Eight companies. Five hundred total volunteers. Immeasurable impact. That’s what the fifth annual Building a Neighborhood was all about: creating stronger communities.
Each year, Rebuilding Together selects a different neighborhood to revitalize for its multi-day, Building a Neighborhood community revitalization project. This year’s location was St. John, Missouri. On Columbus Day weekend in October, more than 100 Charter Communications volunteers joined with others from Lowe’s, Emerson, Bank of America, CBRE, Pepsi, MiTek and Eagle Bank and Trust Company of Missouri to make a big difference in this St. Louis-area city.
Rain and overcast skies couldn’t put a damper on volunteers’ spirits. Over a two day period, Charter our Community volunteers, in conjunction with longtime partner – and local Rebuilding Together affiliate – Rebuilding Together St. Louis, provided critical home repairs, accessibility modifications and energy efficient upgrades for homeowners , many of whom are lifelong St. John residents.
Helping a Cancer Survivor
The Charter our Community Volunteers pose for a group photo
Following a kickoff ceremony, Charter our Community volunteers began work on three homes. The scope of work included carpentry, electrical and plumbing upgrades, with volunteers using tools donated during a tool drive by Missouri and Illinois Charter employees.
More than $9,500 worth of tools and product gift cards were donated during a tool drive to Rebuilding Together St. Louis for use during the Building a Healthy Neighborhood event by Charter Communications employees.
Homeowner Deni was impressed at how quickly the transformation happened. Having battled breast cancer and unable to do the work herself, Deni watched as Charter volunteers completed necessary repairs both inside and outside her home. “The new kitchen, front door, painting, landscaping, it’s all so touching to see so many people working to make this happen,” said Deni.
Sheila Thomas, a Charter Communications Dispatcher, put a fresh coat of white paint on Deni’s kitchen walls. Sheila passionately talked about enjoying her first Charter our Community event. “It’s very rewarding to give back, but it’s also important to show we care. What comes from the heart reaches the heart!”
Even as the rain stopped, the work was just getting started among the enthusiastic volunteers. “I really enjoy working with my co-workers on different projects outside of our everyday jobs,” said Nick Zona, a Business Account Executive. “More importantly, it was great to see Deni’s face and reaction as she was so happy about the repairs.”
Prior to this year’s Building a Healthy Neighborhood event, Rebuilding Together honored Charter with its “Good Neighbor Award.
Making Fast Work of Water Damage
Across the street, more Charter volunteers were busy with various tasks for homeowner Joe. New handrails on the front porch, new storm doors, plus many other projects kept volunteers on the move.
One of the biggest challenges was Joe’s basement. Over the years, it suffered a lot of water damage. Volunteers tore down a room that had water stains and mold all over the ceiling; they tuck pointed bricks where water poured in during rain storms and replaced windows and screens.
“It’s so nice to see all these people working so hard to help someone they don’t even know,” remarked Joe. “I can’t believe how quickly they did all this work and how much better things look now!”
Volunteers work on one of the houses during the Building a Healthy Neighborhood Event
It’s that type of impact Charter volunteers enjoy making on our customers and neighbors. “It’s impressive to have this group of committed individuals working together to make a significant, noticeable and meaningful impact in a very compressed time,” said Paul Sly, Vice President of Enterprise Sales and Development. “This is yet another way to put a face on our company move the perception needle in a positive direction.”
Giving a Homeowner Better Access
The third homeowner, Carl, was equally grateful to all the Charter our Community volunteers. When Carl was younger, he suffered from polio. As a result, his mobility is somewhat limited.
Volunteers constructed a much needed ramp to provide Carl with easier access to his house. They also completed several other major improvement projects, including a kitchen renovation. “I’ve never been able to host Thanksgiving before, but I’m already making plans now to have people over to show off my brand new kitchen!” said Carl. With the help of St. John Mayor Tom Halaska, Building a Healthy Neighborhood volunteers also transformed a vacant lot into a vibrant community space, complete with bird feeders, a footpath and a fountain.
At the end of two days, Charter our Community volunteers left feeling exhausted but also very rewarded. We look forward to participating in next year’s Building a Healthy Neighborhood and helping more homeowners across the country.
Be sure to learn how YOU can help us reach our goal of improving 25,000 unsafe and unhealthy homes by 2020 and make your home safer and healthier.
Charter volunteer Mims preps with painters tape before a long day of painting
Longtime Charter our Community volunteer Chris kicks off Building a Healthy Neighborhood with Rebuilding Together St. Louis Board President Chad
(L-R) Charter volunteers John, Paul and Hunter cut some wood with a circular saw
Volunteers do some yard cleanup
(L-R) Charter our Community volunteers Lisa and Sherrie lay down tarp
Charter volunteer Sarah is all smiles as she clears yard debris
Up goes some old roofing material into the dumpster!