Tag Archive for: Habitat for Humanity

Volunteers From all Over the Country Unite in Asheville

, ,

During the week of April 11-15, 14 individuals packed their bags with work clothes and boots and traveled to Asheville to build houses for families whom they had never met. While tourism in Asheville is growing, the city is also quickly becoming a hot volunteer destination. After four weeks of hosting Collegiate Challenge trips (think alternative spring break for students), Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity hosted an impressive Habitat for Humanity Global Village Team. Get ready to be inspired; this volunteer team was stacked! Some participants built in memory of a loved one, others came to bond with family members, and all of them are were here to do good. While they hailed from Florida, Wisconsin, New York, and other states, many of them have spent much of their lives living abroad.

Global Village is a program through Habitat for Humanity International that provides volunteers from all over the country and the world the opportunity to make a difference in another community. As timing is everything, this team couldn’t have planned it any better. Not only did they experience the “usual” agenda items of working on the construction site, having dinner with a Habitat partner family, and getting to do some sightseeing, but they were also able to attend a Habitat house “kickoff” event and we held a Habitat home dedication two days later. Did we mention that they were also here during National Volunteer Appreciation Week?

This Global Village trip was organized and led by local Habitat core volunteer, Charlie Franck. He and his wife Tricia spent their careers in education working in Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Kenya and Egypt. They have participated in and led many Global Village Trips over the years, where they met many of the people who were on this team. One friend and participant, who had heard stories about the Franck’s Global Village Trips for years wrote, “This is my opportunity to experience the thrill and challenge of giving back.” He had waited 30 years to participate in a Global Village Trip, and finally had a chance to do so.

A few more interesting facts about the team members:

  • They have participated in a combined 55 Global Village trips and six Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Projects!
  • There were four families participating together on this trip.
  • One participant has run in seven marathons, including three NYC Marathons.
  • One participant serves on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, PA and another serves on a Board committee for HFH of Philadelphia’s ReStore.
  • One participant is on staff at Habitat for Humanity Twin Cities.
  • One woman is an Oncologist at the University of Wisconsin, and one man is a student at the New School in New York studying Culture and Media.

We are so grateful for Charlie for bringing this great team to Asheville! Click here to view pictures of the team on our Hudson Hills jobsite.

 

Help us welcome two more families HOME on April 15th

, ,

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!

It’s March Madness Time!

,

March Madness is almost here, but for Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity that means an influx of college students spending their spring break volunteering rather than heating up the basketball courts. Each group brings 12-14 volunteers, funds, and a surge of energy that matches any overtime game.

This year we are hosting the following three Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge groups, as well as a high school team from Michigan.

Construction Services Volunteer Coordinator Stephanie Wallace noted, “We are thrilled to welcome three Collegiate Challenge teams AND a high school group this year. This is a great mix of old and new with Villanova and Battle Creek Academy joining us for the first time, while Lesley and Ramapo are returning for the 5th time!”

Lesley University student Audrey remarked, “Working with Habitat has been one of those experiences where you gain just as much as you give…One of the Core volunteers said something that stuck with me: ‘The people that do service are the type of people who I’d like to have as either close friends or neighbors’.’”

The groups are housed at Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, allowing them to enjoy the beauty of the mountains with access to hiking trails nearby. Each group will participate in a dinner with Habitat partner families who are in-process, allowing the volunteers an opportunity to get to know the people they are helping through their volunteer labor.

Past participant Victoria from Ramapo College, offered this reflection at the end of her alternative spring break with Asheville Habitat: “I think I really found myself by helping others, which is why when the partner families thank us, I just really wanted to thank them because without these opportunities to give back my life would be extremely different. Service has helped me find my passion and purpose in life and I’m so grateful for that.”

If you’d like to participate in some way (think: donate meals), please contact Stephanie at 828.210.9383 or swallace@ashevillehabitat.org.

AAHH Announces New Executive Director

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (February 2, 2016) — Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity today announced that Andy Barnett has been named as its new Executive Director. Barnett succeeds longtime Executive Director Lew Kraus, who has announced his retirement from the position.

Barnett comes to the affiliate from St. Paul, Minnesota, where he has been Coordinating Consultant for the Frogtown Rondo Home Fund for the last three years. Frogtown Rondo Home Fund is a unique collaboration of over 30 community, philanthropic, and local government organizations focused upon enriching the quality of life in the Frogtown and Rondo neighborhoods of St. Paul. The Frogtown Rondo Home Fund connects and enhances public and private housing resources and activities in a very diverse section of the city, seeking to bring visible stability to the area while addressing residents’ most pressing housing needs.

Prior to his three years with Frogtown Rondo Home Fund, Barnett was with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity for nearly 14 years. During his tenure with one of the most innovative Habitat affiliates in the nation, Barnett served in a variety of roles including Site Supervisor, Director of Construction, and Director of Community Development. In 2010, as interim Director of Programs and Services, he co-chaired the affiliate’s participation in the prestigious Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project, with responsibility for neighborhood engagement, family services, volunteerism, construction, logistics, gifts-in-kind, and events.

“Andy’s track record of hands-on leadership and experience with affordable housing initiatives at Twin Cities Habitat and Frogtown Rondo Home Fund will be great assets for both Asheville and Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity,” said David Whilden, Board chairman for the organization. “He comes to Asheville having made strong contributions to the cause of improving the lives of Twin Cities residents by building homes and stronger neighborhoods. We believe Andy is an excellent fit for our organization, our community, and our values of collaboration, opportunity, dignity, and empowerment.”

Barnett is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in Housing Studies. However, he is no stranger to Asheville and western North Carolina. He began his studies at Appalachian State University and started his career in affordable housing by helping establish a Habitat affiliate in Rockingham County, NC after attending a regional Habitat affiliate conference in Asheville that was held in 1993. Additionally, Barnett and his wife were married at the Asheville Botanical Gardens.

“The Board of Directors recognizes that we have been so fortunate to have someone with Lew Kraus’ tremendous character, energy, and capabilities as our leader for 28 years,” said Whilden. “The staff, homeowners, volunteers, donors, and supporters of Asheville Habitat have achieved remarkable things during this time. We are also very enthusiastic about having a leader succeed him, who will build upon that legacy and help achieve our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.”

Kraus added, “Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity is considered a model Habitat affiliate, and we are grateful to have Barnett’s experience with that organization here in Buncombe County. His involvement with so many facets of the Habitat operation will be especially valuable in his role as Executive Director. Additionally, his experience with a community-based organization like the Frogtown Rondo Home Fund will be a great asset as we address the challenges of affordable housing in our neighborhoods.”

Barnett will begin his work as Executive Director in March.

Kraus/Cooper Cottage Celebrates Lifelong Dedication to Affordable Housing

, ,

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.

 

 

Thank You Thrivent!

, , ,

by Jonathan Dermid

Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity is a multi-year, multi-million dollar mission partnership between Thrivent Financial and Habitat for Humanity International. Thrivent is the largest non-government partner and sponsor of Habitat for Humanity, and this is the eighth year that Thrivent Financial has sponsored a Habitat house here in Buncombe County. Each time, they have donated 50% of the affiliate’s construction costs ($75,693), which is nearly 1½ times the designated full-house sponsorship level.

This year’s Thrivent Builds House partner family is the Hodoroba family. Originally from Moldova, Ion and Natalya have lived in the Asheville area since 2010. For more than five years, Ion has worked as a forklift driver for Carolina Transportation. Natalya stays at home to raise the children. They have a 3 year old, 2 year old daughter and a newborn baby girl.

With unseasonably warm temperatures and under sunny skies, today was a beautiful day for the dedication of their new home. (Photos coming soon!) The family is thrilled to be moving from an old, moldy apartment to their new GreenBuilt NC home complete with a yard, in a neighborhood full of children. And they are grateful for their house sponsor, Thrivent Builds and the partnering churches, that helped make their dream of home ownership a reality.

Today’s dedication event was made even more special by our special guests. We are pleased to be hosting Thrivent volunteers from Ohio, Wisconsin, and elsewhere around the country. They are spending the week working on our jobsite as part of Thrivent Builds Worldwide, showing a solidarity that goes beyond Asheville. These Thrivent members, through their loyalty to and trust in Thrivent, are providing both funding to build Habitat houses and making a hands-on contribution by volunteering.

In addition to this visiting team, we have our local Thrivent partners to thank. “We’re fortunate to be partnered again with Abiding Savior, Emmanuel, Nativity, and St. Mark’s in our Thrivent Build, as these folks volunteered on the house and have really been the backbone of the construction,” Betsy Warren said. “If we didn’t have the full support of our Thrivent Financial representatives, this would not be possible, so we thank them for that.”

Ed Hauser is one of the Thrivent representatives that makes the Thrivent homes come together, acting as the Chapter Build Specialist and doing background work that involves things like writing grants and planning events for the local Thrivent chapter. “I’ve been involved on the college level with grant writing and applications,” Ed said, “so it was a natural fit to be able to work with the local Habitat affiliate, particularly an outstanding one like Asheville Area Habitat, to bring something like this to fruition.”

Ed’s drive to give back comes from his own childhood experience. “I grew up the oldest of 14 children, and we lived in a 1,200 square foot farmhouse with no running water and a wood-burning stove,” he said. “So I know what it’s like to live in poverty.”

This experience allowed him to gain an appreciation for helping others as he was helped, and sees his work with Thrivent Builds as an extension of that.

“I’m thankful for so many people who helped me along the way, particularly when it came to college, because I was the first one of my family to go to college,” he said. “So, the gratification for me comes from helping others in a similar way, and in terms of Christian love and sharing, Thrivent Builds with Habitat is just such a great opportunity to give back.”

We at Asheville Area Habitat appreciate this love and sharing, and thank all of our Thrivent partners for everything that they have done, and continue to do, in the name of service.

Asheville Area Habitat Volunteer Receives Statewide Award

, ,

(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

, , ,

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.

 

Two Former Government Employees Find Fulfillment and Fun at the ReStore

,

By Jonathan Dermid

If you’ve ever dropped off items on a Wednesday morning, you might never have guessed that two of the men helping you unload your donations are former employees of the US Department of State and the National Security Agency (NSA).

These two men are Bruce Ammerman(R), former foreign services agent for the State Department, and Dick Hipp (L), former technical writer for the NSA. In this photo, they are joking around with staffer Jason Butler (center).

Both men felt compelled to volunteer after retiring to Asheville, for similar reasons.

“I started volunteering because I moved to town, and I had retired, and I didn’t have anything to do with my time,” Bruce said. “I also think that it’s a laudable goal, making housing affordable for people who need it.”

Dick has a similar story of how he came to volunteer at the ReStore. “Pretty much like Bruce, I retired here from Washington D.C. and was looking for something to do that might be helpful to people,” Dick said. “I had a cycling friend that volunteered here and after asking him about it, I looked into it and I was interested. And since I’m not much of a handyman, I figured the loading dock sounded like a good fit.”

Dick worked for the NSA as a technical writer, which usually involved working with engineers and mathematicians and editing technical manuals and documentation.

He points to the social opportunities of volunteering here as another motivating factor, re-emphasizing the nature of teamwork that we have highlighted in past volunteer profiles.

“It’s nice to get out and have the opportunity to interact with people and work together with them for a goal; and I can do that here,” Dick noted.

For Bruce, volunteering was a venture that he only became able to do after retiring, and he exhibits a positive spirit in doing so.

“When I was working, I didn’t really do any volunteering because I was busy either with my family or with work, so I just didn’t have time,” Bruce said. “My dad volunteered for Meals on Wheels for decades, though, so I wanted to eventually do something similar in terms of volunteering.”

Bruce also points to a certain spirit of selflessness that permeates the volunteers at the ReStore and is worth honoring – it’s more for the sake of the cause than for individual praise. “I don’t think the people who volunteer here are necessarily interested in recognition,” he said. “Either something is worth doing or it’s not, but if it is a worthwhile endeavor, then it’s worth getting the word out.” In addition to volunteering in the ReStore, Bruce is also on our Outreach Committee so he can sometimes be found out in the community, staffing a Habitat table at a resource fair, for example.

Here at Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, we pride ourselves on our volunteers; both for their selflessness and for the breadth of past and present life experiences that unite under the common goals of Habitat for Humanity.

A big thanks to Dick, Bruce and all the volunteers who fuel our organization!

If you want to join our volunteer team, click here to read about opportunities or sign up for an orientation.

Another Successful Day of Caring

, , ,

by Jonathan Dermid

Today, September 10th, United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County celebrated their 24th annual Day of Caring through their Hands On volunteer program. The Day of Caring is a volunteer program run through United Way that connects companies, organizations and individuals with United Way partner agencies and provides them with a hands-on opportunity to make a difference in their community.

It equips and mobilizes workforce volunteers and other volunteer groups to strengthen our community by matching these groups with service projects to benefit Asheville and Buncombe County nonprofits, schools and public entities.

Today, at the Habitat Asheville ReStore, we had the privilege of hosting volunteers from Biltmore Farms Hotels who assisted with repairs, cleaning, and preparation of items to be sold in the ReStore during this Saturday’s BIG SALE. They helped out immensely and the ReStore is grateful for their service!

Two teams from Southeastern Container partnered with us too and assisted with both home repair and construction. At the Edwards’ home in West Asheville, our Habitat supervisors Lawrence Lippard and Joel Johnson led a group in building a ramp for the family. In our Hudson Hills neighborhood, another group laid six pallets of sod, and painted the porch and interior of our Business Bungalow House.

We are grateful for the participation of these volunteer teams and applaud the United Way for organizing yet another successful day-long community-wide volunteer initiative.

A big THANK YOU to Fairfield Inn & Suites South/Biltmore Square and Southeastern Container employees for all of your hard work today! We hope you had a good time while doing good work!

Tag Archive for: Habitat for Humanity

Tag Archive for: Habitat for Humanity

Nothing Found

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria