7 things you might not know about Habitat for Humanity

 

  1. We are about to celebrate a birthday. The organizational meeting that led to the formation of Habitat for Humanity was held in 1976 in a converted chicken barn in rural South Georgia. With our exponential growth in the intervening years and the tremendous support of readers like you, Habitat homeowners around the world have achieved the strength, stability and independence they need to build a better life for themselves. Our work together has helped more than 5 million people.
  2. We know a lot of people. Five U.S. presidents and many other famous people — including actors Susan Sarandon and Vanessa Williams, musicians Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks, legendary boxer Evander Holyfield, and former NFL quarterback John Elway — have built alongside our homeowners over the years. The more than 2 million volunteers who work with Habitat every year are your next-door neighbor, your work colleague or a person like you just looking to make a difference. We always have room!
  3. We see the benefit of working side by side every day. Habitat partner families help build their own homesalongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Homeowners invest their time, money and sweat in building their house. They work beside volunteers who devote their hard work to contributing to a home for someone else. The money from the mortgage goes toward helping another family realize their dream of owning a home.
  4. We wear lots of (hard) hats. In addition to building new houses, we also partner with families in need of a new roof, a wheelchair ramp or other repairs. We work with hundreds of communities in the U.S.revitalizing neighborhoods and have participated in 7,500 community projects in the past three years alone. On the global scene, our disaster response and recovery efforts provide shelter assistance, education and training to areas affected by hurricanes, earthquakes and other disasters.
  5. We like a challenge. The record for building a new Habitat house in the least amount of time was established in Alabama’s Shelby County — 3 hours, 26 minutes and 34 seconds, breaking the previous record of 3 hours, 44 minutes and 59 seconds. “Who knew?” said Habitat homeowner Bonnie Faye Lilly after she and dozens of volunteers pulled off the feat. Whenever possible, Habitat builds and improves homes using the latest technologies. From Energy Star-rated appliances to solar panels, innovations allow homeowners to save money on energy costs and make the most of their homes.
  6. We are big into recycling. Habitat ReStores sell new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price. These nonprofit stores are owned and operated by local Habitats, with proceeds going to build homes, communities and hope locally and around the world. Find a ReStore near you.
  7. We need your financial support. At Habitat for Humanity, we believe that every child needs a place to call home. A place where they can grow up healthy, be safe and learn. Your tax-deductible donation of even as little as $20 a month could help a family build a more secure future.

HABITAT UPDATE

Often as not our members are asked questions about MWV Habitat Affiliate, such as: “how did you guys do on the yard sale”,  “who do we call to donate furniture”, “how’s the house coming in Madison”, “do you sell furniture on-line”, “how do I volunteer”, among others.  So, an update is in order.

The latest event occurred Labor Day weekend with the last indoor yard sale of the season.

Thanks to John Lowell and his staff at Attitash Mountain Resort, Habitat was provided use of Bear Peak Lodge to store and sell furniture, appliances, building materials and home furnishings for its three indoor yard sales spanning spring through late summer.  Sam Johnson heads up furniture pick up and the yard sales for Habitat, assisted by a dozen or so volunteers, many of whom also participate in house construction.  Thanks also go to Matt Braun, owner of Matty B’s who provided lunches for the volunteers.

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The importance of these yard sales cannot be overstated, as the revenue derived from the sales equates roughly to a third of the cost of building a house.  Furniture is collected throughout the year on Saturdays, winter excepted as well as on the weekends of the yard sales.  How does it all happen?  All one has to do is call the Habitat office, 356-3832, or   visit the Habitat web site (mwv-habitat.org), click on “Donate” and follow the prompts.  A donor will receive instructions as well as an on-line form that will facilitate the process.  The web page lists items that will not be accepted and the necessity for the items to be in good condition and salable.

Currently, there is a problem – a lack of drivers/volunteers to handle furniture.  Habitat is putting out a call for volunteers to drive its box truck and load/unload furniture.

A few hours on Saturday, picking up donated furniture and loading the items into a storage trailer.  If you or someone you know might be interested in helping with this vital fundraiser, call the Habitat office, 356-3832.  You need to be over 18, obviously have a driver’s license as well as a clean driving record.

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MWV Habitat also offers an “On-Line Yard Sale” whereby the donor and buyer are connected on-line, effect a transaction, arrange for transportation of the item(s) and Habitat receives the sale proceeds.  As Nels Gustafson, Habitat board member who manages the on-line program  states, “it is a simple process”.  The Donor provides Habitat with item description, photo and contact information.  Habitat posts the item description/photo with asking price on its web site.  The Buyer completes an on-line form with appropriate contact information and bid price.  Habitat awards bid and instructs the buyer how to make payment.  Once received, Habitat effects contact between the Donor and Buyer who in turn arrange for pickup of the item.  The Donor controls all contact data ensuring confidentiality and Habitat provides a tax deduction form.  Greater detail and form(s) can be found on Habitat’s web site, mwv-habitat.org.

As mentioned, funds derived are critical to the house construction process.  Noted by Anthony Ruddy, MWV Habitat Construction chairman, “current construction on Grison Road in Madison is on schedule thanks to the many volunteers who are there each Thursday”.  Additionally, labor and equipment provided by local contractors such as Burnham Co. (site clearance, excavation); H.R. Hoyt (foundation, trusses); Chris Martin & Paul Jean (roof construction); Mike Lyons (roofing); NH Aluminum (siding) and construction materials provided by Chick Lumber and Silver Lake Hardware have contributed immeasurably to the mantra ”neighbors helping neighbors”.

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Integral to the home-owner process are the sweat equity hours put in by the family selected to be the new home owners.  The Arruda family’s commitment to the 300 hours is seen at the site each Thursday as John works side-by-side with the construction volunteers and his wife Kelly coordinates and delivers lunches from various restaurants and organizations in the Valley.

Since its founding in 1994 by Al Risch, Bob Morrell and Ted Pettengill, the MWV Habitat Affiliate has refurbished four and built 16 homes to qualified families.  Dan Osetek, Board president of the MWV Affiliated noted: “ this equates to 48 children who have been provided safe, stable and affordable living conditions”.

To learn how to volunteer your time and services, make a contribution, receive a newsletter, or apply for a house, visit MWV-Habitat.org.  As a new home owner recently told a board member, “ you have no idea the difference this home has made in my family’s life”!

 

 

 

 

SCHOOL TO CAREER

Thursday morning, Jul 16th, eleven students from the MWV School To Career Construction Camp visited the Habitat for Humanity house construction site on Grison Road, Madison.  The students participate in a week-long summer program designed to introduce local youth to the wide variety of career opportunities available to them as they get older. Run on a day-camp model, students participate in hands-on activities and projects related to the construction trades.

Under the tutelage of Joe Riddensdale, School to Career Director and Anthony Ruddy, Habitat construction site supervisor, the students went right to work building an interior wall separating the house living room and bedroom.  At the noon time break, the students presented John and Kelly Arruda, the home owners to be, with an autographed Adirondack  chair  they had built at their school shop.  In turn, Habitat presented each of the students with Habitat shirts and invited each to autograph interior framing inside the house.

 

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Mt. Washington Chamber to present annual awards

By Marti Mayne – 

CONWAY — The Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce has announced the 2015 Annual MWV Business Award winners, who will be honored at an awards luncheon at the 17th annual Business to Business Expo on June 1 at the Omni Mount Washington Hotel. 
 
The chamber annually calls for nominations and then recognizes Employer of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Non-profit Organization of the Year, Student Entrepreneur of the Year and Sustainable Business of the Year. Each winner will receive a plaque and a Governor’s Citation. This year, the chamber is honored to also celebrate Steve Eastman’s legacy with the Steve Eastman Community Spirit Award.
 
Tickets are available to attend the luncheon and honor winners. Before and after, employees are welcome to attend workshops to learn more about technology, service and resources in the valley.
 
The Entrepreneur of the Year this year is Brian Charles, owner of North Conway Music Center. Offering a large variety of new and used retail items plus an array of learning and playing opportunities, Brian Charles has grown the North Conway Music Center from its original 300 square foot space to a 4000 square foot location with eight staff members and twelve teachers.  The new Academy reaches out into the community and provides wonderful opportunities for musicians to gather and learn together.  The weekly free clinics, charity events, ensembles and “swap” opportunities are just a few examples of the community outreach demonstrated by the North Conway Music Center.
 
The Employer of the Year Award is given each year to a business that demonstrates respect for employees and other business partners and excellence in creating a safe and inviting workplace. The Employer of the Year is also a business offering solid pay/benefits and the opportunity for training and advancement. 
 
This year, the Employer of the Year Award is awarded to Michael Kline and Sal Martignetti of Soyfire Candle. Offering a culture of respect and involvement of employees, Michael and Sal have created a high-engagement culture where advancement and eventual store ownership has always been a priority.
 
The Non-Profit of the Year this year is the Mount Washington Valley Habitat for Humanity. Since 1994, MWV Habitat has addressed the affordable housing shortage in the area, remodeling four and completing 12 new homes, with four more in the works. This has resulted in providing stable, safe and affordable living conditions to 31 adults and 48 children. Using privately donated funds, MWV Habitat has invested $1.9 million (excluding volunteer labor) with a market value of $2.5 million. 
 
The Sustainable Business of the Year Award, chosen by the Mount Washington Valley Green Team, this year is given to Memorial HospitalBy switching to a new form of renewable biofuel, the hospital has reduced its greenhouse gases from heating fuels by 85 percent and total emissions by about 75 percent. In the first phase of converting all lighting to LED, the hospital has realized a reduction of 62,000 kilowatt hours and an energy savings of $8,000.
 
The Student Entrepreneur of the Year is Hayden Cyr, who has taken his welding, automotive and machine tools class knowledge and put it to work in his own mobile service repair company, HJC Mobil Diesel & Welding Repair. Growing up in his father’s construction and snow/ice removal company, Hayden saw firsthand how important equipment maintenance can be. Knowing that moving equipment off-site is expensive, Hayden created a company that brings the service to the fleet, saving time and money. He’s hoping to soon add big rig and fleet repair parts to his operation.
 
Working with family members of the late Steve Eastman, the MWVCC adds the Steve Eastman Community Spirit Award. Created to honor of the late Steve Eastman, former MWVCC board member, longtime community leader and former Mountain Ear newspaper publisher and editor, this award recognizes a a strong community leader. As the founding publisher and editor of The Mountain Ear, Steve’s business life personified what it means to give back to the community. His mantra, expressed beautifully at a memorial rock in his honor at the top of North Conway’s Steve Eastman Memorial Field at Hog Coliseum, was “Love everyone, hold no grudges, and good deeds do count.”
 
The Steve Eastman Community Spirit Award will be given annually to the person who personifies Steve’s passion and zest for life, for helping the community and for carrying on Steve’s love for the Mount Washington Valley.
 
This year’s Steve Eastman Award recipient is Ben Wilcox, president and general manager of Cranmore Mountain Resort. A University of New Hampshire graduate, Ben worked as an intern with Cindy Russell at Arts Jubilee, in marketing at Attitash Mountain Resort from 1988 to 1993 and in marketing and management at Bretton Woods from 1993-2004. He came to Cranmore as general manager in 2004. When Booth Creek sold Cranmore in June 2010 to the Fairbank Group, the new owners retained Ben, giving him the additional title of president.
 
“Ben very much personifies the community ideals and commitment to Mount Washington Valley that Steve exemplified throughout his years as publisher and editor of the Mountain Ear. If it was good for the community, Steve was all for it, and that’s a passion that Ben has shared throughout his career. We congratulate him on this honor,” said Tom Eastman, former assistant editor at the Mountain Ear, and a member of the staff of The Conway Daily Sun for the past eight years as a reporter and as co-editor of the paper’s North Conway Magazine and Steve Eastman’s younger brother.
 
For information about these awards and nominees, contact Melody Nester, assistant director of the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce at (603) 356-5701, ext 302.

‘Giving Back:’ A golden opportunity for realty’s 50th

By Tom Eastman

CONWAY — Everyone loves a birthday party, especially when the big 5-0 comes around.

But when owner Dick Badger, 86, discussed plans with Badger Realty’s general manager Brenda Leavitt and staff on how best to celebrate the agency’s half-century mark this coming September, they came up with a better idea.

Rather than host a one-time gala, why not embrace the company’s longstanding philosophy of giving back to the community?

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With Brenda Leavitt (from left) and Dick Badger are Jen’s Friends treasurer Kathleen Sweeney and Jen’s Friends president Wendy Holmes, also Badger’s director of real estate closings. (JAMIE GEMMITI PHOTO)

Thus, Badger’s “Giving Back” program was launched, with fundraisers planned throughout the anniversary year and beyond.

“We had talked about a celebration,” Leavitt said in a joint interview with Badger at the firm’s Main Street office in North Conway across from Schouler Park. “It would be fun, but at the end of the day, the whole team sat together to talk about what means the most to us and hands down it is about giving back to those who have contributed to our success.

Badger concurred.

“It’s a philosophy we have always supported. Now we’ve just formalized it as part of our 50th.”

Badger has long encouraged his staff to serve the community, whether volunteering for non-profit organizations, or serving on town and civic boards.

“I just have always felt that we all owe community service,” said Badger. “It’s an obligation we all have to pay back to our communities, and, of course, to help those who cannot help themselves.”

Leavitt said the “Giving Back” program serves as an umbrella to tie together community efforts that staff members had already undertaken.

She estimates that Badger will donate $25,000 this year, with another $10,000 in terms of the value of services provided.

“We have always done many of these programs, but we have stepped up the pace this year and are branching out to be really creative,” said Leavitt, who came on board as general manager in 1981.

Mount Washington Valley is one of the most charitable regions in the country, and we are hoping to add to that by involving as many people in the community to join in the effort as possible, whether it be for as little as $5 or more.

“It’s all about people helping people. It’s part of our 50th, but it will be ongoing in future years.”

As Badger and Leavitt noted, they are building on efforts carried on by brokers at the firm. Realtor Bernie Friberg, for example, won the New Hampshire Association of Realtors’ “Good Neighbor” award two years ago for The Caring Wheel, Hands of Hope and the MWV Calendar for Charities. It awards the winner $1,000, and they then get to donate it to the charity of their choice.

Friberg donated hers to the Miranda Leavitt Diabetes Fund, named after Brenda and Rich Leavitt’s daughter, who died from complications from Type 1 diabetes in 2007.

This year, Badger’s real estate closings specialist Wendy Holmes, president of Jen’s Friends, and Realtor Linda Walker of Arts Jubilee, the Christmas Stocking Project, Mountain Top Music and many other organizations were nominated by Badger.

SEVERAL GROUPS TO BENEFIT

Badger’s “Giving Back” effort was launched in January with a $3,000 commitment to the North Conway Community Center’s “Play It Forward” $1.4 million capital campaign for its expansion now underway.

It continued with a “No Empty Bowls” program for local animal shelters. Championed by Christine Newton and Holmes (with the assistance of Karla Badger and Peter and Sharon Pietz), the three-week fundraiser enabled the communities of western Maine and Mount Washington Valley to help the Conway Area Humane Society and Harvest Hills Shelter of Bridgton, Maine. They donated supplies and food at Badger’sNorth Conway office, resulting in two carloads totaling over $2,000 worth of supplies.

Recently, Badger and Leavitt presented a $1,000 check to Jen’s Friends treasurer Kathleen Sweeney and Holmes.

“Not only did we feel blessed go give some financial support to Jen’s Friends, but more importantly, said Leavitt, “both Wendy Holmes and (Realtor) Maureen Garrette) work here at Badger and are board members of the local cancer fighting organization. Wendy coordinates the annual Jen’s Friends Climb Against Cancer at Cranmore, and Maureen coordinates the Jen’s Friends golf tournament every June.”

There also was a $3,000 donation June 4 to the MWV Chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

“We have recently teamed up with Habitat to form a long-term relationship,” said Leavitt. “We are providing funds to help them build their new project in Madison. We also have two interested brokers here at Badger — one of whom will be a board member for Habitat. And we are working with the Habitat board to assist with upcoming fundraisers. Coordinating upcoming events are Diane McGregor, Maureen Garrette, Brendan Battenfelder and myself.”

On Friday, Badger Realty sponsored an ice cream social at Memorial Hospital‘s Merriman House for senior citizens, hosted by Debbie Anderson, Yvonne Andreani and Leavitt, with the assistance of hospital CEO Scott McKinnon and Merriman House’s Sue Ruka. Entertainment was provided by local vocalist Mary Bastoni, with ice cream by Ben & Jerry’s.

And as part of Conway’s 250th anniversary celebration, on July 10, Badger Realty will host a barbecue at the Old-Fashioned Baseball game at North Conway‘s Whitaker Field. Helping with that event are Realtor Ed O’Halloran and his wife Louise, Peter Pietz, Brenda and Rich Leavitt, and Sue and Jeff Smith.

“The first 250 first responders there will receive a free barbecue dinner,” said Leavitt.

Other efforts include a commitment to arts in the valley. 

As part of Arts Jubilee’s summer season, Badger will once again sponsor fireworks at the traditional pops concert on July 30. Linda Walker — Badger Realty’s first female sales associate in 1980 — is heading the effort. Fellow Realtor Theresa Bernhardt is one of the major contributors to the MWV Arts Association’s annual Art in the Park in Schouler Park Aug. 8.

In addition, Leavitt says that Badger has donated to Mountain Top Music, with Walker and staffer Debbie Anderson serving as “champions.”

Badger also is assisting Fryeburg‘s Mother Seton House, with Leavitt and Realtor David Cianciolo — a Mother Seton House board member — serving as champions of a “Ghost Baby Shower” being planned for August.

Another beneficiary is the Miranda Leavitt Diabetes Fund, close to the hearts of all who work with Leavitt at Badger. The center is located atMemorial Hospital.

“As you can see,” said Leavitt, a resident of Fryeburg, “‘Giving Back’ is such a vital part to our success as Realtors, but more important as human beings. There are so many other organizations, to include non-profits and charities that we support. We plan on hitting every town in the valley to help. For instance, with the help of Debbie Anderson, who lives in Madison, we are working on some upcoming community events. Working in all towns showing our support is important, whether it is in the schools, libraries or community centers.”

For more, visit www.badgerrealty.com or call (603) 356-5757.