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Archive for the ‘Volunteers’ Category

In April, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance volunteers from California and Missouri flew to Lafayette to assist Rebuilding Together Acadiana in the ongoing flood recovery effort. They worked on a home in Abbeville, LA for Ms. Alanda, who is affectionately referred to as Aly by friends and neighbors. Each team stayed for one week and drove every day from Lafayette to Abbeville to work on Ms. Aly’s house.

During the storm in August, a tree had fallen on the back part of Ms. Aly’s house, causing rain to fall in her home. Water quickly filled up the space underneath her house and ruined her floors. Although the interior of her house was not affected by rising water, she received enough damage by the rain to make her home uninhabitable. It wouldn’t be until June of 2017, that volunteers taking part in the Eight Days of Hope event would make it to Ms. Aly’s to finally gut the home and remove all of the hazardous materials. Unfortunately once the home was gutted, it revealed issues of delayed maintenance which would need addressing prior to rebuilding. By the end of 2017, Ms. Aly’s house had reached a point where all the walls and cabinets had been rebuilt. Only the finishing touches remained.

When Rebuilding Together Acadiana spoke with Ms. Aly in advance of the volunteers’ arrival, she was overwhelmed with joy. She could see the light at the end of the tunnel. After being displaced from her home for two years, she was ready to move back. Ms. Aly works nights and evenings caring for the elderly, trying to make ends meet. She carries fluid in her spine, which has limited her ability to do much on the home. Undeterred, however, Ms. Aly cleaned behind volunteers during her visits. She even brought her mother and niece to see the progress. Helping homeowners like Ms. Aly is a privilege and a joy for RTA and the volunteers alike. Now that she has returned home, she is excited to have a place for her grand-babies to visit again.

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In August of 2016, Theresa and Donald Stone were affected by the heavy rain and historic flooding. After their daughter’s house flooded that Friday, their house began to take on water, leaving them with nowhere to turn. Outside, the water was at least fourteen inches high. Mr. Donald placed a pump in the living room and got it down to about two inches by the Sunday afternoon. He cleaned the house and continued to attempt to get the water out for a series of five days by himself, all the while living in the house. For the next two weeks, Mr. Donald had to gut the house in order to prevent the spread and growth of mold. He took great pains to make sure his wife, who suffers from chronic pulmonary disease and lives on an oxygen machine, would not be harmed by the contaminants in the air. ReStore Louisiana showed up with the application for Donald and Theresa to have their house repaired, but after nine months of paperwork, interviews, and a plethora of supervisors with seemingly nothing getting done, Mr. Donald began to lose hope. He called his case manager with UpBring Disaster Response to let them know he wanted to continue on to get his house fixed up even if it took him ten years. That following Monday, representatives from Rebuilding Together Acadiana and the Acadiana Long Term Recovery network showed up to notify him the house would be repaired.

Throughout the repair process, Mrs. Theresa had been living with their daughter since her COPD prevented her from being in the home with all of the dust and debris created by the work. Mr. Donald watched the progression of their house and would sneak in after the volunteers had left to take photos to show Mrs. Theresa. Rebuilding Together Acadiana partnered with volunteers from the Order of Malta and the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance to complete the repairs, and Mr. Donald enjoyed having the opportunity to meet people from all over the U.S. and Acadiana who had given their time to help out people in need. He expressed how grateful he was, exclaiming that “some women even took the time to clean out my wife’s flower beds!” His heart was overwhelmed with the kindness of everyone who helped them to get their home back, and said his wife prayed for everyone who walked through the door to lend a helping hand.

 

At the end of the two week journey, Mr. Donald expressed his excitement for his wife to come home and knows she will be filled with joy knowing she can stay in their home of thirteen years once again.

 

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This Semester has been a good one. We built 8 ramps with the help of some local volunteers and University of Louisiana Lafayette AmeriCorps members. The semester also brought along the end of Brooks Carroll’s term of service with Rebuilding Together Acadiana. We will miss everyone that we’ve had to say goodbye to, but are very thankful for the time we’ve shared with them!!!

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Throw Back Thursday!

Throw back to Mike’s awesome beard!  We love this guy, with or without (magnificent) facial hair.

Mike had a beard!

 

On a slightly more serious note, we would like to offer a sincere thank you, not only to Mike, but to all of the amazing people who volunteer with us.  We wouldn’t be able to do the things we do without our House Captains wrangling the troops and busting their butts to make sure our homeowners can be safe, warm, and dry.

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Get ready for some before and afters that’ll leave your jaw on the floor! This past month we had three separate teams of college students come from out of state to help us with a major project in Jeanerette. Northeastern University from Massachusetts, Rice University from Texas, and Long Island Post University from New York all sent teams of students who chose to spend their spring breaks helping us repair Ms. Ramona’s home in Jeanerette rather than heading to the beach. We’re so grateful for their service, and without them this project never would have been finished.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe exterior of the house before…

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…then the students replaced rotten siding and began to paint.

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Look at it now! What a difference some dedication can make.

 

 

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Well, it’s official: Rebuilding Together Acadiana’s Annual Rebuild Days 2013 were a great success! On April 6 and April 13, we had volunteer teams working on various homes throughout Lafayette, making repairs, adding safety features, and increasing their energy efficiency. Between the two work days, we had teams work on 11 homes (with some more scheduled to be completed later this month). The days were filled with hard work, laughter, paint stained clothing,  networking, and happy homeowners.

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The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Lafayette with Miss Mabel, our welcoming and helpful homeowner! This was their first year – and they absolutely blew us away with their work ethic and success!

Our teams included individual volunteers, non-profits, churches, private companies, school groups, and many more. The beauty of the project was the collaboration between people from all different walks of life, banding together to help their community. Homeowners were so appreciative of the effort, and many were not shy about jumping in themselves to help out the volunteer teams!

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UL AmeriCorps volunteers scrape and repaint a peeling ceiling, reducing the amount of debris and increasing air quality.

The work crews were not the only ones who contributed to the success of the builds. We had teams bring in lunch for the crews, old Rebuilding Together AmeriCorps members come back to offer their expertise, and friends drive in from out of town to assist. The day was a phenomenal representation of what can be accomplished with collaboration, passion, and determination.

Though the Build Days are over, Rebuilding Together Acadiana has so much more in store for the remainder of the year! Our Ramps & Rails Program has a few more weeks left in the spring semester with the UL AmeriCorps members. There are some veteran’s projects in the works, and there will be more volunteer opportunities coming up. Stay tuned – we’re still going forward, full speed ahead.

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Happy New Year to all! Apologies for the lack of posts, but we’ve been up to our necks in projects.

First and foremost, our Texas Street house is finished! At the end of October we had a successful ribbon-cutting day. Some enthusiastic and helpful volunteers from Lafayette High came by in the wee hours of the morning on a Saturday to clean up all the sawdust and generally prettify the interior of the house. They also planted some beautiful flowers and trees in the front yard. By the time they were through, the house looked immaculate and we cut the ribbon!

This ribbon-cutting signified a partnership with Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together Acadiana, which will promote revitalization and teamwork in the McComb-Veazey neighborhood. We’re so excited to begin some great projects! Of course, the highlight of the day was the delicious spread of sandwiches and treats from McAllister’s. Big thanks to them for our sustenance. Another BIG thanks to  Al and Mike, for trekking down from the far-off lands of Missouri to help out in a monster way. We love you guys!

Later in the beginning of November, our amazing UL AmeriCorps members completed a weatherization project, in which we made several homes in Lafayette more energy-efficient and insulated for the upcoming colder months. No draftiness for these homeowners, that’s for sure. The crew spent the entire day caulking, sealing, changing lights, weatherstripping doors, planting trees, and much more. Our homeowners were happy, our volunteers did a great job, and the places looked great. Success all around!

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Last, but most definitely not least, we had a big Heroes at Home Project throughout the month of December. We picked a veteran in Crowley, Mr. James, who needed a bunch of repairs to his home after several hurricanes blew through and damaged part of the structure. With volunteers new and old, we provided Mr. James with new wall paneling, several rooms worth of new ceiling, an energy-efficient toilet, new exterior and interior doors, and much more. Mr. James was the epitome of a gentleman, cooking us great southern lunches, and contributing his considerable construction knowledge. It was a great experience for all involved. Big thanks to Sears for sponsoring this immensely successful project for a most deserving homeowner!

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