Age and skill are no barriers to volunteering with Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley.
About 25 Rebuilding Together (RTSV) volunteers ages 17 to 89 converged on Momentum for Mental Health’s group home in Santa Clara on April 27, giving it a spring makeover in hours rather than days.
“Anybody can volunteer,” said Roger Wedel, who has volunteered with RTSV for about 20 years. “The excuse of not knowing how to do anything is not an excuse. You can learn stuff.”
Wedel sponsored the Santa Clara makeover in memory of his late wife, Lynn Wedel, who volunteered with him before passing away in 2012. Lynn took photos of the home transformations.
Wedel’s 17-year-old grandson, Quin Curley, and his daughter, Karen Curley, were working alongside him at the home for six Momentum clients who need the stability of a group home to maintain their independence.
The main project was remodeling the kitchen. Cabinets and countertops were replaced. Flooring was replaced in the kitchen, hallway and laundry room. Volunteers also added a safety railing and grab bars and pruned outdoors where vegetation was encroaching on the fence.
Momentum for Mental Health (www.momentumformentalhealth.org) is the largest nonprofit provider of mental health services in Santa Clara County.
“We’re a nonprofit, and our budget is really limited. It’s always nice to see things upgraded,” said Mary Angel with Momentum. “We’re really grateful to Rebuilding Together. We’re happy and the tenants are happy.”
“Repairing homes, revitalizing communities, rebuilding lives” is the mission of RTSV. It helps to keep low-income home owners, often elderly or disabled, safe in their homes. This mission and efficiency in carrying it out is what drew Board of Directors Chair Tim Dunkin to the nonprofit over eight years ago.
“I realized there is a big hole in our safety net as people age, and RTSV fills that hole,” said Dunkin. “Folks should not have to choose between medicine, food and home repairs.
“Without Rebuilding Together services, many individuals would be forced out of their homes and into nursing homes. That is not a good answer for the individuals and for our community. It is better to assist people remaining safe in their homes.”
Over 1,000 RTSV volunteers from around Silicon Valley worked at 36 locations in Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, San Jose and Santa Clara on the 2019 spring Rebuilding Day. Together they transformed homes and lives — including their own lives.
“I enjoy doing this. Everybody likes getting together,” said Wedel. “We accomplish something. We get something done that’s really valuable for people, and we have fun. We all feel good after.”
Barbara Snyder, another long-time RTSV volunteer, was also working at the Santa Clara home.
“I love Rebuilding Together,” said Snyder. “It makes a difference in people’s lives.”
Snyder told of helping a family that hadn’t had a hot meal in five years because their stove was broken and they couldn’t afford a new one.
“I feel like I’m contributing to the community,” said Snyder. “Safe, affordable housing is one of the most important priorities. I can make a difference on safe housing.”
The next RTSV rebuilding blitz day will be in October. Visit www.rebuildingtogethersv.org for information on contributing resources or time as an individual or as a team from a family, business, service organization, or faith community.
Low-income homeowners and nonprofits requesting free home safety repairs and modifications can download applications from the website. Preference is given to homeowners with children, seniors, veterans and those with disabilities.