I recently participated in a volunteer event organized by Rebuilding Together Boston. Rebuilding Together’s mission is to provide critical repairs and renovations for low-income homeowners across the United States. The organization gathered about 300 volunteers to participate in building rehabilitation projects throughout the city.
The site I visited was a Dorchester home owned by a 63-year-old single woman who suffers from various health challenges. About 20 volunteers had gathered, ranging from skilled workers to those who had never lifted a hammer. It was a gratifying experience to put in the little I knew, guided by experts, for the good of someone who needed it.
These types of events are also particularly useful to a young intern architect like me. Working alongside skilled trade professionals ranging from carpenters to sheeting and molding experts provides valuable insight in construction. Renovations made to the house included replacing bathroom fixtures, removing and replacing flooring, tearing down wall finishes, reopening a previously sealed opening, repairing walls, painting, lattice work, landscaping, and replacing crown molding.
There were a total of eight sites rebuilt this year- four homes located in Mattapan, Dorchester, Hyde Park and South Boston, three non-profit-owned facilities in Jamaica Plain (Pine Street Inn, the United Cerebral Palsy of Metro Boston Housing Facility, and the Boston Center for Youth and Families- Curtis Hall) and the Ellis Memorial child care facility in South End.
The homeowner we worked for that day was very grateful for the people who volunteered their time to help make her day-to-day life a little easier; it was a rewarding experience for all.