Habitat for Humanity of St. Augustine/St. Johns County and Lowe's invite women to join Habitat's 10th annual National Women Build Week

Thousands of volunteers to build homes nationwide alongside future homeowners May 6 through 14

Habitat for Humanity of St. Augustine/St. Johns County and Lowe’s invite women to build alongside future homeowners during the 10th annual National Women Build Week, May 6 through 14. Habitat for Humanity of St. Augustine/St. Johns County is one of 300 Habitat organizations nationwide hosting Women Build projects during the week with support from Lowe’s, a longtime partner in the event.

On May 9th and May 13th, local volunteers will help construct a home in partnership with a local family in need of a decent place to live.

National Women Build Week brings together women to devote at least one day to building decent and affordable housing in their local communities. Nearly 100,000 women from all 50 states have volunteered in previous years.

“We are excited to participate in the 10th annual National Women Build Week,” said Lindsey Rodea, Volunteer Coordinator of HFHSJC. “This is a great opportunity for women of all skill levels to come together to help a family build a decent and affordable place they can call home, and we are grateful to Lowe’s for their financial and volunteer support.”

Lowe’s helped launch National Women Build Week in 2008. Each year, the company provides the support of Lowe’s Heroes volunteers and conducts how-to clinics at stores to teach volunteers construction skills. This year, Lowe’s contributed nearly $2 million to National Women Build Week. Since its partnership began in 2003, Lowe’s has committed more than $63 million to Habitat and helped nearly 6,500 families improve their living conditions.

No construction skills are necessary to participate in this year’s project. To volunteer or donate, call (904) 826- 3252 or email volunteer@habitatstjohns.org. For more information on National Women Build Week, visit Habitat.org/wb


About Habitat for Humanity of St. Augustine/St. Johns County

Habitat for Humanity of St. Augustine/St. Johns County is a nonprofit Christian based housing organization that seeks to put God's love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Our vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. The St. Johns County Habitat affiliate covers Elkton, Fruit Cove, Hastings, Nocatee, Ponte Vedra, St. Augustine, and St. Augustine Beach. Since 1993, Habitat has established 134 new homeowners in the community that reflect all races, religions, and nationalities. Annually, our organization builds 6 homes for families in need. We serve all varieties of families included but not limited to elderly, low-income, veterans, single mothers, homeless, etc. To learn about more about how to become a homeowner, donate, or get involved, visit www.habitatstjohns.org.

About Habitat for Humanity International

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in nearly 1,400 communities throughout the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.

About Lowe’s in the Community

Lowe’s, a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company, has a 50-year legacy of supporting the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects. Since 2007, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation together have contributed more than $250 million to these efforts, and for more than two decades Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers have donated their time to make our communities better places to live. To learn more, visit Lowe’s Open House digital newsroom or follow @LowesMedia on Twitter.

Volunteer Spotlight: Sue

Volunteer Spotlight: meet Sue! Sue says she was drawn to Habitat because of its focus on being a hand up and how it teaches life skills that can be passed down to the next generation and works to break the cycle of poverty. She has been an office volunteer with Habitat for 5 years and is a great help to the staff. Thanks for all that you do Sue!

#volunteerspotlight #volunteer #habitatforhumanity #grateful

Hands on Learning: The Barbara A. Kay Foundation Sponsors Habitat's Teen Build 2016 with Local Students

Two students from the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind Building a Tradesman program hard at work on a Habitat for Humanity build site. 

Two students from the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind Building a Tradesman program hard at work on a Habitat for Humanity build site. 

The second annual Teen Build event, sponsored by the Barbara A. Kay foundation, encourages local students to get involved in their community and is meant to expose high school aged teens to Habitat for Humanity’s purpose by their involvement in the construction of homes for low income families in St. Johns County.

During the first week of November, students from the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind (FSDB) and students involved in St. Augustine Youth Services (SAYS) were hard at work on a Habitat build site.  On Wednesday, November 2, teens in the Building a Tradesman program at FSDB worked the first of two Teen Build events, both located at a Habitat home on Holmes Boulevard in St. Augustine.  Students enrolled in the program were in attendance, supervised by Randall Hancock, FSDB’s career and technical instructor, as well as other adult interpreters and instructors.  Interestingly enough, the homeowner-to-be is a FSDB Food Service staff and as Hancock says, “it struck a chord—FSDB students helping FSDB staff!”  It is also this Habitat affiliate’s first time building a two story home.

“Today was a boon for these curious students, they received actual hands-on training in the real world of the construction sector” said Hancock.  “These students learned fraction measurements, but their real lesson learned was when they made cutting mistakes of the sidings too short. Mistake-learning is the best teacher, they improved the second time around after a white-knuckle mentality struggle to troubleshoot and solve real-word measurements problems.”

The second build day took place on Friday, November 4 with students from St. Augustine Youth Services.  They were supervised by Doug Richner, who is the Employment Education Coach at SAYS.  

The necessity for this project is two-fold: we need volunteers to help build our homes in order to make them affordable for Habitat homeowners and teens of St. Johns County need an opportunity to serve the community while learning new skills in an engaging environment.  In partnership with the Barbara A. Kay Foundation, Teen Build is meant to teach teens a trade and cultivate a drive to build something which instills a sense of accomplishment while also nurturing and supporting the youth of St. Augustine.

Our goal, at the end of the day of Teen Build, is for the teens to feel accomplished after their long day of sweat and hard work contributing to a local families dream of homeownership.  We hope they feel empowered with their tools and abilities to build more, learn more, and volunteer more.  We hope that they feel proud in having learned a new skill and being part of a newly constructed home for someone in need.  We hope they feel challenged to understand the need for affordable housing in our neighborhoods.  Most importantly, we hope that the experience builds hope inside each student for the endless possibilities their future holds and a sense of comfort knowing that their community believes in them to succeed.

The Barbara A. Kay Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit private foundation headquartered in St. Johns County.  The Foundation focuses on igniting imaginations, rewarding creativity and advancing skills through promoting and supporting projects which will assist young people of St. Johns and surrounding counties by extending their horizons and by expanding their ideas about themselves and their world’s possibilities.

Student from St. Augustine Youth Services measuring and cutting Hardie Plank siding.

Student from St. Augustine Youth Services measuring and cutting Hardie Plank siding.

Volunteer Spotlight: Steve

Volunteer Spotlight: meet Steve! Originally from Indiana, he relocated to the St. Augustine area due to his job in agriculture. Steve started volunteering in 2014 because he wanted to help people to obtain housing. Over the past two years he has volunteered 67 times for a total of 335 hours. Thanks for all that you do, Steve! 

#volunteerspotlightsunday#lifeisshortdosomethingthatmatters #habitatforhumanity #volunteer#buildhope

What do Volunteers do?

You may be wondering how much of the house building is done by volunteers versus subcontractors, so we figured we’d not only tell you which tasks, but also why. It seems like it would always make sense to use volunteers instead of subcontractors because volunteers are free, but in order to build more homes and serve more families, sometimes it makes more sense to sub out work.

In the very beginning of Habitat for Humanity in St. Johns County in 1993, volunteers did everything. As our affiliate has grown and now builds approximately 6 houses per year, (unlike 1 hour per year like we did in 1993) it’s important for us to pay attention to what makes the most sense to outsource versus insource.

Certain tasks like plumbing, electrical, and HVAC work is done by those that are licensed, insured and certified to do so. Other tasks like roofing are done by subcontractors due to OSHA regulations that require those working on a roof to be tied off. While it is possible for volunteers to perform roofing work, sometimes it just makes more sense from a safety standpoint to have subcontractors perform this task. But there are many affiliates that do roofing, as our affiliate has done in the past and may perhaps do it in the future, but for now, we use subcontractors.

Other tasks are done by subs just because of the amount of time it would require for volunteers to do them and to do them well. For instance, we have recently started hanging drywall with volunteers which takes longer, but the art of finishing drywall is something that takes a lot of time and experience to do well, so we continue to sub out that aspect of drywall work. Site grading and foundation work is also something that is done by tractors and larger machinery that allows it to be done much faster than with volunteers.

All of these things that are done by subcontractors instead of volunteers ensure that we are able to build more houses and serve more families in a given year. With that being said, there are still many tasks that we use volunteers for and some of our regular, repeat, weekly volunteers have learned to do these tasks well and are able to accomplish these tasks in a speedy manner. We are so grateful for our regular volunteers who are always willing to take on any task asked of them, even if it is a new one, like drywall, which we recently started having volunteers do the installation of. 

All these things as well as funding sources and material costs are subject to change. For example, we used to be able to get pre-painted exterior siding from the James Hardi siding manufacturer but then the program changed with Habitat International so it became more cost effective to have volunteers paint the exterior siding rather than pay the added cost to continue to get it pre-painted from the manufacturer.

Just like all aspects of running a non-profit organization, there are lots of unknowns and we have to be able to adapt to the current times in order to continue our mission of serving families with affordable homeownership opportunities. We thank all of our volunteers and also all of our subcontractors who work so diligently to get these homes completed so families can move in!

Volunteer Spotlight: Tommye

Volunteer Spotlight: meet Tommye! Tommye started her involvement with Habitat as a volunteer and Board member in Columbus, GA. She says she was inspired by Jimmy Carter and his community service.
For the past 4 years Tommye has been one of our office volunteers. She helps with office tasks, the Homeowner Selection Committee, and much more. Thank you for all that you do Tommye!! #habitatforhumanity #dedicatedvolunteer #grateful #jimmycarter

Volunteer Spotlight: Joe

Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Joe! Joe is one of our longtime volunteers who started volunteering with Habitat in 1995. He continues his service to the affiliate with board membership and many other varied tasks; such as assisting with the infrastructure, clearance and permitting process. Every helping hand makes a difference! Thanks for all that you do, Joe!#volunteerspotlightsunday #habitatforhumanity #buildhope #volunteer

Volunteer Spotlight: John

Volunteer Spotlight: meet John! Before moving to the area 2 years ago, John had worked on Neighborhood Revitalization projects 🏠at a Habitat affiliate in St. Louis. He enjoys working in construction 🔨and believes Habitat is a worthy cause.
John started volunteering with Habitat in January 2015. To date he has worked 380 hours 🕒 over 73 build days. Thank you 🙏for all that you do John! 

#volunteerspotlightsunday #volunteer #habitatforhumanity#buildhope #dedication

Volunteer Spotlight: Bobby

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: Meet Bobby! Bobby is one of our regular volunteers who comes out to the worksites nearly every week. He started volunteering with Habitat in 2003 but his family has been involved with our affiliate since the early days. 
He likes volunteering and has a good time out on the worksite. He believes, "if you do something good for someone else that God returns it back to you somewhere down the road."

 #volunteerspotlightsunday #thankful#buildhope #habitatforhumanity #volunteer

Volunteer Spotlight: Greg

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: Meet Greg! Greg retired in May 2015 and started volunteering at Habitat for Humanity of St. Augustine/ St. Johns County in April 2016. So far he has volunteered 159 hours over 24 build days. Before he became a Friday regular, Greg had volunteered a few times in the past. He volunteers with Habitat because he enjoys the team work, camaraderie and likes being around building and the construction environment. Thank you Greg!

Volunteer Spotlight: Cynthia and Elaine

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: This week we're doing it a little differently and featuring two of our long time volunteers!! Meet Cynthia and Elaine. These ladies met in 2005 at our 2nd ever Women Build in St. Johns County and have been friends and regular volunteers ever since. Elaine still wears her hat from that build, featured above. 
These two ladies have spent countless hours out on many Habitat homes. We are so thankful! Habitat homes are made possible with the support of our dedicated volunteers. Thanks for all that you do! #thankful #womenbuild #volunteer #habitatforhumanity

Wondering What We're Up to?

Pictures taken 8.18.16

Top Left: Our very first two story Habitat home!  

Top Right: Our project in Hastings featuring a garage!

Bottom Left: Recently completed project off of SR 16.  Congratulations, Amanda on your new home!

Bottom Right: First days of construction of our latest project here in town.

Thank you to all of the hard workers who are helping our partner families toward their dream of homeownership!

Volunteer Spotlight: Bill

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: Meet Bill! Bill is one of our Friday Regulars and has been a Habitat volunteer for 20 years! He has spent the last 2 of those years volunteering for our St. Augustine/St. Johns County affiliate. In the last 2 years he has attended 96 build days and worked 502 hours on 10 houses and those numbers keeps rising! Thank you for your continued support of our mission Bill!

Habitat for Humanity Receives $10,000 Matching Gift from Local Patron

St. Augustine, FL – January 25, 2016: Habitat for Humanity of St. Augustine/St. Johns County received a generous donation of $10,000 on Saturday from local supporter Inez McDonald upon completing the Matching Gift Challenge. Inez, a long-time resident of St. Augustine and donor to Habitat for Humanity, challenged the nonprofit organization to raise ten donations of $1,000 or more to receive her matching funds of $10,000. This is the second year in a row Mrs. McDonald has spearheaded a matching gift challenge specific to Habitat for Humanity of St. Augustine/St. Johns County and this year the organization is again happy to say they have reached their fundraising goals. In addition to her annual donations to Habitat, Inez is happy to “spread the love” by raising money and awareness for affordable housing in the community.

“We are so fortunate to have community partners who are dedicated to supporting our cause here at Habitat to build homes, community, and hope,” states Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Alia Reimer. “What we do on a daily basis to build safe, decent, affordable homes for low-income families in need would not be possible without the generosity of patrons like Inez.” The staff at Habitat for Humanity is hopeful that Inez’ gift will spark others in the community to give back to the nonprofit. Whether it is a one time donation, an annual gift, or a home sponsorship; there are many ways to give.

Local patron Inez McDonald presenting her donation to Habitat Executive Director Alia Reimer

Local patron Inez McDonald presenting her donation to Habitat Executive Director Alia Reimer

One path to contributing to Habitat, who recently closed on their 129th home in St. Johns County, is called the Community Contributions Tax Credit Program (CCTCP) for local businesses.With building material costs budgeted at approximately $50,000 per house, companies contributing anywhere up to that amount will see either a state issued tax credit or a refund of sales taxes paid equivalent to fifty percent of the final appraised home value, less the property cost. A home costing Habitat $50,000 to build with a final appraised value of $100,000 will see that $50,000 returned to the corporate donors in the form of a tax credit or a refund of sales taxes already paid to the state. “CCTCP is a great program that we have done for years with local businesses and restaurants in St. Augustine and St. Johns County -- it gives back to Habitat but also comes with the financial reward of a tax credit for the business,” says Reimer.

Habitat for Humanity of St. Augustine/St. Johns County offers safe and affordable home ownership opportunities to low income individuals living and/or working in St. Johns County whose earnings fall below 120% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Financing the homes through a low interest mortgage, those selected to be Habitat homeowners put 250 hours into building their own and other Habitat homes,   working alongside community volunteers, corporate and faith-based groups. Once in the homes, their mortgage payments help to finance new Habitat home construction.

Habitat for Humanity of St. Augustine/St. Johns County builds homes, communities, and hope. What will you build? To make a donation online or volunteer, visit our website at www.habitatstjohns.org

THE SCHEIDEL FOUNDATION SUPPORTS HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

Habitat for Humanity St. Augustine/St. Johns County received a $10,000 gift from the Scheidel Foundation this week to aid in the organization’s general efforts to build safe and affordable homes for families in St. Johns County. As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, Habitat for Humanity is dependent on its partnerships with donors, including their ongoing partnership with the Scheidel Foundation.  The Scheidel Foundation invests primarily in Jacksonville/St. Augustine, Florida; Sarasota, Florida, and Washington, DC area, promoting organizations that focus on economic empowerment of disadvantaged communities or organizations that help advance the practice of integrative medicine. The foundation was formed by the Scheidel family, who work very closely with the staff to make passionate decisions about where their money is invested in the community.

Habitat for Humanity of St. Augustine/St. Johns County has a special relationship with the Scheidel Foundation in that the organization has not only been the recipient of the Scheidel Grant in 2015, but also works closely with the foundation who provides the Scheidel Scholarship and funds the Prep Club program at the local Habitat affiliate. The Scheidel Scholarship, founded by Herb and Miyuki Scheidel in 2002, provides Habitat families of St. Johns County and Jacksonville Beaches with an educational scholarship. This is a unique opportunity that is only available to these two local Habitat affiliates as the Scheidel Foundation is based out of Ponte Vedra in north St. Johns County. The scholarship is valid at local colleges including the University of North Florida, St. Johns River State College, or Florida State College of Jacksonville.

Also, funded by the Scheidel Foundation is the Prep Club. This program is designed to provide incentives and educational support to students who live in Habitat homes. This program awards students in grades K-12 for perfect attendance and good grades. The hope is that the students will learn the value and importance of education while also preparing them to enter college upon graduation from high school.  To join the Prep Club, there is an application, questionnaire and the students must sign a Drug Free Pledge.  The students then submit their report cards to the Habitat office on a quarterly basis. Habitat St. Augustine/St. Johns County’s Prep Club Coordinator Lindsey Rodea states, “Because of the Scheidel Foundation, Habitat families in our community are blessed not only with the opportunity of homeownership but also the opportunity for an education.”

Beyond their efforts in education for Habitat families, the Scheidel foundation awarded Habitat for Humanity of St. Augustine/St. Johns County $10,000 on Tuesday December 15th to be used towards general operating expenses of the nonprofit organization. This particular act of generosity is especially unique as most donors require specific projects for donations. What can go overlooked in a nonprofit agency, is the general operating expenses are typically more difficult to fund. General operating expenses can include program expenses directly related to carrying out the mission of Habitat for Humanity, administrative expenses including overall operations and management, and fundraising expenses including publicity and fundraising campaigns/events. Thanks to the generosity of the Scheidel Foundation, Habitat for Humanity can look forward to starting the year of 2016 off with confidence that our efforts to create affordable housing are supported and appreciated in the community!

Students can participate in the Prep Club funded by the Scheidel Foundation to promote education to the children of Habitat homeowners.

Students can participate in the Prep Club funded by the Scheidel Foundation to promote education to the children of Habitat homeowners.