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.

 

Announcing 2nd Annual “Habitat for the Holidays: 3D Printed Ornament Contest”

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If you missed it last year, now is your chance to enter the second annual “Habitat for the Holidays: 3D Printed Ornament Contest”! 3D printing is all the rage, and here is your chance to dip your toes in the water or, show us your skills if you’ve already got ‘em.

LEARN:

Learn to design in the third dimension!
Spectra3D Technologies has recorded a live webinar and lists other resources on the contest page to get you started in 3D printing. Novices are encouraged to enter!

DESIGN:

Design a holiday ornament using free software available online.

ENTER:

Enter your design into Asheville Habitat ReStore’s 2nd Annual “Habitat for the Holidays: 3D Printed Ornament Contest” via the link below.

WIN:

The winning design will be 3D printed as ornaments and sold to the public at the Habitat ReStore. Proceeds benefit Habitat’s building programs. The winner will receive his or her choice of a ReStore gift card valued at $100 or a 3Doodler 3D Pen, as well as a free 3D print of his or her ornament.

Contest runs now through December 1st. Winner will be announced December 5th at the Asheville Habitat ReStore, where a live 3D printing demo will take place from 10AM to 2PM. The winning 3D printed ornament will be available for sale.

3D-Presented by

 

On Sale Day and Every Day, Volunteers Contribute to ReStore Success

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by Jonathan Dermid

Last Saturday, September 12th, we celebrated the ongoing support of our wonderful community with the annual Fall Customer Appreciation Sale at the ReStore. The celebration was an all-day affair, with everything from a live remote by 98.1 The River and a free hot dog lunch, to a special Silent Auction with items donated by the Grove Park Inn. These things, in addition to the 25% discount, were just a few ways for us to say thank you to the generous community who supports Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity by shopping, donating and volunteering at the ReStore.

Speaking of volunteering…In order for this event to come together seamlessly, 38 caring volunteers donated a combined total of 125 hours between Friday night (preparation) and Saturday (sale day)! This effort included everything from setting up merchandise to be sold (well into the evening on Friday) and answering customer questions, to diligently running the registers and helping load much of the large merchandise that was sold on Saturday.

ReStore volunteer coordinator Carrie Burgin pointed out, “This effort is not unique to Sale days. Our fantastic volunteers are the backbone of the ReStore, and their service keeps us running to support the affordable housing cause every day. But, the combined initiative that was shown last weekend displayed the essence of what we all take pride in here at Habitat: a kind of selfless giving of time and energy for the betterment of our community that not only made the Fall Sale a success, but continuously makes the Asheville Habitat ReStore a positive place to be.”

From all of us at Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, a big thanks to you – our community – for allowing us to serve you. And of course, Thank You to all the volunteers who worked so hard last weekend (and every day). We appreciate you!

If you’d like to learn more about volunteering at the ReStore or in another department, please click here.

ReStore Silent Auction Celebrates 10 Years & Another Home for a Local Family

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In May 2005, Habitat volunteer Alan Williams set up the very first ReStore Silent Auction. In the ten years since its inception, the auction has raised $670,000, grown to be an important part of the Asheville ReStore, and is now the envy of Habitat ReStores around the nation. Williams still manages the auction but today he has help from staff and other volunteers.

The auction, like the ReStore itself, provides funds for Habitat’s building programs. The ReStore Silent Auction House currently being built in West Asheville will become home to the Frisbee family this fall. At the close of the auction on May 27th, there was a small celebration with the Frisbee family. WLOS interviewed Williams and Deanna Frisbee, and ReStore customers and Habitat supporters had the opportunity to meet the Frisbee family and sign a guest book and a stud wall. The signed 2×4 studs will used in the construction of a Habitat house.

To commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Silent Auction, Williams and a small team of staff and volunteers curated a collection of mid-century furniture including Norman Cherner molded plywood chairs, a set of six J.L. Moller Model chairs, a L. Jacobson Model table with 2 extending leaves, and other collectible items. The set of six J.L. Moller Model chairs went for more than $1,100 – still a bargain since they’ve sold recently on eBay for twice that amount. Plus, ReStore purchases help build Habitat homes, so it was a win-win.

“We thought a mid-century furniture focus would be fun for the 10th Anniversary auction because this design style is so hot right now,” said Susan Haynes, ReStore Sales Manager. “We feel extremely fortunate to have received these incredible donations and by including them in the special 10th Anniversary auction, we hope to generate some buzz in the ReStore, expand the community’s awareness of our Silent Auction, and help ensure that these special pieces end up in a home where they will be appreciated and loved for many years to come.”

The auction included many other non mid-century items too.

To see photos from the event, please click here.