The Silicon Valley Voice

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Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley Gets Volunteers Out of the House To Help Around the House

Image by Larry Sacks

Like a flick of the comb and a fresh coat of lipstick before you sign in to a Zoom meeting, nothing spruces up a house for the neighborhood like a fresh coat of exterior paint.

Santa Clara homeowner Nancy was delighted when 20 local Rotarians descended on her house Oct. 24, wielding paint brushes and rollers to paint the house exterior and a separate garage in a light cream with forest green trim.

“In addition to the cosmetic uplift for a home, a quality paint job can help protect the home from the elements,” pointed out Santa Clara Rotarian President Elect Bill Kelly.

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The Rotary Club volunteers were eager to live out the club motto “Service above Self” — and, maybe, eager as well to get out of the house on such a sunny day for their third home-repair project with the nonprofit Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley (RTSV).

The Rotary was one of 14 organizations participating in the second and last weekend of RTSV’s annual fall building event.

Twelve Santa Clara County homes and two nonprofit facilities were repaired from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in just the one day. Each project had a volunteer safety captain to ensure that County health guidelines were maintained, such as wearing masks and gloves. The Rotarians worked in two shifts of 10 each.

For almost 30 years, RTSV (www.rebuildingtogethersv.org) has helped low income, senior or disabled homeowners like Nancy to remain in their homes by providing free maintenance and safety upgrades.

In a prior year, RTSV volunteers installed smoke and CO2 detectors and replaced uneven, cracked flooring in Nancy’s childhood home, where for 25 years she cared for her mother, who had multiple sclerosis.

While her parents’ caregiver, Nancy also taught GED prep and English As a Second Language courses at the Wilson Adult Education Center. Today, she works as an in-home health care provider with In-Home Support Services and helps care for a disabled friend she opened her own home to.

In San Jose, other volunteers painted the house exterior and repaired the back deck of Trang, a Vietnamese-born woman with health issues. Gloria, who has ALS, was grateful to have a French door installed in her bedroom and a wheel chair ramp built to the garden.

“Our work during this time is more important than ever as we assist older adults and people with disabilities, those most vulnerable to COVID-19, making sure their homes are safe and healthy as they continue to shelter-in-place for the unforeseeable future,” said RTSV Executive Director Deanne Everton.

“We are very grateful for the work of the Rotary Club of Santa Clara and our other sponsors and volunteers who have stepped forward to assist their neighbors in need during this unprecedented time.”

“Painting a home in one day can be a daunting task, but with our volunteers working together, the work is manageable,” said Kelly. “We felt a sense of pride in accomplishing this project for the homeowner, Nancy.”

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