Mr & Mrs H

Highlights from National Rebuilding Day

Collage of 3 projects
National Rebuilding Day (NRD), our signature annual event, is made possible by our partnerships with local faith, corporate and community partners. Our partners financially support their projects and recruit House Captains who mobilize volunteers, plan repairs, and coordinate all the details to make the workday a success for their teams and the homeowners they are serving. Our partners and volunteers are motivated by the desire to give back and make the homes of our neighbors safe and healthy. After missing two National Rebuilding Days due to the pandemic our partners were eager to rejoin us for NRD 2022.

Annandale Christian Community for Action (ACCA), King of Kings Lutheran Church and Washington Building Congress (WBC) are longtime partners for NRD, and each team brings an amazing set of skills and enthusiasm to their projects. “The last few years have shown us the importance of having a safe place to call home,” said Patti Klein, RT-AFF Executive Director. “The critical repairs being made not only on National Rebuilding Day, but year-round are improving the physical and mental health of our neighbors, increasing their safety and sense of independence and are improving their economic security and sense of community connection.”

ACCA/RT-AFF’s 35+ Year Partnership
ACCA put together two teams this year as they have done for many National Rebuilding Days during our 35+ years as partners in safe and healthy housing. ACCA Team #2 included volunteers from Ravensworth Baptist, John Calvin Presbyterian and Providence Presbyterian Churches ranging in age from college students to retirees. The team helped Mr. and Mrs. D, a couple in their 80’s who have lived in their Alexandria home for 41 years. Mrs. D spends much of her time caring for Mr. D who is blind, hearing impaired and uses a walker. His safety is her biggest concern, and due to their age and disabilities they also had a lot of deferred maintenance projects to be tackled.

House Captain Brian Meli, assisted by co-captains Jim and Laurie Lewis and Woody Woodburn divided the work among eight task leaders. Critical repairs included improving drainage and downspouts to move water away from the home to keep it dry, repairing rotten flooring near the furnace, sealing leaking windows, gaps and cracks for better temperature control and to keep pests out of the home, securing handrails and adding grab bars to prevent falls and changing out regular light bulbs with LED bulbs to make the home brighter and help prevent falls. The team also did a major yard clean-up and improved the landscaping around the home. “I’m really proud of our eight task leaders and how they divided and conquered the work,” said House Captain Brian Meli. “Everyone came together to help paint the kitchen after their tasks were completed, which brought great joy to Mrs. D and gave the entire team a boost at the end of a long day.” Click to see  ACCA Team #2 Flickr Album and the ACCA Team #1 Album.

King of Kings Lutheran Church Assists Chantilly Family
Mrs. B’s knees don’t work as well as they used to, and she had fallen on the long sloping stairway leading to her car. Led by House Captain Oscar von Bredow and co-captain Bert Roepe, the King of Kings Lutheran Church team constructed an outside railing and added second railings to the inside stairways so Mrs. B can safely get up and down the stairs. The team installed grab bars in the bathroom, made plumbing and electrical repairs, repaired walls and doors, installed a new storm door, cleaned up the yard, installed smoke/co detectors and much more. Mrs. B and her family, who have lived in their home for 26 years, were so inspired by the amount of work the team was able to accomplish in a short time that they arranged for several family members to visit and help paint the newly repaired walls. Mrs. B wrote a lovely thank you email and said, “Your generosity went beyond a day’s work; it filled our hearts with hope and a real feeling of community.” Mrs. B can now use her stairs without the fear of falling, walk down the long walkway to her car holding onto a sturdy railing, and she and her entire family can take pride in their safe home. You can read Mrs. B’s letter and watch an interview with her and 3 other homeowners about their experiences with RT-AFF in our recent video.   Click here to see King of Kings Project Flickr album.

building a railing

Washington Building Congress Brings Pro Team to Help Alexandria Couple
Washington Building Congress (WBC) is a commercial trade association consisting of businesses from the real estate, design, and construction community – a perfect partner for National Rebuilding Day. House Captain Juliane Medd brought together a skilled team of industry professionals to help Mr. and Mrs. H with repairs and modifications at their Alexandria home. Mrs. H is a wheelchair user and was not able to leave their home without assistance, so the installation of a ramp was a top priority for the team. Team member firms provided professional electricians, plumbers, carpenters, landscapers, and other volunteers to complete repairs and modifications including the installation of the ramp, a stove top vent, double stair railings, LED light fixtures, GFCI outlets, a comfort height toilet and bathroom grab bars. The WBC team helped the family by clearing out and disposing of old furniture, building shelves, and organizing their pantry and storage. The project had a large outdoor component, so the Landscape Team was busy clearing out the overgrowth and brought in a bobcat to haul out sections of a tree that had fallen years before. “Mr. H has a lot of pride in his property, and was especially proud of his blueberry bushes,” said House Captain Juliane Medd. “We cleared a path so he could get to the blueberries easily. Mr. H was overwhelmed with gratitude for all the work but especially the small touches that showed we were listening, and we cared about him and his wife.”
Click here to see the WBC Project Flickr album.

“It takes a tremendous amount of compassion, organization and coordination to develop good rapport with the homeowner and pull off a one-day project” said Patti Klein, RT-AFF Executive Director. “We are truly grateful to our partners and all the volunteers who came out for National Rebuilding Day to make life-changing repairs and modifications for our neighbors in need.”

Washington Building Congress NRD Team

National Rebuilding Day Was a Great Success!

Goodwill and hard work echoed throughout Arlington, Fairfax, and Falls Church (and around the country) on Saturday, April 30. Our faith and corporate partners, our individual volunteers who formed teams, and the professionals recruited to solve complex problems came together to support our neighbors in need.

Andrew Dumont Recognized as 40 Under 40 Leader

Andrew Dumont, Chair of the Rebuilding Together-AFF Board, was recognized as an emerging leader in the Leadership Center for Excellence and Leadership Fairfax 40 Under 40 program. The 40 young honorees were recognized for their exceptional and impactful leadership in their professional and personal spheres within the Northern Virginia region. “This year’s honorees demonstrate exemplary vision, adaptability, and care of others,” said Lisa Fikes, President and CEO of the Leadership Center for Excellence. “With so much changing in the world today, these leadership traits are needed and worth celebrating.

CEO and President of Leadership Fairfax, Karen Cleveland, stated, “We at Leadership Fairfax are beyond ecstatic to partner with our friends at the Leadership Center for Excellence to honor some of the best and brightest young leaders in our community. Each and every one is exceptional, and I cannot wait to see the impact they make in the future.

Andrew joined the RT-AFF Board in 2016 and became Chair in 2021 after serving as Vice Chair for two years. Andrew was a key member of RT-AFF’s leadership team for the NeighborWorks America Excellence in Governance (EIG) Program and has helped RT-AFF achieve lasting and adaptive change by creating the framework and process for our strategic planning. He has transformed the way the board operates and makes high level strategic and critical decisions.

“Andrew is passionate about our mission and takes every opportunity to improve Rebuilding Together-AFF,” said Patti Klein, Executive Director. “He has continually increased his leadership role and has created an inclusive and positive environment for all who serve and are served. We are grateful for his leadership in our mission of repairing homes, revitalizing communities and rebuilding lives.”

National Rebuilding Day

April 30 is National Rebuilding Day!

Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church (Rebuilding Together AFF) will host more than 300 volunteers to repair 15 homes and nonprofit residential facilities on National Rebuilding Day – April 30, 2022 

Teams of volunteers from our faith and corporate partners will serve older adults, families with children, veterans,and two nonprofit housing services by making a variety of critical home repairs, including: flooring repairs and replacement, weatherization repairs, handrail replacements, accessibility modifications like grab bars and raised toilets, painting, landscaping, and other deferred maintenance items. The repairs are provided free of charge to our neighbors in need, who are often faced with diminishing resources and must choose food and medicine over critical home repairs. 

According to the National Center for Healthy Housing, 45 million homes in the United States have at least one serious home hazard present; these have the capacity to directly impact a family’s physical health and safety.

“The last few years have shown us the importance of having a safe place to call home,” said Patti Klein, Rebuilding Together AFF Executive Director. “The critical repairs being made not only in April, but year-round are improving the physical and mental health of our neighbors, increasing their safety and sense of independence and are improving their economic security and sense of community connection.”

Rebuilding Together AFF has been a leader in safe and healthy housing in our region since 1988. To date we’ve gathered over 70,000 volunteers who have made repairs and modifications on more than 2,500 homes and nonprofits. Our volunteers have provided over $15 million in donated labor.

National Rebuilding Day originated in 1973 in Midland, Texas with volunteers helping neighbors rebuild their homes. The group founded Rebuilding Together, at the time “Christmas in April,” and gathered around a month of service each year in April. The mission then grew beyond the idea of providing service one month per year to bringing volunteers together to provide neighbors in need with critical repairs year-round. 

Please donate to support safe and healthy homes for everyone.

#WeAreRebuilders

Bob Austin Head shot

Bob Austin Receives 2022 Privilege Award

Bob Austin, a longtime Rebuilding Together-AFF volunteer was honored with the Bernie L. Bates Foundation Privilege Award for 2022. This is the highest form of recognition bestowed by the Board of Directors of the Foundation and was presented to Bob for his outstanding service to the Fairfax County community. This year’s award recognizes a person who most closely follows the tenets and principals practiced by the late Col. (Ret.) Marion “Barney” Barnwell. Barney served on the RT-AFF board and served as a House Captain for more than 30 National Rebuilding Day projects. Barney consistently demonstrated his passion to “pay it forward” through his community involvement and volunteerism.

Bob’s lifelong service to others epitomizes the example that Barney set for us all in helping others at every opportunity.

Bob started volunteering with us 18 years ago as a member of his church team for National Rebuilding Day. After retiring he joined our pool of skilled individual volunteers and started volunteering with us year-round.

Bob’s skills and savvy home remodeling skills and his desire to do more prompted him to become a Rebuilding Together Express team leader to help low-income seniors continue to live safely in their homes. As a member of the Rebuilding Together AFF Program Committee, Bob helped develop Worksite Safety COVID-19 Protocols to keep our clients and volunteers safe – and allow our small teams to continue working through the pandemic to help those at great risk of health and safety hazards in their homes. Over the past five years Bob has led or worked on more than 75 projects and was one of a handful of volunteers who worked tirelessly through the pandemic. This past year Bob and our other RT Express Team Leaders were recognized by Volunteer Fairfax as Social Advocacy Group of the Year.

In keeping with the inspiring example that Barney set, Bob exemplifies the meaning of volunteerism through the amazing work he does with Rebuilding Together and for so many other community groups including co-chairing a co-op that provides food to over 200 families each month and picking up 2,000 pounds of food each week. He is actively involved in the Fairfax County Faith Community in Action volunteer program, a trustee and building manager for a nonprofit on the Rt. 1 Corridor and volunteers with several other groups. We are very fortunate that Bob lives in our community and takes the time and effort to make a tangible difference for those in need.

We offer our most sincere congratulations and thanks to Bob.

 

Board of Directors Graphic

RT-AFF Recognizes Retiring Board Members

Three dedicated board members retired from the RT-AFF board in January, and we’d like to recognize their outstanding service. “Bruce, Jean and Julie exemplify the meaning of volunteerism. They are each passionate about people, giving of their time and want to make real differences in our community,” said Patti Klein, RT-AFF Executive Director. “We truly appreciate all they have done during their tenures with RT-AFF.”

Bruce Jolly and Tony Poole

Bruce Jolly (l) and Tony Poole

Bruce Jolly began his volunteer service with RT-AFF in 1989 as a member of the St. Peter’s Episcopal, Arlington National Rebuilding Day team and was the first person to volunteer to help us become an independent nonprofit organization when we began the process in 2010. Bruce served as Vice Chair of the board for several years and provided ongoing legal advice and support. Bruce, along with his co-captains at St. Peter’s, led National Rebuilding Day teams that made repairs and modifications to 33 homes and nonprofits, primarily in Arlington. “I’ve enjoyed serving on the board of RT-AFF and helping homeowners,” said Bruce. “I’ve received a lot in return – mainly the joy of working together with friends and colleagues to get a job done and to make our community a better place.”

Jean Edwards (l) and Megan Robbins

Jean Edwards first came to RT-AFF to do a team project with a group from EMC, now part of Dell Technologies. She led her team on many projects including working on several homes and two USO facilities. Jean captained our first “She-Build” project with a team from Dell Technologies’ Women in Action DC/MD/VA Chapter in October 2021. Jean served as Secretary of our board, Chair of the Development Committee, and was an integral member of our Excellence in Governance team. “The Excellence in Governance program allowed me to grow as a leader and expand my skills to improve the RT-AFF Board,” said Jean. “My service to RT-AFF was all about giving to others and I appreciated the opportunity to make this valuable gift and to expand kindness and hope to our community.”

 

Patti and Julie

Patti Klein with Julie Hill (r)

Julie Hill was the first Chair of the RT-AFF board and led us through a successful transition from a program of another organization to becoming an independent nonprofit that was formally established in 2011. Julie began volunteering as a team member with Navy Federal Credit Union in 1991 and quickly saw the opportunity to take on a more significant role as a team leader. Over 23 years she led 1,350 volunteers to work on 25 homes, nonprofit group homes, schools and a USO. Julie received a 2019 Fairfax County Volunteer Service Award for her work with RT-AFF and in our community. Under Julie’s leadership the RT-AFF board completed an 18-month Excellence in Governance program and developed a strategic plan to shape the course of our organization. Julie’s passion to help reaches beyond our local community. In times of crisis, she volunteered with other RT affiliates to rebuild homes in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and in New York City after Hurricane Sandy.

We offer our sincere thanks to Julie, Jean and Bruce for all they have done to help make RT-AFF a resilient and strong organization, and for their commitment to safe homes and communities for everyone.

Daniel with volunteers

RT-AFF Builds Ramps to help People with Disabilities Remain in Their Homes

Don cutting lumberRamps are critical to help many homeowners with disabilities safely enter and exit their homes. RT-AFF volunteers and staff have built five ramps since July 2021. Some of the homeowners we’ve helped were unable to get out of their homes for critical medical appointments without assistance from first responders or very strong friends to lift them. Other homeowners risked falling each time they left their home, so they became isolated.

The ramps we build allow homeowners to leave their homes safely and without fear. Ramps allow them to make more trips to get medical care, make more choices in their daily activities, reconnect with family and friends and safely age in place.

Each ramp requires a lot of planning and design. We take into consideration the specific point of entry to the home, space limitations, the slope of the property, and the maximum slope allowable for ramps.

Collage of photos
Some ramps are fairly simple, like the one we built for Daniel in Fairfax (pictured above). Materials cost about $250 and a team of four volunteers spent about 19 hours on the design, buying and delivering materials, and building the ramp.

Ramp almost complete
In contrast, Angela lives in a mobile home in Alexandria. The front door of her home is elevated 30” above the sidewalk. Materials for her ramp cost close to $1,500 and our team spent about 150 hours designing and constructing the ramp (pictured above).


Thanh’s ramp at his home in Falls Church was built inside an enclosed porch with a concrete floor, so our team didn’t have to dig footers and pour concrete. Still, planning and building the ramp and repairing the walkway from the ramp to the front of the home took about 120 hours. Thanh and his wife are extremely happy to have safe access to their home.

Our volunteers love the teamwork and camaraderie of working together to build ramps and make other accessibility modifications and repairs. Our volunteers, donors and partners make all this work possible so homeowners in need can live safely in their own homes.

Visit our Flickr to see more photos of our ramp projects and other repairs and modifications we’ve made to help homeowners in need.

Volunteers working

Amazon Web Services Fall Rebuilding Day

Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church (RT-AFF) is excited to kick off a new collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS’s head of Global Social Impact Maggie Carter was familiar with Rebuilding Together having previously led Day of Service projects in Dallas, TX and Los Angeles, CA when she was driving community relations and social responsibility at the National Basketball Association. The AWS Global Social Impact team works alongside governments, nonprofits, international aid organizations, academia, and private entities to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges by applying AWS’s resources including cloud computing technology and expertise as well as volunteer and financial support.

The AWS team of 12 skilled, hardworking volunteers came together on a sunny fall day in November 2021 to assist Mrs. B, an 87-year-old homeowner in Springfield. “We are thrilled that Maggie and the team from Amazon Web Services joined us for a Fall Rebuilding Day,” said Patti Klein, RT-AFF Executive Director. “They put together a great team with many rebuilding skills, they were passionate about helping and they had fun too.”

“Supporting the individuals and communities is a priority for our team. It is gratifying to be able to roll up our sleeves with Rebuilding Together to support members of the local community,” said Maggie Carter, Global Social Impact Lead, AWS. “We’re proud to support Rebuilding Together and it’s mission to uplift the community by revitalizing neighborhood homes.”

Mr. and Mrs. B were the original owners of their home. They took great pride in their home, and Mr. B, a veteran of the Korean War, was very handy and maintained the home himself. After Mr. B died, Mrs. B did her best to keep up, but the list of needed repairs and safety modifications kept growing. Her front stoop had sunk so she lugged two cinder blocks over to serve as steps. Each bathroom had a different problem and not one was fully functional, water was pooling around the foundation during rainstorms, pests were getting into the home and her yard was overgrown.

The team worked hard and with great enthusiasm all day. Inside the home volunteers installed smoke detectors, a fire extinguisher and long-lasting LED lights so all the rooms, hallways and stairways are brighter and safer. The team installed a new, sturdy railing on Mrs. B’s stairs and grab bars in her bathrooms to reduce her risk of falling.  They also made a few plumbing repairs and caulked the bathrooms and then a plumber was hired to take care of more complex repairs. Mrs. B’s bathrooms are now fully functional and safe.

Outside, volunteers built a new front step so Mrs. B can safely enter and leave her home. A tripping hazard created by the uneven front walkway was repaired, and they cleaned the gutters so water is carried away from the foundation and doesn’t pool in the yard. The team cleaned up the yard, trimmed trees that were encroaching on the house, and removed ivy that was growing on the house. Holes in the siding that were allowing pests to get inside were filled, and the volunteers pressure washed the siding and even washed Mrs. B’s car. Mrs. B was incredibly grateful for the help and at the end of the day told the volunteers “I love each of you and appreciate your work, efforts, and your energy. I know when you go to the next place that you will affect that homeowner the same way.”

The AWS team corrected 11 health and safety priorities and now Mrs. B’s home meets all 25 Rebuilding Together Health and Safety Priorities, making her home safe, healthy and livable.

See more photos on our Flickr.

Volunteers making safety repairs

Volunteers working

Volunteers working on roof

Our Year in Review

All of us at Rebuilding Together Arlington/ Fairfax/ Falls Church want to express our deepest appreciation for our supporters and volunteers who have made our work possible, even during such challenging times. In 2021, our volunteers gave 3,200 hours to help us complete 89 projects (86 houses and 3 nonprofits). That amounts to $209,000 in donated labor!

80% of the households we help qualify as Very Low or Extremely Low income and could never afford these vital repairs and modifications on their own. We truly could not do this without your support.  Please take a few minutes to watch our video and read our Year in Review to see how our services have touched many lives this past year and how the efforts of our volunteers, donors and partners add up to a significant community impact. We look forward to another successful year!

Click on the images below to open our Year in Review and to view our slideshow:
Year in Review

 

 

Helping Ms. P Breathe More Easily

Volunteers removing carpetingOur neighbor Ms. P has lived in her home for 23 years. She raised a big family and had a good job with the federal government. She yearned to be in a helping field, so she went to night school to become a medical assistant. She dreamed of helping babies and older people. Then, due to health complications she had to stop working, and stop going to school.

Ms. P is proud, self-sufficient, and doesn’t like to ask for help. Then she realized she was no longer able to go up and down her stairs safely. And when her doctor told her that the old carpeting in her living rooms was contributing to her breathing problems, she accepted that she couldn’t do everything on her own.

Our volunteers made essential repairs to help make her home safe again, all a zero cost to Ms. P.

OurVolunteers showing new floor volunteers installed grab bars in her bathroom, a second stair rail and LED light fixtures to brighten her kitchen, hallway and stairway. But the thing that brought the most joy to Ms. P was her new living room floor. Our team removed the old wall to wall carpeting and replaced it with vinyl plank flooring, removing a major source of allergens and asthma triggers and helping Ms. P breathe more easily.

Ms. P sent us a lovely handwritten note, saying in part, “Thank you for all you do for the people you bring joy to… Please know you are making a difference and you are appreciated.” (Ms. P’s letter is included at the bottom of this page).

Through our years of helping our community, we know just how much a safe and healthy home brings a new sense of hope to a senior aging in place, a family trying to make ends meet, or a disabled person who wants to remain in their home.

The last two years have challenged all of us in new and unexpected ways. We have felt that keenly at Rebuilding Together-AFF when talking to the neighbors we serve.

Your support can help make a year that has been difficult for everyone a little better. Please support our work with the most generous contribution you can. Your gift will bring warmth, safety and caring into the home of someone right here in our area.

With your support, we are able to help neighbors like Ms. P.

Click here to make a tax deductible contribution, or mail your gift to:

RT-AFF, 10723 Main St, Ste 135, Fairfax, VA 22030