We wrapped up our week of the 'Rock the Block' Neighborhood engagement effort in Williamston. Throughout the week we were involved with projects at six different homes in the neighborhood. We also had one or two Care-A-Vanner (CAV) teams out at the new build site in Lansing.
It was a new experience for all of us. Many times we work as a single volunteer unit on one or two homes. This time, the affiliate had us merry up with new groups of volunteers who came out each day to work on the neighborhood projects.
It was a fairly large effort and Pam and I were very impressed. The affiliate has a great group of leaders who organized and participated each day. They marshalled the efforts of a lot of people on all the projects and got us swimming in the same direction for a productive and successful week.
These things don't happen without a great planning and execution.
Kudos to the affiliate for pulling it off well.
It all starts from the top. Vickie - the Executive Director and lead cheerleader was on site every day. We don't see that often. She somehow made time to kickoff the daily meeting and joined us for lunch each day and was exceptional. Its easy to see why this affiliate is one of the best we've had the privilege of working with.
Next -- the affiliate team (in no particular order) was great.
Sami, the Volunteer Coordinator communicated with us early on and sent everyone a welcome packet. And got our T-Shirt sizes so we were ready to roll first thing on Monday morning.
Caroline, the 'Rock the Block' project coordinator (she has other roles in the affiliate I'm sure) was the perfect person to be in charge. She was tireless in getting us prepared from the start. We had tables set up for each volunteer organization and CAV team each day so they knew where begin.
After the initial welcoming and announcements, we had a brief description of the day's goals and work. Next we had a safety brief, and headed out to our house which were all within walking distance.
Each site had the equipment (ladders, paint, drop clothes, fencing etc) on site as well as a notebook of information for the house/project leader. It took a few minutes to divide of the workforce at each project and determine who was going to work on.
Some examples included: painting the garage, digging up weeds and replenishing the flower bed, scrape the brick work, removing (demo) the old garage door or fencing), getting on the post hole diggers etc. There was a lot to do.
Ron was the man. He was the Construction Supervisor for us and went to each site to make sure everyone got on track early and then he revisited each home to keep the plates spinning all day long. And then he worked on and off at the hardest site each day to do the difficult stuff. Some of that included putting up the scaffolding, showing us how to set a true string line for the fencing and getting everything plumbed.
Shawn was a ball of energy and we got to work with him one day on the job that required scraping and painting on the scaffolding and ladders around the house. He spent the day making sure everyone had what they needed and also hustled all day long. He was fun to work with and is a real asset to the construction team.
Julie is brand new to the HFH affiliate but got involved early and engaged with our campground in problem solving an issue we had the first day with no access to the restrooms and showers. Someone at the fairgrounds inadvertently locked us out and she heard us talking about it and made a couple of calls and made sure we were taken care of before we even got back to the campground. We appreciated that kind of initiative.
The 'Rock the Block' neighborhood effort ended on Friday with a volunteer group from Home Depot walking around the seven or eight streets we were on. They knocked on doors and asked if they could mow people's lawn. No strings attached. A twenty minute nice thing to do for people that live in the area. Very nice touch. Shawn headed up that one and they had done probably 15-20 lawns before lunch time.
A very import feature of this effort was the main meeting facility where we had coffee and donuts each morning, our lunches (which were provided every day) and our wrap up end-of-the day meetings.
The Williamston United Methodist Church graciously provided the facility and allowed us to 'take over' their fellowship hall the entire week. A big thanks too to their Hospitality Committee who served up all the food each day and especially Pastor Julie and here staff. They were all great. We didn't get a chance to meet everyone but everyone we did (including Brenda) were exceptional.
Here are a few photos from the week:
Daily morning registration and meeting at the Williamston UMC.
It was fun, we all got a lot done for the neighborhood and met some great folks. Pam and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
That's all for now on the Roadrunner Chronicles. Thanks for joining us.