2016 ReStore ReUse Contest

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For the fifth consecutive year, the Asheville Habitat ReStore is encouraging residents to show off their creativity and talent for a chance to win the ReStore ReUse Contest. Garden shed, artist studio, chicken coop…tree house, dog house, playhouse…if you recently built a structure like this using predominantly reused building materials, Habitat wants to know! The contest runs July 1-August 31 and submissions must be sent electronically. Click here for entry form.

The purpose of the contest is to showcase innovative building projects constructed predominantly of used building materials. “Our customers often tell us about the projects they make using materials purchased at the ReStore. This contest is a great way to showcase their projects and inspire others to reuse, recycle and repurpose usable building materials and supplies,” said Scott Stetson, ReStore General Manager.

Five judges will select winners in the following categories: Furniture, Homesteading, Live/Work Space, and Best in Show. The public will be encouraged to vote for their favorite entry (People’s Choice Award) in the ReStore and on-line starting in early September. Details will be announced later this summer.

To see all photos from last year’s contest, please click here.

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The Du is Done!

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We were absolutely thrilled to be the non-profit partner of the Asheville Duathlon, 10K Trail Run and Gravel Grinder Bike Events this year! And we are equally excited to say that we raised $17,000 which will directly support our Shiloh: Let’s Build! campaign. Funds will be used to help build 15 new houses and repair 30 existing homes (in Shiloh) by September 2017.
We are so very grateful to our Team Habitat athletes, Team Habitat sponsors, raffle prize donors, all the volunteers, and our dedicated staff — and their spouses! It really does take a village. Thank you!

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS!

EVENT SPONSOR: Alice D. Hamling Foundation

Champion Sponsors: Asheville Savings Bank | In Honor of Dr. Roger Domby by Bill Brown | Chris and Pam Cavanaugh | Steve and Debbie Miller | Silver-Line Plastics

Race Day Sponsors: Eaton Charitable Fund: Gail Stashick’s James Stover Award | Roston and Patricia Williamson

Finish Line Sponsor: Thomas and Gay Carman


To see the official race photos, click here.
To see full race results, click here. Congratulatons to these Team Habitat members for their podium finishes!
  • Stephanie Wallace – 10k, 3rd place overall (female open)
  • Sumaya El-Attar – 10k, 1st place age group
  • Ariane Kjellquist – Duathlon, 2nd place age group
  • Dotty McLean – Duathlon, 3rd place age group
  • Lucas Schuldt – Kids Du, 3rd place
To see a few of our photos, click here.
To see a video from one of our volunteers, click here.

100 Years Young

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By Ariane Kjellquist

Maybe it’s the 700 steps of exercise that he completes every morning at the Wellness Center. Maybe it’s good genes. Maybe it’s loving family and friends. Maybe it’s staying active and engaged in the community. Whatever his “secret to longevity”, longtime Habitat volunteer and supporter Clarence Schmidt turned 100 on Sunday, May 1; and he’s not resting on his laurels.

Clarence regularly visits the Asheville Habitat office and ReStore. He attends Skyland United Methodist Church and is involved with activities at Givens Estates, the retirement community where he lives. And he plays Wii bowling every Tuesday with a group that, only in recent years, switched from regular bowling to the computerized version.

When Clarence comes to the office, we all stop what we’re doing and listen. The stories of his life radiate with love, faith and purpose.

The son of a minister, Clarence was born in St. Francis, Kansas in 1916. He lived in many different places including Colorado, Nebraska and Jerusalem.

He and his late wife Lucille met in Chicago, IL when he was a junior and she was a freshman at North Central College. They waited until she graduated to be married at Thorndike Hilton Chapel on the University of Chicago campus. In 2014, they celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary.

After searching high and low, their children pointed out that no greeting card company makes “Happy 75th Wedding Anniversary” cards – because very few couples reach that milestone. So they purchased a Happy 50th and a Happy 25th!

After marrying, he started his 44 year-long career with the YMCA. When he retired, he became a Habitat for Humanity volunteer; first in Tryon, NC and then for 20+ years with us at Asheville Area Habitat. He volunteered at the ReStore and on the ReStore truck loading and unloading donations until he was in his late 80’s. When his doctor advised him to find a less physically strenuous volunteer activity, he began collecting the recycling every week at the Habitat offices and taking it to the recycling center. It required less physical exertion, but he was still kneeling, squatting, lifting and pushing things around. He did this until he was age 97. Yes, 97.

Clarence exudes positivity and happiness like no one else I have ever met. He is always smiling.  Living to age 100 is impressive in and of itself. But Clarence did not just “make it” to 100. He is a centenarian who has, and continues to live a meaningful and active life, every day.  He is mentally acute and incredibly agile. I am not alone, when I say “I hope to be like Clarence some day.”

Clarence loves life and does not take it for granted. 100 years, two children, two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren later, Clarence says “I have had a wonderful life. I am so blessed.”

He knows what is important – family, friends, faith and purpose. Personally, I think that – and probably good genes, too – is the key to his longevity.

From all of us at Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, Happy 100th Birthday Clarence!

Celebrating Those Who Share Their Time and Talent

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Volunteers support Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity staff and homeowner families in every aspect of their work. Last year, 2,000 volunteers contributed more than 60,000 hours of service – at a value of more than $1.38 million, according to independentsector.org. Another way to look at it: the hours contributed by volunteers equates to having an additional 28 staff members working 40 hours each week!

Volunteers have been receiving notes, small gifts and special treats through out the week, as well as free lunch. Local SUBWAY® restaurant owners are again saluting approximately 2,000 Habitat for Humanity volunteers by providing boxed lunches at Habitat work sites in Asheville and across the Carolinas.

And there is no better time than this week to mention milestones. Two core volunteers, Joe Kane (ReStore) and Bob Swartz (Construction) have reached the 15 year milestone; Core construction volunteer Bill Kantonen, known as “singing Bill”, is celebrating 20 years as a volunteer with Asheville Area Habitat; and ReStore volunteers Jan Wright and Allen Laws have been volunteering for 25 years! Habitat is grateful for the commitment of these folks, and of all volunteers, whether they have helped once, or they help once a week.

Some fun facts about Habitat volunteers:

  • In 2015, through programs such as Global Village and Collegiate Challenge as well as the signature “Before the Jam, Lend a Hand” volunteer event, Asheville Area Habitat hosted volunteers from 31 different U.S. states!
  • Habitat utilizes about 135 volunteers in the ReStore each week.
  • It takes 1,650 hours of volunteer labor to build one Habitat house.
  • Core construction volunteers (those who volunteer on a weekly or bi-weekly basis) contributed 68% of total construction volunteer hours in 2015!

And if this isn’t enough, hear what our 12 month intern Emily Stevens has to say about Habitat and volunteerism in this short video clip.

Want to get involved? Please click here to learn more about volunteering and how to sign up. Thanks!

 

 

 

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Help us welcome two more families HOME on April 15th

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Thanks to an anonymous donation through the Community Foundation of WNC, Asheville Area Habitat launched it first-ever Business Bungalow House last summer. All donations to the house by local businesses, were matched (up to $25,000) by that caring donor. The response from the local business community was so strong that we were able to build not 1, but 2 Business Bungalow houses!

Booth family in front of house (10) Armstrong familyWe are grateful for all the donors who stepped up to help address the affordable housing crisis in our region by helping us build two more affordable, energy-efficient houses for two local families in need of safe, decent and affordable housing. Please join us for the dedication of these homes on Friday, April 15th at 3:30pm in our Hudson Hills neighborhood to welcome the Booth and Armstrong families HOME. Call Betsy at 828.210.9363 to RSVP. Space is limited!

Kraus/Cooper Cottage Celebrates Lifelong Dedication to Affordable Housing

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In 1988, Lew Kraus accepted a one-year position as Executive Director with Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity (AAHH). That one year commitment extended into 28 years of working to provide decent, affordable housing for families in our community. He will be retiring this spring.

Our organization is planning a number of events and initiatives to recognize and honor Kraus, the first of which was announced at an event celebrating the successful culmination of the organization’s $5M Building a Way Home campaign. To Kraus’ surprise, Board MeLew and Joan with signsmber Spencer Duin announced that the non-profit’s administrative building will be named in his honor. “You probably don’t realize it, but you are sitting in the Lewis J. Kraus Building,” he said to the audience. The signage will be installed this year.

Joan Cooper, long-time Family Services Director and Kraus’ wife, will retire as well. Duin announced that the Family Services Suite in the administrative building will be dedicated and named for Cooper’s own exceptional 26 years of service with the affiliate.

The organization has also decided that the most fitting way to honor the duo who made lifelong careers of helping families in need of safe, decent housing is to build a Habitat house in their name. The Kraus/Cooper Cottage will be built in Habitat’s Hudson Hills neighborhood and will
commence with a wall raising event at 12noon on Friday, February 26th.Donate to cottage button

Those who wish to give a gift to thank Lew and Joan for their dedicated service and wish them well in retirement are encouraged to donate to the Kraus/Cooper Cottage. (Please select Kraus/Cooper Cottage in Area of Support drop down menu.)

A new Executive Director will be named in the coming months and Kraus and Cooper will subsequently retire in March.

 

 

It’s time again for “Before the Jam, Lend a Hand”!

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Saturday, December 12 will mark the 27th Annual Christmas Jam, presented by Warren Haynes. To date, the Christmas Jam has raised more than $1.8m for Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, building houses and neighborhoods for hard-working low income Buncombe County families in need of safe, decent and affordable homes.

As in previous years, Habitat will again host local and out-of-town volunteers for Before the Jam, Lend a Hand. In the days leading up to the benefit concert, fans get involved – in a hands on way – with the cause that the Jam supports. Volunteers help both in the ReStore and on the construction site; on site, the volunteers help on various houses under construction, but some help to prepare the floor system and build the walls that will be raised at the Christmas Jam House wall-raising event on December 11th.

In our ReStore, we had Bryan Prim, Rich Granaas and Shawn Crisholm volunteering all day to make improvements to our well-worn conference room. They painted the room and removed carpet in preparation for new laminate flooring. Over a catered lunch from Village Wayside Bar & Grille, one of the lunch sponsors of the event, Shawn explained what led her and Rich to volunteer.

“We have been fans of Warren Haynes’ music forever, and we came to Asheville for the music,” she said (they recently moved here from Virginia). “This is our first time getting to volunteer with Habitat, though.”

It was this love of the music that led them to volunteering, and they even have a block on an online radio station dedicated solely to the music of Warren Haynes.

“We’ve been to the Jam before and we love the show and it’s for such a great cause,” Shawn said. “We’re really thankful that Habitat does this.”

The event is not just a way for music fans to get involved, but also a means for potentially new volunteers to begin with us at Asheville Area Habitat. Bryan Prim, while new to the area, has volunteered with another Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Pensacola, FL, where he racked up over 100 hours with them.

“When I moved, I looked to continue volunteering here,” Bryan said. “I believe in the cause.”

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Middle School Student Wins 3D Printing Contest!

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On Saturday, December 5th, the Asheville Habitat ReStore announced the winner of its 2nd annual “Habitat for the Holidays: 3D Printed Ornament Contest”, kicking off sales of the 3D printed winning design in the store. Jacob Whitten, a 7th grade student at Enka Middle School, was named this year’s winner out of more than 60 entries. He won a free 3D print of his design and had the choice of either a $100 ReStore gift card or a 3Doodler, a pen that prints in 3D. (He chose the latter.) His winning design is for sale for $5 per ornament at the Habitat ReStore, while supplies last. All proceeds of ReStore sales help support Habitat’s building programs.

Whitten submitted his design as an assignment in his “Project Lead the Way” class at Enka Middle School. A national provider of science, technology, engineering, and math programs, Project Lead the Way courses are designed to prepare students for a post-secondary education and careers in the global economy (pltw.org). In his submission, Whitten wrote that his ornament should be chosen “because of its spirit” and includes “the very special Peace House, to show the homes by Habitat for Humanity”. His ornament, depicting a snowman next to the house with mountains in the background, showcased the themes of the holidays in WNC and Habitat for Humanity, a requirement of the contest.

The fairly new contest is gaining attention: with only a handful of entries its first year, this year marked a surprising uptick with more than 60 entries. Although marketed both locally and nationally, most design submissions remained local, ranging from students to retirees.

A panel of judges objectively critiqued each ornament based on printability, creativity, aesthetics, and the theme relating to Habitat for Humanity and the holidays in Western North Carolina. Amateur designers were encouraged to enter the contest, and Spectra3D Technologies, the local 3D printing company sponsoring the contest, held a live webinar and posted links to free training and software resources on the contest’s webpage.

Next year’s submission timeline will run from October 1st until Thanksgiving. Check back here for details!

Asheville Area Habitat Volunteer Receives Statewide Award

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(extracted from NCHC press release)

At the recent NC Affordable Housing Conference in Raleigh, NC the North Carolina Housing Coalition (NCHC) honored individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help ensure North Carolinians have a safe and decent place to call home. Asheville Area Habitat’s own Spencer Duin (pictured, holding plaque) was the recipient of a statewide volunteer award! 

In recognition of his devotion and commitment to improving housing conditions for low-income families through volunteer commitment and sacrifice, NCHC presented the Sister Barbara Sullivan Award to Spencer. He has been an extraordinary volunteer and advocate for Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity (AAHH) since 2001, when he was employed with the Eaton Corporation. He has served as a jobsite volunteer, a member of the AAHH Board of Directors, Finance Committee, Golf Tournament Committee and Fund Development Committee, and on a work team that went to New Orleans in 2007. Spencer also chaired our $5 million Building a Way Home Campaign which was just successfully completed. This campaign provided enough land for 9 years of building, expanded AAHH’s ReStore and launched a Home Repair program that annually assists 40 community homeowners.

Outside of AAHH, Spencer serves on the North Dakota State University Foundation Board and chairs their Investment Committee. He also volunteered as an assistant in the math program at the French Broad River Academy. He and his wife Carol are active members of their local faith community and Building Bridges of Asheville, NC, and have a long history as foster care parents.

NCHC also honored Patricia “Pat” Garrett, formerly with The Affordable Housing Group and current NC Housing Finance Agency Board Member, with the Bill Rowe Service to Affordable Housing Award.

“Each of these leaders is a tremendous example of the great network of organizations and individuals who are working hard every day to produce more quality affordable housing in NC,” said Satana Deberry, NCHC Executive Director. “We need our political leaders to recognize the great work that is happening in affordable housing and provide more resources and governmental support so that everyone in NC can achieve an affordable place to live.  If we are going to remain a state with a great quality of life, planning for superior affordable housing near where people work and shop will be vital.  Each of these folks recognized today represent the work we need to build on if we are to make this a reality.”

 

Celebrating Our ReStore Volunteers

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by Jonathan Dermid

The bonding and teamwork among our volunteers is a common thread that links these blog profiles. Every week it seems, our volunteers share a similar sentiment – they love to volunteer because not only do they support the Habitat cause, but they also genuinely enjoy the bond they have with fellow volunteers.

So, it was very fulfilling to have so many of our volunteers under one roof as they ate, drank, and shared each others’ company at our annual Volunteer Appreciation Party at Highland Brewing Company. The event was graciously catered with homemade food from Alice Donnelly, chair of the Events Committee (and retired Asheville Area Habitat Accountant). The party also served as a way for us to celebrate the milestones of certain volunteers who have been with our affiliate for 5, 10, and 15 years.

The Enders, a partner family we highlighted in a previous blog post, offered remarks of gratitude before the awards ceremony. “We desired a home for a long time,” Michelle Ender said. “It’s a real blessing, and it changes our future completely. I’m very thankful that my children will have a place to call home.”

Michelle also shared her own experience in volunteering at the ReStore, saying “it really feels like a big family when I’m there.”

Lew Kraus, executive director of Asheville Area Habitat, shared a few words about how volunteering contributes to and ultimately shapes the work of Habitat. “I’m here to salute you for the wonderful things you have done and continue to do,” he said. “I reflect back on the many years I’ve spent here, and the true metrics of success are measured in the words of the Enders family. I don’t know how to measure the metrics when a family can come home at night, put their feet up, and say this is my home.”

While the event celebrated all ReStore volunteers, a handful were called out an recognized for longevity in service. Receiving the 5 year milestone award were Marge Marsh, Sheila Ray, Wally Lee, Norm Madden, Anne Tansey, Dick Hipp, Bill Kalavorich, and Tom Thompson. Denise Goodman and Sheri Waters received the 10 year award, getting their names on a plaque in addition to receiving a congratulatory pin. And Joe Kane, a volunteer of 15 years, received a hand-made copper tile (with a house design) to commemorate his many years of volunteer service.

Finally a very special award, the “Iron Man” award, was presented to our volunteer of 25 years, Allen Laws. ReStore General Manager Scott Stetson described him as being “just like family to us at the ReStore, and I think he gets as much out of helping us, as we do out of helping him.”

And so the night wound down, with the volunteers and staff gradually going their separate ways, the spirit of giving and selflessness filling the room. In only a couple hours’ time, the entire mission of Habitat for Humanity was conveyed by a simple dinner party, because without the efforts of the volunteers, there would be no party; there would be no Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity; there would be no homeowners receiving an opportunity to change their futures.

If you would like to be part of our life-changing work, click here to learn about volunteering.