Rebuilding Together at a home in Worcester, MA where we would be joining together to make that home a better place to live in. I've always wanted to be involved in some sort of "volunteer build" but I guess I never thought how rewarding (and tiring) it would truly be until I was in the thick of it. Charter Our Community is the charitable initiative that Charter Communications' (as in the cable company) has put into place that helps provide support and the means to improve the unhealthy living conditions that unfortunately affect many of those in our communities. Their goal is to improve 25,000 homes in their footprint by 2020, which I think is amazing.
Nancy couldn't wait to adorn her Charter Our Community t-shirt from the start of the day. I could tell upon meeting her, this was a very special experience for her. She was getting some much needed updates and frankly some much needed TLC to a home that had fallen into disrepair over the years. We weren't the first volunteers on site. A group had come earlier in the week to prime and start painting the exterior siding of her home. Other work that was being done by previous volunteers and my group included, demo on Nancy's deck and replacing it, replacing the cabinets and flooring in the kitchen, repair in her bathroom, sanding and repainting her bulkhead, repair on stairs and an interior closet, painting her shed, yard work and more. As you can see, the list was long, but many hands make light work, and it was heartwarming to see so many volunteers on site that day, chipping in to make Nancy's home a better place to live in.
I worked with Charter employees who took time on their day off (or even went to work after) to volunteer with the group. I partnered with Wendy to attack a bulkhead (photo below) that need to be sanded down and repainted; we did a banner job on it let me tell you. After our lunch break, I volunteered to help one of project managers, Brian, put in some flooring... and let me tell you, partnering with Brian was probably the best and worst thing I could do. While I loved learning how to cut and fit pieces of flooring with Brian (such a good dude and hard worker!) and it was very rewarding to get the kitchen floor down... boy oh boy was it very painstaking work. But you know what? It was TOTALLY worth it. Nancy's kitchen looked fantastic and she was elated with both that and her deck (which I'm jealous I didn't get in on that demo, since it looked FUN!) because it was something she could take pride in. Heck, I took pride in helping her and the Charter Our Community and Rebuilding Together team!
What these organizations are doing shouldn't be ignored. The health and happiness of the people living in our communities, our neighbors, is important. If you're able bodied and looking for hard work that makes a difference, these are the types of initiatives that you want to be involved with. I saw firsthand the affect that something like this has on an individual who needed help. Nancy was happy to have us buzzing in and out of her house, spending the day helping her. You could see it in her face, the ways that she thanked us all day. I gave Nancy a huge hug before I left and thanked her for letting us into her home but she said "No, Thank You for everything you've done today." Warms my heart to infinity and back. I was one of the last volunteers on site that day, not because I had to be but because I wanted to see some things through. I told Heidi from Charter Our Community that I would be back next year, and I meant it.