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Summer is here! Volunteer!

Early morning haze didn’t stop the sun from coming out on this beautiful Saturday. With our AmeriCorps back on site, the crew and volunteers were ready to go. The day was dedicated to sheathing the second level of the Fullerton homes.

Michelle Houser (on the left), who came out everyday this week to build said, "It’s fun getting your hands dirty and building something." Michelle is a grad student at Cal Poly Pomona and plans on spending her summer at the Fullerton site.

After hearing about Habitat for Humanity of Orange County through volunteer programs online, Megan Mimmehan (on the right) looked into the Habitat cause. A co-worker told Megan about his first hand experience with Habitat OC and she couldn’t wait to get on site. "I enjoy giving back and contributing something greater than my everyday life," said Megan. She plans on bringing some co-workers with her to the site next week.

While holding sheathing boards Nic Mattingly (on the left) said, "I came out to volunteer after my friend Eddie told me about the organization." Nic volunteers frequently but this was his first time volunteering with Habitat OC. "It’s hard to believe that what I am doing right now is helping someone have a place to live," said Nic.

It's incredible to see the transformation made so far on the West Valencia Drive neighborhood.

A family affair at the Fullerton site

Nice weather and an early start had the latest group of volunteers ready to go at the Fullerton site. With our AmeriCorps gone to build in Iowa, the crew leaders steadily kept up the pace at the site with the help of two faith groups. 

First time volunteers Jackie and Don Hill, from Corona, came out to the Fullerton site on Saturday with Hepatha Lutheran Church. Their first task for the day was digging the pipes that are on the outskirts of the homes. "My husband has wanted to come out and build for some time now," said Jackie. "We plan on giving our services all throughout the summer."

Debbie and Bob Gley are third time volunteers who built at our Huntington Beach and Brea sites. They came with their church Trabuco Presbyterian Church from Trabuco Canyon. "This is such a wonderful organization and it gives us the chance to serve and help someone else and on top of that it is fun!" said Debbie and Bob.

Family friends Cori DePue and Steve Berg joined hands and hammers to build on Saturday. “Volunteering is so rewarding, but when I can physically see the contribution I am making, like building these interior walls, it is all worth while,” said Cori. "This is my first time volunteering for Habitat and I hope we get to come back here and build some more, it is incredible to be able to give back in such an amazing way," said Steve.

The rest of the day was spent measuring and sawing the beams for the front porch, enjoying the breeze and meeting new people at the Fullerton site. By my next visit to the site, these houses will become homes as they are being prepped for their roof dresses.

Second floor framing and staircases - the hammering doesn't stop

Habitat OC families and volunteers continued building on the second floor framing and worked their way to the interior walls.

While working on a broken stringer with office staff, volunteer Bob McLean spoke about heading the framing of two previous Fullerton homes. "Framing is my favorite part of the projects while on site," said McLean. "Right now I am working on building the staircases to the second floor so we don’t have to use ladders."

Kandy Killingsworth supervised a group of volunteers in framing the second level of a home. Kandy (in blue) showed first time volunteer, Maya, why it is so important to have every piece of wood flush against the base. Kandy is always there to lend a hand and is ready to help out anyone who has a question.

Thrivent and Christ Lutheran Church volunteer Norita Jaeger comes out to the site and is always excited to get started. "I love to come out and build, I even come out as just a regular volunteer," said Jaeger.  "It’s great to come back to the site and see some familiar faces." Jaeger brings energy to the site and even while pounding nails she always has a smile on her face.

Whether it be building staircases, framing a floor or building corner pieces, Habitat OC volunteers enjoy helping others and getting a little dirty at the construction site.

AmeriCorps and Geezers and Crew Leaders, oh my!

Today the site consisted of the site supervisor, green team members, crew leaders, Americorps and "geezers."

So what's the difference? Well, the site supervisor is the person in charge of the site. For Fullerton we have Frank Palstring. Green team members are volunteers who commit to working at least one day per month and receive priority sign-up privileges. Crew leaders are volunteers with vast construction experience that was gained by working with Habitat or elsewhere and who are willing to lead groups of occasional volunteers. AmeriCorps is sometimes referred to as a Domestic Peace Corps. We have several Americorps volunteers working with us who are donating a year of their lives to help build homes in Orange County. The "Geezer Gang" is self-named and is made up of retired folks who usually work on site during the weekdays and are usually over the age of 55 (they welcome younger members.)

With core volunteers on site, the crew got right to work on building the staircases so that they can move onto the second floor and work safely.

Peter Cooper, an AmeriCorps member who usually in the office during the week, was on site. "It’s nice to get a different perspective out of the office when I come to help on site," said Cooper. "It's inspiring to see the families willing to show up to the construction site and build the homes of those who will soon be surrounding them in this community."

Cooper was joined by fellow AmeriCorps volunteers Frank Burkybile, Michelle Geldres and Dan Hines.

"This is the first time I have worked with the construction AmeriCorps," said Geldres. "Every volunteer is able to learn how to build a house from them and I am so excited to be working with Frank today."

While walking around the site, I met Larry Vojtech. Vojtech is a volunteer who has been working in Fullerton since the first Habitat homes were built. "I love coming to build in Fullerton," said Vojtech. "I hope we are able to obtain more land so Habitat can build more homes for deserving families.”

Be sure to sign up to volunteer at one of our sites in addition to meeting me and all the wonderful volunteers who look forward to building with you!

I was there!
We had so much fun at the framing event. I even got to be a part of the group of volunteers who raised the first wall. Go team!
The framing continues and so does the excitement

Hello friends! On Saturday, May 15th I was at the West Valencia site for part two of our "rolling framing" events. Volunteers and the future homeowners were on site to frame the ninth Habitat home on West Valencia. I even got to meet members of the Women Build committee, including the committee co-chairs Donna and Laurie.

Turns out members of the Women Build committee came out to do some hammering. The women actually outnumbered the men on the site, it was very empowering. Donna, Women Build co-chair, recently participated in the National Women Build Week during the first week of May. She, along with 20 other women, got together to build at the San Juan Capistrano HabitatOC site. “I try to volunteer once a month," said Donna. "It's nice to get out and actually do something."

Every volunteer on site has a different story, a different reason why they volunteer and I am excited to hear their stories. While walking through the site, a smiling face caught my attention. It was volunteer Joel Georgevich. Through the heat and hard work, Joel managed to keep a smile on and I just had to meet him. It was his second week in a row volunteering and I wanted to know why he would give so much of his time. “I wanted to do it five years ago and all of a sudden my wife signed me up and told me to go out and volunteer,” said Joel. “It makes me feel great to get out here and do something so fulfilling.”

Our wonderful volunteers keep the energy high and the fun rolling at the Fullerton site and I can’t wait to see them again on May 29. Stay tuned for more to come!

Fullerton framing (and fun!) May 8, 2010

Hello Habitat bloggers, my name is Aly and I'll be your Fullerton reporter through the beginning of July. So what's going on in Fullerton you ask? Well on May 8th we framed the seventh and eight Habitat homes on the West Valencia Fullerton site. I was so thrilled to be a part of this experience as Habitat for Humanity of Orange County welcomed the volunteers, families and donors to the framing event of two more Habitat homes.
Ann Ora, Field Representative for Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Fullerton Mayor Don Bankhead and Councilmember Sharon Quirk-Silva all spoke at the event and welcomed the families to the city.

“I congratulate you in your endeavors and when this place is built, I will be back to congratulate you,” said Mayor Bankhead. 

Once the program ended, the volunteers grabbed their hammers and began pounding nails. The future homeowners of the Habitat homes were on site to work side by side the volunteers. As the day went by a competition began, which home would raise the first wall? Would it be the home on the right or the home on the left?
It was the home on the right! They won, but not by much because minutes after the first wall of the second home went up. With walls being framed left and right, one of the future homeowners took a minute to take it all in. He said, “This will be the first time that all of us have our own room. We are grateful for Habitat for Humanity (who will) make the dream of becoming homeowners a reality.”

At the end of the day everyone was sore, but excited about what they were able to accomplish. Many of the volunteers could not wait to do it again on May 15th when we would frame the third home. So look for my next post!


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