Expertise donated to local neighborhood in need
Since 2000, Rebuilding Together Indianapolis (RTI) has brought hundreds of volunteers together to help revitalize a local neighborhood in need.
RTI invites neighborhood associations, non-profit organizations, police departments, and other social services agencies to provide referrals for neighborhoods in need of revitalization projects. Qualified homeowners must be low-income, elderly or disabled and unable to make the needed repairs themselves. An RTI selection committee then chooses the “Neighborhood of the Year”. Once a neighborhood is chosen, individual homeowners are invited to apply to have their houses repaired and refreshed.
This year, RTI is partnering with Crooked Creek Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit started by St. Vincent Health that helps community development efforts in the neighborhood surrounding St. Vincent’s West 86th Street location on the northwest side of Indianapolis. The partnership will focus on 20 homes in the selected area.
In an announcement about the joint venture, Nancy Larner Ruschman, director of community partnerships at Crooked Creek Community Development Corporation, stated its neighborhood had many elderly homeowners who do not have the financial means nor physical capabilities to make necessary improvements to their homes.
“There’s a whole generation who are at this stage of life who really need help with their homes,” said Ruschman. “Many have lived here for 30+ years and now need major home repairs. They don’t want to leave their homes but can’t afford to properly maintain them. “
Local construction companies serve as house sponsors, and these companies donate the time of one of their skilled project managers to serve as house captains. House captains are responsible for assessing the potential projects of their assigned house, creating a supplies list, and determining the number of volunteers needed for successful completion of the house’s projects.
Construction work outside of the scope of what volunteers can handle is completed a week prior to Game Day. “Game Day” is established to bring together as many volunteers as possible on one day. This year’s Game Day was held on Saturday, April 26th.
F.A. Wilhelm construction is serving as the house sponsor for two homes for this year’s Game Day. Chris Meehan, a Wilhelm project engineer, is the house captain for both homes.
“Both of the homeowners are women in their 70s, living by themselves,” said Meehan. “One of the homes needs more work than the other. In the first house, she is receiving new siding, a garage door and opener, and repair work on the crawl space. Both houses will have fresh paint, grab bars added in the bathrooms, and some electrical upgrades.”
Brenda Walker, Wilhelm telecommunication coordinator, has been recruiting Wilhelm volunteers for the annual Game Day since she started with the company seven years ago.
“It’s great that Wilhelm can use its expertise in construction to give back to the community,” said Walker. “So far this year we have 14 volunteers signed up. I encourage people to get involved because it is a lot of fun and anyone can do it.”
RTI estimates 500 volunteers are needed to successfully meet its goals.