May 26, 2011

Volunteer Shout Out

An Extra snazzy THANK YOU is due to all of the professional photographers that participated as mentors in this year's RTA Doc.Crew, generously donating their patience, time, and talent. Each of these fine individuals led a team of 3-5 high school students, documenting RTA's volunteers in action on the last day of our April Rebuilding Event and capturing the community each of their project sites sits in.

Jimi and Kate Allen of Jimi Allen Productions
Keir Briscoe
Rich Hayhurst of Studio One Photography and Video
Pawel Kowalczyk
Brandi Martin of West Aurora High School (instructor)
Jeffrey Ross of Jeffrey Ross Photography

The students commonly responded that they would like MORE of these events, giving their mentors a whopping average of 4.5 / 5 on the helpfulness scale--- 100% said they would participate again.
So, thank you, thank you for making this event a huge success!

2011 Doc.Crew Final 5

These 5 photos, all captured by West Aurora High School students on May 7, were selected as a series that beautifully represented the Rebuilding Together Aurora experience. These photos will be printed large-scale, courtesy of Aurora Fast Print, and used extensively in our upcoming outreach campaigns.
These students also received gift certificates to Pockets, and will have their shots submitted for publication in local and national media.

Project Rebuild
"Project Rebuild" by Mia Sanders

A Helping Hand
"A Helping Hand" by Juan Molina

1 Up
"1 Up" by Brandon Zierer

"RTA1" by Hyvan De Leon

"Concentration" by Mia Sanders

2011 Doc.Crew -competition runners up

On May 7, 19 West Aurora High School students partnered with 7 professional photographers to roam the city streets and capture RTA's April Rebuilding Event volunteer crews in action. Each crew spent the afternoon working through challenges pros face in the field and getting a taste of the richness of Aurora's inner neighborhoods. Students submitted their favorites [check them out here: Flickr Group Pool] and a jury selected 5 photos that best illustrated the Rebuilding Together Aurora experience.

The student works are all fantastic, and it was extremely difficult to select the "final 5"--- below are the very close runners up. Thank you to EVERYONE for participating. We here at RTA have been nothing but astounded by the sheer quantity of mind-blowingly good work!

rebuilding aurora
"Rebuilding Aurora" by Manuel Espejel

"RTA2" by Hyvan De Leon

"RTA3" by Hyvan De Leon

"Hand" by Kelsey Michelkamp-Stone

"Homie" by Brandon Zierer

Painting High
"Painting High" by Brandon Zierer

May 24, 2011

Volunteer Shout Out

We here at RTA (and especially those of us who coordinate volunteers) are incredibly grateful for the skilled master craftsmen that donate their time year after year, often bringing in material donations and building our professional network by bringing in their own skilled comrades to help on project sites... an invaluable resource to our organization and our efforts in the community.

Emily Stern, Executive Director of RTA, nominated both the Plumbers Union and instructor Don Stunkel this month for yet another season of exceptional giving. She writes:

The Plumbers & Pipefitters Union Local 501, under the direction of Don Stunkel, have been instrumental in helping us provide important repairs for low-income homeowners. For the last several years, they have partnered with us on our April Rebuilding Event and have provided free labor for at least 3 full replumbing jobs. Each day they helped us was at least a 10 hour day but they never complained and jumped from site to site, addressing important plumbing needs, with a smile on their face. On top of their ARE support, they have volunteered on various emergency projects throughout the year whenever asked. The value of their support as volunteers is, without a doubt, invaluable. We simply could not do the extensive repair jobs that we do without them. The whole group has hearts of gold and sincerely inspire people to serve on a higher level. I can't stress enough how wonderful these plumbers are. We are blessed to have them in our community.

The Union took on several major projects with this year's April Rebuilding Event, including: heavy repairs on Oak St, a full replacement at W New York St, and extensive repairs for a second floor bathroom on Benton St.

Volunteer Shout Out

RTA is nothing without its dedicated House Captains who organize and run every project. House Captaining is the most time consuming and responsibility laden volunteer position with our organization, and it is only through the generous donation of each House Captain's time, talent, and tenacity that every project is completed successfully.

An anonymous Grace United Methodist volunteer nominated Thatch Irwin for his dedication to RTA, writing:

Thatch has organized the Grace UMC group for many years. He has worked to coordinate the Grace Team, plan the work and make sure we have plenty of hands to make the work go smoothly. He has been at the project evey year from start to finish and has been the person we all look forward to working with. Thatch's hard work and attitude of giving has made the many houses that Grace Church has worked on a success. Thatch does not stop once the work day is done, he has stayed in touch with some of the home owners to help outside of the weekend work. His example of giving and the grace he shows to those in need set a fine example for all to live up to.

Thank you again and again for your patience and selfless service to the Hope for Tomorrow project.

Volunteer Shout Out

April Rebuilding Event is full of unexpected or dirty jobs, and we owe the volunteers that take on those unsavory positions a HUGE THANK YOU for sparing the rest of us fainter-at-heart from the woes of crawling in muck, slithering into cobwebby crawlspaces, or teetering on the tops of twenty foot extension ladders.

Sean Gaskill, Brian Lemmon, Joel Nagle, and Kevin Koran (all of IHC Construction) deserve a HUGE extra special THANK YOU for their efforts with Fox Valley Associated General Contractors at 25 N Loucks.
These fine fellows embraced the undesirable task of sealing and insulating the very dank crawlspace of this home, wading through several inches of standing water for the majority of the day on April 30 when few else were willing to do it. Their work was very much appreciated by RTA staff, YouthBuild participants, and FVAGC volunteers who were saved from the task, and the homeowner who's house is now considerably more warm and dry.

These guys were nominated by both Mike Cweinkala and Mike Hampson, house captains for the project.

May 10, 2011

2011 April Rebuilding Event highlights

A huge thanks to Fred Harms at Extraordinary Demos for building this video that highlights Rebuilding Together Aurora's passionate volunteers, extensive scopes, homeowners, and generous community partners!

Highlighted people and partners include:
Julie and Tia - Midwestern University Occupational Therapy Graduate program
Juan Abrego- House Captain
Denise Anderson - RTA board advisor
Marcie Rogers - Good Shepherd Lutheran Church volunteer
Henry and Phyllis Cowherd - homeowners
Nancy McCall - Aurora Noon Rotary
Bethteague Fairbank - homeowner
Affordable Roofing