michael studied community development at the University of Vermont. Michael’s passion for helping others led him to look for service opportunities through the AmeriCorps Program. “I found Rebuilding Together Philadelphia through an AmeriCorps position. It seemed like it would be a good fit,” Michael said. “I could serve in communities and with a nonprofit that’s having an impact and doing its own brand of community development.”

Michael’s service included about a dozen major projects while being an AmeriCorps member at Rebuilding Together Philadelphia. His first project was a Maxwell House Drops of Good community center renovation. Another one of his service projects was Building a Healthy Neighborhood, one of Rebuilding Together’s largest annual events. 

Michael was in charge of coordinating the energy efficient repairs and modifications. He often found himself doing volunteer management and community outreach. “It was formative in a lot of ways,” Michael said looking back at his experience. He managed a wide variety of volunteers from local neighborhoods, corporations and universities. Michael’s favorite part of his service was helping the homeowners though. “I’d engage with homeowners and go to community meetings. I loved being the liason between the residents and organization.” He’d be the homeowners’ point person when it came to questions concerning their new energy efficient upgrades or home repair.

His favorite project was a block build that took place over two weekends. A team of Rebuilding Together Philadelphia volunteers renovated an entire block in West Philadelphia. Michael quickly developed a rapport with the homeowners. He began meeting with them several months before the renovations took place. “I had a really strong connection with the homeowners. There was a lot of good energy.”

A woman from that West Philadelphia project named Alice especially stood out to Michael. He considered her a Block Captain of sorts. Alice was more than happy to get the word out about the block build, work alongside the volunteers, and even recruit her son to volunteer for the project as well.

As an AmeriCorps member, Michael’s favorite experiences came from being surrounded by his fellow AmeriCorps members. Rebuilding Together AmeriCorps members are placed all over the country, but they come together for their orientation, Rebuilding Together’s National Conference, and the AmeriCorps’ Martin Luther King Jr. service week. “It got everybody together. We picked each other’s brains, which we couldn’t do in our day to day tasks. We shared stories. It was a powerful experience.”

And for how he feels about being the Rebuilding Together’s AmeriCorps member of the year? “It was exciting, and I definitely feel honored. It’s humbling because there are so many others doing such great work.”

To find out more about Rebuilding Together’s AmeriCorps program, visit this link: rebuildingtogether.org/capacitycorps 

Rebuilding Together Muscatine County helps elderly woman age in place 
Evelyn Powell, 89, has lived in her home for over 40 years. It’s where she and her husband spent their years together before he passed away. And it’s where she lives with her daughter today.
Evelyn reached out to Rebuilding Together Muscatine County to fix up some windows. When Frank Iliff, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Muscatine County, went to check out Evelyn’s home, he found that she needed much more than just a few windows. He immediately saw a safety hazard in the narrow basement stairs for the 5 foot tall elderly woman. She would walk down the stairs with a heavy basket of clothes every time she needed to do the laundry. Their bathroom was also in bad shape. The floor was rug upon rug, the ceiling lacked insulation, and the walls were weak and thin.
Frank quickly assembled a team of 20 volunteers to renovate this two story house. They installed handrails for the basement staircase. Volunteers moved the washer and dryer to the main floor to make doing laundry easier for Evelyn. Volunteers replaced Evelyn’s bathroom floor, the tub, the walls, and installed insulation, a new sink, vanity, and toilet. And for those drafty windows, volunteers replaced all 19 windows in the Powell’s home. Volunteers also cleaned out Evelyn’s basement, landscaped her yard, and built steps on her hilly front lawn.
Heather, one of Frank’s House Ambassadors, was able to give Evelyn and her daughter another special gift during their renovations. Evelyn’s daughter was born deaf and the two could hardly communicate. Evelyn learned a few words in sign language, but their communication was mostly done through notes. Heather knew sign language and spent some of the day translating for them, giving this mother and daughter one of their first conversations. Frank remembered seeing the two women in tears as they talked about Evelyn’s late husband, their wedding day and honeymoon. 

Rebuilding Together Muscatine County helps elderly woman age in place 

Evelyn Powell, 89, has lived in her home for over 40 years. It’s where she and her husband spent their years together before he passed away. And it’s where she lives with her daughter today.

Evelyn reached out to Rebuilding Together Muscatine County to fix up some windows. When Frank Iliff, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Muscatine County, went to check out Evelyn’s home, he found that she needed much more than just a few windows. He immediately saw a safety hazard in the narrow basement stairs for the 5 foot tall elderly woman. She would walk down the stairs with a heavy basket of clothes every time she needed to do the laundry. Their bathroom was also in bad shape. The floor was rug upon rug, the ceiling lacked insulation, and the walls were weak and thin.

Frank quickly assembled a team of 20 volunteers to renovate this two story house. They installed handrails for the basement staircase. Volunteers moved the washer and dryer to the main floor to make doing laundry easier for Evelyn. Volunteers replaced Evelyn’s bathroom floor, the tub, the walls, and installed insulation, a new sink, vanity, and toilet. And for those drafty windows, volunteers replaced all 19 windows in the Powell’s home. Volunteers also cleaned out Evelyn’s basement, landscaped her yard, and built steps on her hilly front lawn.

Heather, one of Frank’s House Ambassadors, was able to give Evelyn and her daughter another special gift during their renovations. Evelyn’s daughter was born deaf and the two could hardly communicate. Evelyn learned a few words in sign language, but their communication was mostly done through notes. Heather knew sign language and spent some of the day translating for them, giving this mother and daughter one of their first conversations. Frank remembered seeing the two women in tears as they talked about Evelyn’s late husband, their wedding day and honeymoon. 

Rebuilding Together Helping Generations of Families
Felicia Byrd inherited her family home after her mother passed away in 2010. Felicia believed she would have to sell it because she couldn’t afford the extensive repairs that needed to be done. A troubling thought especially because the home was just 7 years away from being fully paid off.
The house wasn’t the only thing Felicia took charge of when her mother died. She became the guardian of her two nieces and nephew her mother was caring for. Felicia, the mother of three teenagers already, was happy to take in her nieces and nephew.
Felicia, an accountant for a temp agency at the time, was recommended to seek out the assistance of Rebuilding Together. She quickly applied, but didn’t fully trust that Rebuilding Together Fredericksburg could do all she needed for no charge.  
Twenty volunteers worked for three weekends to repair Felicia’s home. They fixed her plumbing, painted her walls, installed handrails, fixed electrical wiring, put up new cabinets, and put down a new bathroom floor. There was a massive leak in the water pipes outside of the home. This made getting running water a hassle for Felicia’s mother. Felicia knew there was a lot of work to be done, but she couldn’t imagine how her mother lived there for so long in the home’s condition.
She was taken aback by how much the volunteers cared about her. She saw 20 strangers fixing up her home, enjoying meals with her, and praying with her. The volunteers even worked side by side with Felicia’s children to repair their home. Felicia couldn’t believe their kindness or the kindness of Lowe’s, the sponsor of her renovations. Lowe’s donated the materials and let Felicia pick out the colors and floor of her rebuilt home.
Felicia now works at Rebuilding Together’s National Office in the finance department. “I’ve seen the whole picture of Rebuilding Together. I love how family oriented Rebuilding Together is.” said Felicia.
She is now planning on joining some affiliates to renovate homes and community centers. “I almost lost my home. I feel like I need to give back.”
While working at Rebuilding Together, Felicia found out this safe and healthy housing organization has another connection to her family. Her great-grandmother, Rose Anderson, sought the help of Christmas in April in 1992. Christmas in April was the original incarnation of Rebuilding Together. Those Fredericksburg volunteers gave the 81-year-old woman a new roof.
Felicia never knew that Rebuilding Together was once Christmas in April. She can still remember seeing all the work being done to her great-grandmother’s house and reading a local newspaper article about it. Felicia and her father still can’t believe the coincidence. “It’s amazing how they help people out.”

Rebuilding Together Helping Generations of Families

Felicia Byrd inherited her family home after her mother passed away in 2010. Felicia believed she would have to sell it because she couldn’t afford the extensive repairs that needed to be done. A troubling thought especially because the home was just 7 years away from being fully paid off.

The house wasn’t the only thing Felicia took charge of when her mother died. She became the guardian of her two nieces and nephew her mother was caring for. Felicia, the mother of three teenagers already, was happy to take in her nieces and nephew.

Felicia, an accountant for a temp agency at the time, was recommended to seek out the assistance of Rebuilding Together. She quickly applied, but didn’t fully trust that Rebuilding Together Fredericksburg could do all she needed for no charge.  

Twenty volunteers worked for three weekends to repair Felicia’s home. They fixed her plumbing, painted her walls, installed handrails, fixed electrical wiring, put up new cabinets, and put down a new bathroom floor. There was a massive leak in the water pipes outside of the home. This made getting running water a hassle for Felicia’s mother. Felicia knew there was a lot of work to be done, but she couldn’t imagine how her mother lived there for so long in the home’s condition.

She was taken aback by how much the volunteers cared about her. She saw 20 strangers fixing up her home, enjoying meals with her, and praying with her. The volunteers even worked side by side with Felicia’s children to repair their home. Felicia couldn’t believe their kindness or the kindness of Lowe’s, the sponsor of her renovations. Lowe’s donated the materials and let Felicia pick out the colors and floor of her rebuilt home.

Felicia now works at Rebuilding Together’s National Office in the finance department. “I’ve seen the whole picture of Rebuilding Together. I love how family oriented Rebuilding Together is.” said Felicia.

She is now planning on joining some affiliates to renovate homes and community centers. “I almost lost my home. I feel like I need to give back.”

While working at Rebuilding Together, Felicia found out this safe and healthy housing organization has another connection to her family. Her great-grandmother, Rose Anderson, sought the help of Christmas in April in 1992. Christmas in April was the original incarnation of Rebuilding Together. Those Fredericksburg volunteers gave the 81-year-old woman a new roof.

Felicia never knew that Rebuilding Together was once Christmas in April. She can still remember seeing all the work being done to her great-grandmother’s house and reading a local newspaper article about it. Felicia and her father still can’t believe the coincidence. “It’s amazing how they help people out.”

This is the first part of a three part story about a homeowner named Janelle Weikum. This post focuses on Kimberly Hansen and Rebuilding Together Greater Des Moines, the Executive Director and affiliate that helped Janelle stay in her home. The two other parts will focus on Janelle herself and a volunteer who helped rebuild her home. 
Janelle Weikum needed the assistance of Rebuilding Together Greater Des Moines due to her home needing critical accessibility repairs and upgrades. Janelle suffers from a disease that causes lumps to form on her legs. These lumps make it very difficult for Janelle to walk.
Forty volunteers donated their time and skill to help Janelle. Rebuilding Together Greater Des Moines installed new stairs going to the basement because the old ones were deteriorating quickly. Volunteers from Greater Des Moines and Meredith Corporation moved the washer and dryer from the basement to a spare bedroom on the main level. This allows Janelle to do her laundry without straining her legs or risk using the stairs. Meredith volunteers also landscaped, transforming Janelle’s once barren lawn into a field of green. Volunteers also painted the home’s interior and exterior. Meredith donated a new living room set. Janelle already had a new exhaust fan and a new front door. However, she couldn’t do it herself or afford to have someone do it for her. Rebuilding Together and Meredith volunteers were able to install both for Janelle. Her son was also there that day, helping turn his mother’s house into a safe and healthy home. These hard working volunteers stayed till 9 that night making sure everything was finished.  
Kimberly Hansen, the Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Greater Des Moines, said, “It felt meant to be. The new living room set actually matched Janelle’s old coffee table perfectly.”
Kimberly remembered seeing Janelle looking a bit overwhelmed with all the support when everything got started. “She was in tears and so thankful that day. In the beginning, she was being very bashful. Her home was swarmed with 40 volunteers and her stuff was put outside. As the day went on, she felt more comfortable. Neighbors were supportive and came over to see what was happening. She spoke at the lunch to thank the Meredith employees with tears in her eyes.”
Janelle was speechless when she was going through her finished home, according to Kimberly. And seeing her settle into her new living room is what Kimberly remembers the most. “She was at home in the new living room.” Kimberly saw that sense of being overwhelmed wash away from Janelle as she sat on the new couch and thanked the volunteers from the bottom of her heart.

This is the first part of a three part story about a homeowner named Janelle Weikum. This post focuses on Kimberly Hansen and Rebuilding Together Greater Des Moines, the Executive Director and affiliate that helped Janelle stay in her home. The two other parts will focus on Janelle herself and a volunteer who helped rebuild her home.

Janelle Weikum needed the assistance of Rebuilding Together Greater Des Moines due to her home needing critical accessibility repairs and upgrades. Janelle suffers from a disease that causes lumps to form on her legs. These lumps make it very difficult for Janelle to walk.

Forty volunteers donated their time and skill to help Janelle. Rebuilding Together Greater Des Moines installed new stairs going to the basement because the old ones were deteriorating quickly. Volunteers from Greater Des Moines and Meredith Corporation moved the washer and dryer from the basement to a spare bedroom on the main level. This allows Janelle to do her laundry without straining her legs or risk using the stairs. Meredith volunteers also landscaped, transforming Janelle’s once barren lawn into a field of green. Volunteers also painted the home’s interior and exterior. Meredith donated a new living room set. Janelle already had a new exhaust fan and a new front door. However, she couldn’t do it herself or afford to have someone do it for her. Rebuilding Together and Meredith volunteers were able to install both for Janelle. Her son was also there that day, helping turn his mother’s house into a safe and healthy home. These hard working volunteers stayed till 9 that night making sure everything was finished.  

Kimberly Hansen, the Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Greater Des Moines, said, “It felt meant to be. The new living room set actually matched Janelle’s old coffee table perfectly.”

Kimberly remembered seeing Janelle looking a bit overwhelmed with all the support when everything got started. “She was in tears and so thankful that day. In the beginning, she was being very bashful. Her home was swarmed with 40 volunteers and her stuff was put outside. As the day went on, she felt more comfortable. Neighbors were supportive and came over to see what was happening. She spoke at the lunch to thank the Meredith employees with tears in her eyes.”

Janelle was speechless when she was going through her finished home, according to Kimberly. And seeing her settle into her new living room is what Kimberly remembers the most. “She was at home in the new living room.” Kimberly saw that sense of being overwhelmed wash away from Janelle as she sat on the new couch and thanked the volunteers from the bottom of her heart.

Helping Hands Make a Dream a Reality
What is your childhood dream? What have you always wanted to do or have?
For Ms. Cassine Walker, that dream became a reality 3 years ago at age 64.  With the help of her brother, they were able to pool years worth of savings and buy a fixer-upper right across the street from her parents. Although the house needed loads of work, it was perfect because it kept her within a few feet of her parents’ home to help care for them. She and her brother were able and excited to fix up her home.
Immediately, she began purchasing materials for her home so repairs could begin.  Unfortunately, robbers took notice and broke into her home. Despite the setback, Ms. Walker was determined to turn this place into her dream home. To protect her home and the items left in it, her brother began living in the house. “It wasn’t fit for nobody or nothing to live there,” recalls Ms. Walker.
As things were starting to fall into place, Ms. Walker unexpectedly became sick.  She spent time in the hospital and eventually stayed with her sister for several months because she was unable to take care of herself. Ms. Walker had to face sizeable medical bills and monthly prescription costs to help with her breathing and respiratory difficulties. Where most people would have given up, Ms. Walker stayed strong in her resolve. “I just knew the good Lord had a plan for me, but I had no idea what that was.”
Despite seldom asking for help, she applied for help from another agency.  Three times she was turned down.  Finally, through Rebuilding Together Dayton, she was matched with Roger and Sue, house captains, who wanted to help.  With Shiloh Church helping to sponsor the project, Ms. Walker began to see her dream coming to fruition.
On National Rebuilding Day this year, Ms. Walker watched as a whole crew came in to work on her home. “Every wall had a hole in it, the bathroom was gutted, and many places had no drywall,” remembers Ms. Walker. The one day overhaul included projects such as fixing a hole in the ceiling, complete bathroom overhaul, new doors, plumbing and electrical work, hanging drywall, lots of painting, replacing a termite eaten beam, hanging cabinets, and yard work. The majority of work was completed April 28th, making her home a safe and healthy place to live. “When I go in I smile because I know what it was like before and how it is now,” describes Ms. Walker.
As she sits on her front porch, Ms. Walker marvels, “They did a magnificent job!  You could say they rebuilt my house together.”

Helping Hands Make a Dream a Reality

What is your childhood dream? What have you always wanted to do or have?

For Ms. Cassine Walker, that dream became a reality 3 years ago at age 64.  With the help of her brother, they were able to pool years worth of savings and buy a fixer-upper right across the street from her parents. Although the house needed loads of work, it was perfect because it kept her within a few feet of her parents’ home to help care for them. She and her brother were able and excited to fix up her home.

Immediately, she began purchasing materials for her home so repairs could begin.  Unfortunately, robbers took notice and broke into her home. Despite the setback, Ms. Walker was determined to turn this place into her dream home. To protect her home and the items left in it, her brother began living in the house. “It wasn’t fit for nobody or nothing to live there,” recalls Ms. Walker.

As things were starting to fall into place, Ms. Walker unexpectedly became sick.  She spent time in the hospital and eventually stayed with her sister for several months because she was unable to take care of herself. Ms. Walker had to face sizeable medical bills and monthly prescription costs to help with her breathing and respiratory difficulties. Where most people would have given up, Ms. Walker stayed strong in her resolve. “I just knew the good Lord had a plan for me, but I had no idea what that was.”

Despite seldom asking for help, she applied for help from another agency.  Three times she was turned down.  Finally, through Rebuilding Together Dayton, she was matched with Roger and Sue, house captains, who wanted to help.  With Shiloh Church helping to sponsor the project, Ms. Walker began to see her dream coming to fruition.

On National Rebuilding Day this year, Ms. Walker watched as a whole crew came in to work on her home. “Every wall had a hole in it, the bathroom was gutted, and many places had no drywall,” remembers Ms. Walker. The one day overhaul included projects such as fixing a hole in the ceiling, complete bathroom overhaul, new doors, plumbing and electrical work, hanging drywall, lots of painting, replacing a termite eaten beam, hanging cabinets, and yard work. The majority of work was completed April 28th, making her home a safe and healthy place to live. “When I go in I smile because I know what it was like before and how it is now,” describes Ms. Walker.

As she sits on her front porch, Ms. Walker marvels, “They did a magnificent job!  You could say they rebuilt my house together.”