Rebuilding Together, the nation’s leading nonprofit working to preserve affordable homeownership, held its 16th Annual Kickoff to Rebuild Event in Dallas last week, despite record low temperatures and icy conditions. Kickoff to Rebuild, hosted annually in the same city as the Super Bowl, unites hundreds of volunteers with NFL players and alumni, cheerleaders, local leadership, and other celebrities to rebuild homes, provide community clean up and offer restorative services to low income neighborhoods.
On February 3rd , hundreds of volunteered braved the 14-degree day to revitalize one neighborhood in Arlington, Texas, including energy efficiency upgrades, roofing work, accessibility modifications, and other critical renovations. A team of NFL Alumni from the NFL Player Care Foundation volunteered, along with sponsors and partners like HGTV and DIY Network, On the House with the Carey Brothers, CBRE, Lowe’s, Kmart, Bridgestone and Firestone Complete Auto Care, NRCA (National Roofing Contractors Association), NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry Dallas Chapter), and many local leaders and community members.
In addition to the home and neighborhood projects, the adjacent Speer Elementary School, where many of the children in the community attend, received a new playground courtesy of HGTV’s Carter Oosterhouse, host of Carter Can, in association with his Carter’s Kids Foundation, and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation.
The spirit of the event was evident when homeowners invited frigid volunteers into their homes to warm up with hot chocolate during work breaks. Later, the hundreds of volunteers received a visit from the Mayor of Arlington, Robert Cluck, who stopped by to personally thank volunteers for making a visible change in his beloved community.
My colleague Michele Egan Sterne was on-site in Dallas.
“It was a fabulous experience,” Michele said. “Clearly the ice and cold hampered some the neighborhood revitalization work Rebuilding Together had planned – for example, planting shrubs is pretty difficult when the ground is frozen solid – but it did not dampen the spirits and passion of several hundred volunteers.
What was most impressive were the local volunteers and their passion, drive and dedication to supporting their neighbors. The lead from one of our sponsor teams (Dallas-area Firestone Complete Auto Care stores) had to keep taking off his gloves so he could check his Blackberry for messages from corporate about their month end reports – remember it was February 3. He could have easily used the weather as the reason to stay back at the office (or perhaps even home), but instead he rallied 30+ of his co-workers, and we all shivered and rebuilt the neighborhood together.”
After an incredible work day on the 12 homes on Drummond Drive, the volunteers gathered at Speer Elementary for lunch and to thaw out. A special presentation by Baltimore Ravens player Dale Carter included hundreds of NFL footballs for the elementary school to encourage constructive play and activity, courtesy of the NFL’s Play 60 initiative.
To wrap up the event, Rebuilding Together and its Dallas chapter hosted a community celebration event that focused on the future of a preserved neighborhood.
Kickoff to Rebuild was generously sponsored by Atmos Energy, Bridgestone and Firestone Complete Auto Care, Brown Foundation Repair, CB Richard Ellis (CBRE), Freddie Mac, Kmart, Lowe’s, National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), NFL Player Cares Foundation, and Wells Fargo.
To see the life-changing work of Rebuilding Together in action in Dallas, check out this YouTube video.
With the help of everyday citizen volunteers, skilled trades people, the support of local business and major corporate partners, Rebuilding Together affiliates in America’s largest cities and smallest towns make life considerably better for thousands of low-income homeowners and the communities in which they live by completing 10,000 projects per year. Rebuilding Together has programs dedicated to energy efficiency, veteran’s housing, aging in place and gulf coast reconstruction. For more information, visit www.RebuildingTogether.org. You can also follow Rebuilding Together on Twitter @rebldgtogthr or become a fan on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/RebuildingTogether.
Note: Rebuilding Together is a client of For Momentum.