From the Files of There are Good People Doing Good Things Too

by Prince Of Petworth — July 20, 2010 at 11:30 am 10 Comments

From a Yachad press release:

On Friday, July 9th at 5 p.m., Washington, DC housing and community development organization Yachad celebrated the work of its teenage volunteers, who helped make a Northeast Housing Coop more accessible to people with disabilities. Beginning and finishing work during the sweltering heat wave that hit our area this month, a group of local teens built a professionally-designed accessibility ramp for the 2nd Street Coop on 5744 2nd St., NE, Washington, DC.

Yachad’s “Ramp it Up!” program paired these high school students with professional carpenters. The ramp they finished makes four to six coop units accessible in the previously inaccessible fifty-two unit housing complex. By mobilizing skilled and unskilled volunteers and empowering homeowners with skills and education, Yachad works to repair the homes and communities of low-income homeowners to ensure that Washington, DC can remain a diverse city.

Now that the ramp is completed, Yachad will continue working with volunteers to make key renovations to the bathrooms, kitchens, and doorways of several of the ground floor apartment units.

  • Thank you, POP for the post. Just wanted to add that the majority of our funding for this project came from our fantastic partners at the National Fair Housing Alliance. NFHA is a consortium of more than 220 private, non-profit fair housing organizations, state and local civil rights agencies, and individuals, dedicated to providing equal access to apartments, houses, mortgages loans, and insurance policies for all residents of the nation.

    Also, if anyone out there wants to get involved in finishing the interior renovations with us-making the units accessible by renovating the bathrooms, doorframes, etc.-get in contact with us. We would love to have you.

    • Ragged Dog

      I just signed up for Labor Day. If you have other dates, please let me know.

  • christopher

    how local are these kids? do they live in the NE housing coop? overall, what percentage of volunteers directly benefit from these projects an upgrades?

  • JenDC

    Awesome. Thanks for the post.

  • @Christopher Thanks for your curiosity. The kids come from all around the DC Metro area. We had several students from Wilson HS in NW DC, several from Walt Whitman HS in Bethesda, MD, several from JDS in Rockville, and others from other local schools. No one was from the coop. All were working to make a direct difference in their “neighbors” lives not in their own. Indirectly, however, they did change their lives as they learned so much about construction and most importantly about affordable housing and accessibility issues. You can read an essay written by one of the students on Yachad’s blog (http://www.yachad-dc.org/blog/?p=481) or also join our FB page (Yachad D.C. (nonprofit)) to watch videos of the kids working. Thanks!

  • M

    Great post, thanks for writing about this!

  • christopher

    yachad, thank you for answering my questions. do you find that most of your volunteers come from outside of the demographic that you target for your services? i understand that your main goal is to help the elderly and disabled, but i am asking in regards to the able bodied in your general target of low income households.

  • @Christopher Interesting question, Christopher. Yachad is actually a nonprofit whose mission is to build bridges of understanding between communities by working together to repair our city. We mobilize volunteers (skilled and unskilled) to do work, side-by-side with the low-income residents they are serving. In almost everyone of our projects we encourage the homeowners (if physically able) to assist with the repairs. On this ramp project, the homeowners at the coop were not able to assist as they are mostly senior citezens. However, we did involve them in the planning of the ramp. On other programs, particularly those where we work in a family’s home, we have the family members work with the volunteers. This way they learn the skills and also feel part of the process. It’s also very meaningful for the volunteers as well to meet and get to know the people they are assisting. The homeowners and volunteers are also encouraged to attend our DIY workshops, lead by our Construction Manager, and open to the public, where they can learn homecare skills. Hope this answers your question! 🙂

  • christopher

    yachad, thanks again for getting back to me. your organization sounds like one of the few non-profits that really benefits all involved and actually helps the city grow. i will definitely look into volunteering!

    thanks again.

  • Wonderful, Christopher. We would love to have you! We have opportunities for individuals. You can check that out here…www.yachad-dc.org/individuals.php. Cheers!


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