December 31, 2010

On the seventh day...

…there are seven ways you can give back to RTA.

*Individual donations can be made online through Network for Good
*Purchase business gifts through giftback
*Pledge a portion of your regular paycheck through the United Way
*Sponsor an April or Special project
*Organize volunteers for a project
*Joining as a year round Individual In Action
*telling friends and family about us and our mission!

December 30, 2010

On the sixth day...

...a recent project in 6 photos. (this home was an April project)


Before


After


Before


After


Before


After

December 27, 2010

On the third day...

…we reflect on the three statements that continually drive us: our mission, vision, and values.

Mission
To bring volunteers and communities together to improve the homes of low-income homeowners so that they may live in warmth, safety and independence.

Vision
A safe and healthy home for everyone.


Values
* We are committed to helping low-income people and communities and respect their integrity, strengths, and assets. We strengthen lives, homes, and communities.
* We work in partnership with neighborhoods, involving residents in all aspects of our work. We value collaboration with other groups who share similar goals.
* We believe in quality planning, delivery, and evaluation of our services.
* We believe in inclusiveness, and seek to promote a diversity that is reflective of our communities.
* We recognize the uniqueness of each affiliate and their community and respect local flexibility and creativity in decision-making and service delivery.
* Volunteers delivering free services on National Rebuilding Day is our core initiative and our common denominator, along with the cost-effective leveraging of donated materials, supplies and labor.

December 26, 2010

On the second day...

…there are two directions recently weighing in our minds: RTA’s history and future.

HISTORY
Begun in 1993 by five guys from Notre Dame University, our organization a was an affiliate of what was then called Christmas in April.

1997 18 homes!
1998 18 homes!
1999 24 homes!
2000 26 homes!
2001 19 homes!
2003 16 homes!
2004 17 homes!
2005 12 homes!
2006 16 homes!

17 homes were completed in 2007.
Christmas in April became Rebuilding Together in 2008.
Emily, the first full time staff member, joined as the AmeriCorps member in August of 2008.
26 homes were completed in 2008.
Molly, the AmeriCorps member doubled the full time staff, by joining on in 2009.
The Year Round Repair Program launched in 2009.
32 homes were completed in 2009.
Laura replaced Molly in 2010.
52 homes were completed in 2010.


FUTURE
We will welcome our THIRD full time staff member in January.
We aim to beat out 2010 number of homes: shooting for 55.

December 25, 2010

On the first day...

…the one word that describes and drives our year: IMPACT.

To borrow heavily from Emily's end of year snippet in the December newsletter:

In reflecting back on 2010, one word quickly moves to the forefront of my mind: IMPACT. In looking at the dictionary’s definition of IMPACT, several definitions are listed. These include, but are not limited to, influence, effect, and the force exerted by a new idea, concept, technology, or ideology. After a record-breaking and life-changing year at Rebuilding Together Aurora, I would like you to consider another definition of IMPACT: a collective group’s influence on other people’s lives...

The collective influence of this group [68 financial supporters, 700 local volunteers, 1 staff member, 2 AmeriCorps members, 12 board members, 10 advisory board members, and several community partners] has done the following:
· Improved the daily living environment for 129 low-income people by providing home repairs they couldn't provide for themselves
· Provided financial relief to 51 families residing in owner-occupied homes in Aurora
· Improved a community of 172,950 people

As we close out a monumental year, I would like to sincerely thank you for being a part of our efforts in 2010. You’re support has allowed us to have an unforgettable IMPACT on many people’s lives and the community of Aurora. You have been a blessing to our organization and the family’s we serve and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.


View the video that sums up our compassion for community change here:
2010 Compassion on a New Level

Thank you all again for a fantastic year of IMPACT, and help us bring in 2011 with COMPASSION for COMMUNITY!

December 22, 2010

Twelve days of RTA!

In celebration of the spirit of the holiday, Rebuilding Together Aurora is sharing with you our own 12 day countdown- RTA style! Each day we will post a bit of history, a shout out, or a little-something-you-maybe-didn’t-know about our affiliate.

Check back every day December 25 - January 6 to learn something new!

December 15, 2010

Visualizing the Need

The New York Times just came out with this handy interactive map displaying key data from the 2009 census. And while it's fun to zoom around places like NYC and see the patchwork collage of demographic statistics, it also provides a very real reminder of the importance and need in our own community. Here are just a few:


The median household income for central Aurora is $25,000 or less, and the majority of the Aurora township falls beneath $50,000.


While a concentration of wealth lies at the perimeter of Aurora...


... a shockingly disproportionate number of households earn less than $30,000 a year within Aurora itself.


The median monthly rent in Aurora hovers between $500-$999...


... and yet 60-80% of the households in our key neighborhoods pay 30% or more of their monthly income to cover the cost of their mortgage...


... While home values continue to fall drastically at the city center.

December 14, 2010

Sign up to Volunteer!



Are you interested in volunteering with Rebuilding Together Aurora? We now have a simple way to let us know your interests!

Take a few minutes to fill out our Volunteer Survey and let us know how you want to help!

We will contact you with further information regarding upcoming opportunities related to your interests and skill sets.

December 13, 2010

A letter from Emily


Amazing volunteers making a difference in Aurora


In reflecting back on 2010, one word quickly moves to the forefront of my mind: IMPACT. In looking at the dictionary’s definition of IMPACT, several definitions are listed. These include, but are not limited to, influence, effect, and the force exerted by a new idea, concept, technology, or ideology. After a record-breaking and life-changing year at Rebuilding Together Aurora, I would like you to consider another definition of IMPACT: a collective group’s influence on other people’s lives.

2010 has seen the most growth, the most volunteers, and the most homeowner recipients in Rebuilding Together Aurora's history. We conclude the year having repaired 51 homes and helping 130 individuals, a shocking 200% increase from our efforts just two years ago. Doing this work, however, required an extensive task force including 68 financial supporters, 700 local volunteers, 1 staff member, 2 AmeriCorps members, 12 board members, 10 advisory board members, and several community partners. If you are a number-driven person, you will quickly see that this is quite a large group of people. If you look a little deeper, however, you will see an impressive, yet humbling, network of people banding together to do good in Aurora. The collective influence of this group has done the following:

· Improved the daily living environment for 129 low-income people by providing home repairs they couldn't provide for themselves
· Provided financial relief to 51 families residing in owner-occupied homes in Aurora and the surrounding area
· Improved a community of 172,950 people

Now that’s IMPACT!

As we close out a monumental year, I would like to sincerely thank you for being a part of our efforts in 2010. You’re support has allowed us to have an unforgettable IMPACT on many people’s lives and the community of Aurora. You have been a blessing to our organization and the family’s we serve and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

With 2011’s rapid approach, we would like to also ask you to consider joining and supporting our efforts in 2011. Although 2010 was record-breaking, 2011 presents an even greater need for low-income home repair assistance. Presently, we have over 90 applications for assistance in 2011. If you are interested in being a part of our 2011 IMPACT, please consider volunteering with us by contacting Laura Mast at rtaoutreach@gmail.com. If you can find it in your heart to donate to our organization, donations can be processed electronically by going to www.rebuildingtogetheraurora.com or can be mailed to Rebuilding Together Aurora, 501 College Ave, Suite 101, Aurora IL 60505.

Last but not least, we have put together a video showcasing the powerful IMPACT of Rebuilding Together Aurora’s work in 2010 (take a look here). Enjoy and thank you sincerely for making it possible!

Emily Stern
Executive Director

December 06, 2010

2010 Year End Stats



Looking forward to another highly successful year!

December 03, 2010

Send Two Gifts in One!



Oh Joy!

We are pleased to announce a delicious new way to give this holiday season... twice over! With every gift purchase made through GiftBack.com, 10% of the proceeds are donated to Rebuilding Together Aurora. GiftBack.com offers a wide selection of year-round gifties, including tasty goodies, flower arrangements, and cool corporate swag.



yum.

December 01, 2010

Thank you!!

Thank you to all of our hardworking and dedicated volunteers, sponsors, and supporters. The change we see and the work we do could not have happened without you.  Take a peek at some of the highlights of this year:

2010: COMPASSION on a new level

2010: COMPASSION on a new level!


Our Winter 2010 Newsletter is here!

2010 was an UNFORGETTABLE year. RTA has seen the greatest IMPACT in our history, the most tangible evidences of COMPASSION. Read about it on the 2010 Newsletter.

Want to be added to the mailing list? Email rtaoutreach@gmail.com

November 30, 2010

Volunteer Shout Out


A big hearty Thank You to Chuck Rhodes, individual volunteer from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, for his help on a recent bathroom conversion with the Year Round Repair Program.

"Chuck helps out on almost every project Rebuilding Together does," says Executive Director Emily Stern. "Often, I don't even know he's going to show up! He's just there, working his tail off!"

Chuck is extremely and uniquely generous with his time, always willing to step in when there is need. He has shown himself time and again to be a dependable, hardworking, and amiable volunteer; he has been a crucial component to the success of so many RTA projects.
Thanks for all your hard work!

November 29, 2010

Highlighted Sponsor of the Month

Last standing Lowe's crew and children of the home

For National Make a Difference Day (October 23), four area Lowe's stores joined forces and rebuilt the home of a single mother of five in Aurora. The team, consisting of about 25 volunteers spent seven straight days repainting the inside and out, refinishing floors, modifying the basement, clearing the yard, repairing windows, storm doors, and gutters, remodeling the kitchen, and repairing concrete steps. The diligent Lowe's team, led by Bob Hyde (sales associate at Lowes Oswego) and Daniella Gibson (HR Manager at Lowes Aurora) went above and beyond by surprising this very deserving family with a new washer, dryer, and range in addition to toys and air mattresses for the basement. The project was a fantastic success and evidenced the unbridled generosity of Lowe's and its staff. 

Learn more about Lowe's dedication to community here.

November 17, 2010

Dave Bellis named Board Member of the Year



We are pleased to announced that David Bellis, Immediate Past President and Board Member of RTA, is Rebuilding Together’s Board Member of the Year! This award, presented to David on November 13th at Rebuilding Together’s National Conference held in Las Vegas, Nevada, recognized the hard work and tireless dedication David has provided Rebuilding Together for the past 8 years.

Rebuilding Together is the nation’s leading non-profit working to preserve affordable homeownership for low-income homeowners. There are 206 Rebuilding Together affiliates serving throughout the nation. David was selected as the 2010 Board Member of the Year by his peers throughout the nationwide affiliate network.

David joined Rebuilding Together Aurora as a board member in 2003. He quickly was elected President and served as the President of the organization until May of 2010. Under his leadership, Rebuilding Together Aurora was able to greatly increase their efforts and help countless families through important home repair assistance. David remains on the Rebuilding Together Aurora Board of Directors.

“I couldn’t think of a more deserving person than Dave Bellis to receive this award. There are few people in our organization’s network that weren’t recruited by Dave. There are even fewer that weren’t inspired by his passion and dedication to serve low-income homeowners in need of important home repair assistance. He has a huge heart, a humble desire to serve, and a dedicated commitment to helping those in need. He is an inspiration to many,” stated Rebuilding Together Aurora’s Executive Director, Emily Stern.

David is a Partner and Financial Adviser at Bellis & Associates Financial Services in Warrenville. He resides in Naperville with his wife of 41 years. He is the proud father of three and grandfather of three.  He is actively involved in his church, Good Shepherd Lutheran of Naperville.