Monday, December 14, 2009

Home Dedication

The rainy day didn't dampen spirits as the Luo/Lin family and other families received the keys to their new homes. Assistant Site Supervisor Maggie Schouten presented the family with the traditional hammer, symbolizing all the hard work that the family and volunteers put into building the home.

Pastor Dave Sauer of Prince of Peace (Fremont) presented the keys to the family.

Karen Mueller and Laurel King of Christ the King (Fremont) presented the family with a book of faith.

The board of the South Alameda County Chapter of Thrivent was on hand and gave the family a gift basket and a poem:
A sponge that the house may always be clean;
A loaf of bread that there may always be food upon the table;
Sugar that there may be sweetness abounding;
And salt that there may be some spice in living.

Thanks to all who braved the storms and helped make the day a big success, and thanks to all the volunteers who contributed time and money to help make the Luo/Lin family's dream a reality. A special shout-out to honorary Lutheran John Lee, who was the house leader for the Thrivent Builds house during this year's build-a-thon.

Inside one of the homes that was staged for the event.

You can see more pictures of the dedication here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

save the date: Home Dedication

On December 12th at 11AM, please join us to dedicate the Luo/Lin family's new home at the Edes. Whether you've been out swinging a hammer or supported the Thrivent Builds house financially or just want to see a family fulfilling a dream, it's a ceremony not to be missed. Please RSVP on the Habitat site here if you plan to attend.

The family is finishing up their 500 'sweat equity' hours as volunteers work to finish their home for the dedication. Here's a bit about the family from Habitat:
Xi Yong and Yu Ling moved to the United States from China in 2001 to seek better opportunities and their two children, Yan Jun and Hong Ji, have taken advantage of that goal. Yan Jun has studied English and other subjects at the Peralta community colleges and recently transferred to Cal State Hayward, where she is in an accounting program. Her younger brother, Hong Ji, is a junior at Alameda High School, and volunteers to help the less fortunate over summer breaks with the Salvation Army.

The Luo family is invested in a stable and happy future for their whole family, and see education as the best way to achieve this. They moved to Alameda so that their children could benefit from the excellent schools there. Although they live in a nice neighborhood, their landlord forced them to move from an upstairs unit to a downstairs unit that is almost always dark and cold. There is no heat and the windows don’t properly close, so they are constantly catching colds and other illnesses. Although they pay a lot for their apartment, it is in a garage with poor air quality, and the low ceilings leak. Furthermore, because they don’t have a legal contract with their landlord, they worry they could be forced to leave at any time.
The family is thrilled to move into a Habitat development where they’ll have the security of owning their own home. "Edes Avenue is a nice, environmentally-friendly and peaceful neighborhood, where we can finally stop worrying about being forced to leave our home," Xi Yong says. Yan Jun hopes to become a certified public accountant so that she can help make the mortgage payments and her parents won’t have to work so hard. The Luo family is looking forward to building relationships with their neighbors through sweat equity. "We appreciate our neighbors’ work on our house and we will work our best on 'sweat equity' in order to help." They are also excited to put down roots in their new community. "Our dream for the future is to have a group of neighbors that are friends, who support one another," Yan Jun says.

Monday, September 28, 2009

We Need Your Help!

September is almost over, and I realize I haven't given any updates in a while. Progress on the Thrivent Builds house is going nicely. I forgot to take a picture of it on Friday, but got this shot of volunteers painting one of the nearby houses. The Thrivent Builds house is at about the same stage, with the exterior mostly done.

But we still need your help! There's lots more work to do on the Thrivent Builds house, including painting, flooring, cabinets, trim and more. Your congregation can also help by raising funds for the portion that we local Lutherans are required to raise as part of the Thrivent Builds project. Email or call Eliza Schissel at (510) 251-6304, ext. 360 and find out more about how you can get involved. When you sign up to volunteer, be sure to note that you're a Lutheran (and Thrivent member, if applicable.)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

GRID Alternatives 2009 Solar-a-thon

Yesterday GRID Alternatives held their 2009 solar-a-thon. More than 250 volunteers and staff installed solar panels on 16 houses in Habitat for Humanity East Bay's Edes development. The unusual weather may have dampened things a little, but it didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the volunteers, and the cloudy skies made it cooler for the crews working on the roofs. I've uploaded more pictures of the solar-a-thon here. A big thanks to all the solar-a-thon volunteers and sponsors. Thanks to you, the Thrivent Builds house and other Habitat houses now have solar photovoltaic systems!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Habitat works!

The progress continues on the Thrivent Builds house, despite the intense heat today. As you can see in the picture, it's got some of the siding on, and contractors were working on the electrical for it and several of the neighboring houses. There were groups from PG&E and Wells Fargo out volunteering today.

But the real story today is that I didn't work with Juan, the site carpenter, like I have for the past several Fridays. That's because Juan, who is a Habitat homeowner, was with his family taking his son to college to get settled in the dorms. Lots of people are doing that this time of year, but the cool part is that Juan's son is the first in the family to go to college. Some cool news for this hot day!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

watch the Raiders, help Habitat

Planning to watch the Oakland Raiders take on the Philadelphia Eagles on October 18th? Buy your tickets through Habitat for Humanity East Bay and they'll get $14 for each ticket purchased to help support their mission of eliminating poverty housing, one house at a time. More details on the website (PDF file).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

August Update

Progress continues on the Thrivent Builds house and others. As you can see in a picture from yesterday, it now has a roof, house wrap and some windows. It'll be getting insulation and siding soon. As part of the Habitat East Bay's green building practices, the insulation is sprayed-in cellulose, made mostly from recycled newspapers. Before that goes in, the cracks around windows, doors and vents are sealed up with spray foam insulation.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thrivent House Update

I just wanted to give an update on the Thrivent Builds House. It's coming along nicely as you can see in the picture. Today it was getting ducting for HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system.

I also wanted to give a special thanks to Americorps member Tori Hiller, who's a not only spent the year working with Habitat through the Americorps program, but is a Lutheran, too. The current crop of Americorps members are coming up to the end of their term with East Bay. Some will be working through the summer, and a few will be coming back for another year. If you've volunteered at the Edes site, you've probably been led by one of the Americorps members, so give them a big thanks next time you see one!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

2009 Build-a-thon, Day 4 -- ending with a bang

It was hot again for the final day of the build-a-thon, but not quite as bad as Monday was. We had another good turn out, and while the heat slowed down overall progress, a lot got done on all 20 houses. On house 13, we worked with future homeowner Sergio Navarro. We had a number of first time volunteers who did great. We got the exterior walls on the 2nd floor sheathed, raised and plumbed, and several of the interior walls raised, too.

Check out the TV coverage from CBS 5, and of course, coverage on Habitat East Bay's website.

After some group photos, many of the volunteers and staff headed off to a post build-a-thon party, where we compared our experiences (and scrapes and bruises) and relaxed after a tiring four days. But the build-a-thon was a big success. Over $200,000 was raised to help fund the building of the houses, and a lot of progress was made. Thanks to all who gave of their time and money, and I hope to see you out at the work site sometime soon!

Monday, April 20, 2009

2009 Build-a-thon, Day 3 -- heat

Today at the build-a-thon was a scorcher. Temperatures were in the 90s, and with just the framing of the houses up, there isn't much shade to cool off in. We also had a lot fewer volunteers since it's a work day. So we worked a lot slower, but we still made good progress. The Habitat staff did lots to try to help people keep cool. Besides frequent water breaks, there was a popsicle break, and they set up a mister system under a canopy for us to go cool off in. The lunchtime events involved getting people wet. Tomorrow should be little cooler, but it'll still be hot.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

2009 Build-a-thon, Day 2 -- a wedding!

Today was another great day at the Habitat worksite, but it was hot, and tomorrow is supposed to be even hotter. All the houses made good progress, but today we had something special -- a wedding celebration! Kim and Jim met at a Habitat build in New Orleans, and were married yesterday. As part of their wedding celebration, the wedding party came out to the build-a-thon to work. Besides being Habitat supporters, Kim is also a Thrivent member, so Habitat East Bay presented the newlyweds with matching Thrivent Builds hardhats. Kim's sported a veil which she cheerfully wore all afternoon.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

2009 Build-a-thon, Day 1

Today was day 1 of the build-a-thon. We had hundreds of volunteers working on 20 houses, and from what I saw, good progress was made on all of them. The Thrivent Builds sponsored house had at least 4 Lutherans volunteering on it from Resurrection Lutheran in Dublin.

I wish I had more to blog, but I'm tired! There are three more days of this to go.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

2009 Build-a-thon

A great way to get involved with Thrivent Builds is to work at the 2009 Earth Day build-a-thon that Habitat for Humanity East Bay puts on each year. It's a fund-raising event like a walk-a-thon or bike-a-thon, where you collect donations for each day you volunteer. Not only do your volunteer hours count towards the total we need as part of the Thrivent Builds-sponsored house, but your fund-raising does, too. It's also a lot of fun, where a lot of progress is made in a short time. In just 4 days, 20 houses will be framed, going from foundation to roof trusses. You can read more about the build-a-thon and register for it here. The specific house and family for the Thrivent Builds house haven't been selected yet, but they'll be one of the 20, which will be the last of 54 homes in the Edes development in Oakland.

Friday, January 23, 2009


2009 is upon us, and another year of helping build affordable homes is here. Thrivent Builds is sponsoring another home at the Edes Avenue development. We need your help in volunteering on the work site and in the office, and by donating and fundraising.

View the 2009 Visionary message from executive director Janice Jensen: