Submitted by Rebuilding Together Thurston County
We would like to share great news of our most recent Rebuilding Together Thurston County Project. On April 16, 118 student volunteers along with staff members from Northwest Christian High School in Lacey, walked around the corner from their school to make improvements to Candlewood Manor, a neighboring low-income mobile home park, to provide a day service to the community.
In consideration of the larger group of volunteers, Christina McNair from NWCHS divided the students into 11 teams, each headed by an efficient school staff member and they arrived at the park early that morning. Raechel Kilcup, Susan Newman, Shirley Jones, Deb Parent, Brandy Farnsworth, Theresa Becker and Lane Sater were on hand from RTTC to provide coordination, along with several of their family members and friends. Pam Folsom with SCJ Alliance and her daughter Nicole were also on site to provide communication, first-aid and logistics services. Kim O’Hara from NWCHS was on-site to photograph the event.
Armed with maps of each home site provided by SCJ Alliance and tools and equipment provided by the Olympia Downtown Association, the volunteers worked on much needed home and yard improvements for a large number of elderly and disabled homeowners. They pulled debris from roofs, cleaned gutters, painted, washed homes, weeded flower beds, repaired porches, repaired fences, installed new gutters, washed and repaired decks and raked lawns.
The volunteers also trimmed bushes and trees. Chris Gillaspie of Gillaspie’s Tree Service in Centralia was on hand to trim some of the larger vegetation and
provide pruning counsel. Ted and Shirley Jones of T&S Cleaning provided much needed pressure washing and Jim Simmons of Mr. Electric installed a new light and made panel repairs on a home in serious need of electrical improvements.
In one day, the volunteer’s hard work resulted in improvements in 23 homes, to the extent that one owner exclaimed, “I don’t recognize the place!” The teams efficiency also allowed them to provide improvements to the community park and clubhouse, touching the lives of over 100 home owners residing in the neighborhood. “Amazing!”, “They were so well mannered!”, and “What can we do for the students besides give our thanks?” were among many positive exclamations from the recipients.
Reflecting on the day’s work, Dr. Terry Ketchum, the school principal and team leader had this to say about the volunteers, “Several of our students were commenting on the value they saw in what they were doing – helping those who had difficulty helping themselves..” Park Manager Donna Hayward commented that the volunteers worked very hard and that residents were extremely pleased with the outcome. Rebuilding Together Thurston County thanks all involved in this successful project that affected so many people!