Rebuilding Together – AFF is Top-Rated Nonprofit for 2019

“We are honored to be named a 2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit,” says Patti Klein, RT-AFF Executive Director.

“We are proud of our accomplishments his year and want to extend our thanks and share this award with all of our volunteers and supporters.”

The Top-Rated Nonprofit Award is the based on the rating and number of reviews that Rebuilding Together – AFF received from volunteers, donors
and homeowners. One of our reviewers wrote “Volunteering with RT-AFF has been very enlightening as far as seeing others in need, and how kindhearted volunteers step up to help when and where they can. This non-profit brings out the best in people, and has been a heartwarming experience for me personally.”
“Rebuilding Together – AFF is a great example of a nonprofit making a real difference in their community,” said Perla Ni, CEO of GreatNonprofits, “Their award is well-deserved recognition not only of their work, but the tremendous support they receive, as shown by the outstanding reviews they have received from people who have direct experience volunteering with them.”

American Trucks Positive Payload Program Supports RT-AFF

Rebuilding Together – AFF is pleased to announce that we’ve received a contribution from the American Trucks Positive Payload Program. American Trucks established the Positive Payload program in April 2017 to support non-profit organizations using pickup trucks in field work that improves local communities.

RT-AFF doesn’t own a truck, but we are fortunate that a several of our volunteers regularly bring their trucks to help us get materials and supplies to our project sites to help homeowners in need in our community.

You can learn more about the Positive Payload program here:

Pictured below are (l-r) Scott Cambell, Doug Chapin, Alberto Chalmeta, Rich DiGiovanna, and Dick Meyers. The truck belongs to Dick Meyers, who’s been volunteering for Rebuilding Together-AFF more than 20 years. The team was making repairs for a Fairfax homeowner including repairing her back fence and shed door, air sealing her attic for energy efficiency, and installing a grab bar, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and a fire extinguisher.



RT-AFF Welcomes Dawn Wilson to our Board of Directors

We are very pleased to welcome new board member Dawn Wilson.

Dawn brings extensive legal and real estate experience to our Board of Directors.  Dawn strongly believes in the power of community and how everyone can help each other. She looks for the win-win in every situation and how she can make connections to bring the right people together for the best solutions. “I enjoy working to improve my community and I’m very impressed with Rebuilding Together – AFF. Patti’s dedication, along with the dedication of the board, staff and volunteers, is making our community better,” remarked Dawn. “I understand the challenges of aging in place and I’m looking forward to helping people in need continue to live safely in their own homes.”

Dawn is a Certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) and has gone through specialized training to understand the special needs of senior citizens. She’s also certified in divorce real estate and probate real estate, areas where special understanding of the sensitivities and dynamics of her clients is critical to successfully representing and caring for them. Dawn is married with two children and has lived in Arlington for over 26 years. She’s worked in both law and real estate, developing her expertise as a “connector” to help clients, colleagues and the non-profit organizations she serves find great solutions. Dawn is a Realtor® with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty. She graduated from New York University School of Law with a JD in 1993 and from Hofstra University in 1989, summa cum laude, with a BBA in Finance and Banking.

Fannie Mae – 7 Days to SERVE

We couldn’t have asked for better weather or a more dedicated group of volunteers as we partnered with Fannie Mae during 7 Days to SERVE, their concentrated week of community service activities. During 7 Days to SERVE Fannie Mae employees volunteer with non-profit partners like Rebuilding Together -AFF who provide services to address housing related issues and build more sustainable communities. “7 Days to SERVE gives us the opportunity to support the communities where we live and work,” said Carla Nelson, Community Relations Specialist. “And it helps our employees by fostering long lasting relationships, provides leadership opportunities and helps people grow both personally and professionally.”

On our first day together a team of Fannie Mae volunteers made safety repairs for Mrs. B at her home in Arlington. She’s lived there for 51 years and takes great pride in making sure things are neat and tidy, but larger repairs and maintenance projects are beyond her means and abilities. That’s why volunteers like the Fannie Mae team are important.

“I wanted a project that was not only going to help someone in need, but also let me and my team get out of the office, get a little dirty and work with our hands,” said Fannie Mae team leader Mark Ribeiro.  “Since we are an IT organization we spend a lot of time doing “brain” work. Volunteering to help RT-AFF and Mrs. B gave my group an opportunity to bond, and perhaps try some tasks/tools that were new to them.”  Read more

Meet Jon Armstrong – RT-AFF Director of Programs

Jon Armstrong

Jon Armstrong joined our staff in January as Director of Programs. Born in Canada, Jon spent the first half of his career in Toronto in the construction industry. In 1993 he moved his family, including two small children, to Costa Rica to pursue his passion for construction in the growing tropical market. Over the course of 24 years Jon built 75 homes around San Jose, Costa Rica. He employed a diverse workforce of 60 including carpenters, electricians, plumbers, masons and painters, and oversaw the work of subcontractors. In 2017 his wife’s company relocated them to Arlington so Jon closed his business. As a retiree he enjoyed getting to know Arlington, remodeled his new home and re-learned how to live in four seasons.

Fortunately, RT-AFF Board Member Allen Schirmer met Jon during the Arlington Home and Garden Show and eagerly recruited him to volunteer. Jon worked on several projects with our year-round volunteers including building ramps, replacing a sliding glass door and installing a stair lift. When Jon learned that the Director of Programs position was open he re-evaluated how he was spending his time in Arlington and applied for the position. “I was a workaholic and enjoyed running my company and building homes for executives and business owners in Costa Rica,” he said. “I served on community boards of directors but I never had a hands-on role in a non-profit. I’m looking forward to giving back.”

“Jon has an incredible background in residential development and project management,” remarked Patti Klein, Executive Director. “We saw his passion and drive to do great work while he was a volunteer and that made a big impact on our hiring decision.”

Jon jumped right in and is feeling at home. He’s been working with staff to learn our processes, meeting with homeowners to assess homes and understand the needs in our community and gearing up for National Rebuilding Day. “I’m looking forward to meeting all of our House Captains and key volunteers and learning from everyone,” stated Jon. We hope that each one of you gets a chance to meet Jon soon and tell him about your experiences helping our neighbors live in safe and healthy homes.

USAA Grant Funds Deep Repairs for a Veteran in Alexandria

Mr. S proudly served in the US Marine Corps in Vietnam and then spent 40 years working for the Washington Post. His wife was employed by the General Services Administration and they enjoyed being part of their community. But ten years ago Mrs. S became disabled and Mr. S retired to become her full-time care-giver. He built a wheelchair ramp so he could bring her home from rehab and then safely get her out of the house to go to doctor’s appointments. He was grateful that he could bring her home and take care of her so she didn’t have to live in a nursing home but over the years as his health declined he could no longer keep up with home repairs and the ramp had deteriorated and become unsafe. He applied to Rebuilding Together – AFF after learning about our work from a home health aide and a grant from USAA allowed us to rebuild the ramp and make extensive repairs in other areas of the couple’s home.

Twenty-nine volunteers signed on to help with the project. The first team arrived on site on a frosty morning and got right to work demolishing the old ramp. They quickly filled a 20-yard dumpster with the debris and the team leaders developed the plan to construct the new ramp. The ramp came together like clockwork in one day as the volunteers stepped into their roles. They constructed a porch deck so that Mrs. S could roll out the front door onto the ramp. Framework for the 50-foot ramp was built on the solid upright posts that Mr. S had installed 10 years ago. One team focused on cutting planks for the deck of the ramp while others screwed them down. Other volunteers puzzled through the pieces needed to make the turns so the boards on the deck of the ramp fit together as smoothly as possible. Plank by plank, screw by screw, the ramp was completed and as the sun began to set the volunteers took a brief moment to celebrate their amazing accomplishment. Mrs. S. would be able to use the ramp that night in case of an emergency. Mr. S walked up onto the ramp and gratefully said “I could never have done this myself. Thank you!”

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Lowe’s Grant Funds Deep Repairs for Alexandria Family of 12

“This is one of the first times we’ve felt a sense of community in our neighborhood,” said Mrs. A as she watched the team of Rebuilding Together-AFF volunteers working on projects all around their Alexandria home. She and her husband have worked hard at their jobs so they can provide a solid foundation for their 10 children. Their eldest son, serving in the army in Afghanistan, sent a message to the volunteers. “Thank you for being there and helping my family. I’d be there with you if I could.” Their second oldest, a daughter, has graduated from college – an accomplishment they are very proud of. She lives in Miami and is looking for work in her field. The family lives in a small split level home with their 8 younger children who range in age from 5 to 19. The A’s worked hard to buy the home and provide a nurturing environment for their family, but two years ago Mr. A had a serious health event that compromised his ability to repair and maintain their home, something that he had proudly done his entire life.  Read more

RT-AFF Welcomes New Board Member Sanjay Srikantiah

Sanjay Srikantiah, Patti Klein and Michael Holmes (Burke UMC)

We are very pleased to welcome Sanjay Srikantiah to the Rebuilding Together-AFF Board of Directors. Sanjay works in the Financial Services Industry.

Sanjay learned about RT-AFF at a Community Foundation for Northern Virginia meeting where Patti Klein, RT-AFF Executive Director, was accepting a grant award. Sanjay was struck by Patti’s passion for bringing safe and healthy housing to low-income members of our community and was excited to be invited to visit a National Rebuilding Day project. “The homeowner was a senior citizen who adopted her grandson, and they needed a lot of accessibility modifications and repairs to their home,” said Sanjay. “The Burke United Methodist Church team did incredible work but what really struck me was how they connected with the homeowner. I could see that this was a life-changing experience for her, and the compassion shown by the volunteers was remarkable.” Read more

RT-AFF Conducts AmeriCorps Member Training for RT National

RT-AFF was pleased to partner with our National Office to plan, manage and execute the 2018 AmeriCorps Members training and project days this August. RT-AFF volunteers Bard Jackson and Bob Austin joined consultant Armand Magnelli and RT-AFF staff member Don Ryan to conduct a one-day formal training in safe and healthy home repairs. They set-up hands-on work stations to demonstrate the right methods and materials for installing grab bars, gutters and downspouts, clothes dryer vents and other repairs. Behind the scenes, Marcy Bartlett, RT-AFF Director of Programs orchestrated the two day project where the AmeriCorps members would put their classroom training to work. We were fortunate that Marcy agreed to stay on for the month of August and put in a tremendous effort to make her last project for RT-AFF a successful and meaningful experience for the homeowners, AmeriCorps Members and RT-AFF volunteers. Read more

A Salute to Marcy Bartlett, RT-AFF Director of Programs

Please join us in wishing Marcy Bartlett a fond farewell. Marcy is leaving RT-AFF after six and a half years of service. Marcy will be joining her husband Steve in retirement as they downsize and move to a new community.

Marcy has had a huge impact on RT-AFF. She joined our team in 2012, one year after we incorporated. She had just spent a year contemplating what she wanted to do next after taking an “early-out” as a Director at Lockheed Martin. We were incredibly fortunate that our email blast describing the new Program Manager position landed in her in-box just as she was ready to take on a new challenge!

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