In January, Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity kicked off a 12 week home improvement course designed to give women an opportunity to learn how to do various home improvement tasks in a safe, nonjudgmental environment while remodeling a Habitat for Humanity home in Iowa City. The Women's Home Improvement Confidence Course is a series of Saturday classes where participants are introduced to the challenges and obstacles faced in a real-world remodeling environment. Classes include hands-on experience with:
Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity wants to thank Sandra Steil of MMS Consultants for her essential role in getting these workshops established. Sandra says, "My hope is that as women take these classes, they will develop confidence to take on other projects within their own homes." Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity plans to continue offering similar educational opportunities to the public. Stay tuned for updates on the Women's Home Improvement Confidence course and more!
Approximately two years ago the subfloor in Jackie’s kitchen started to collapse. With the sagging floor came cabinet doors that did not stay shut, a counter top that separated, and constant fear that one false step might cause the entire kitchen to collapse. The problem was so troubling that she removed the refrigerator and stove out of fear the weight of the appliances would cause
the subfloor to finally give out. The kitchen was especially dangerous for her grandson, who she adopted several years ago. Jackie says, “I was at my wit’s end, I didn't know what else to do…I have to do something! And I can’t get a loan anywhere.”
After learning that Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity makes affordable home repairs through the Helping Hands program, Jackie turned to us. Upon inspecting the home, we determined it necessary to update the wiring in the kitchen, reinforce the joists below the kitchen, replace the flooring, replace the cabinets, replace the appliances and install a new counter top. When discussing the project, Jackie looks forward to simple activities that make a home comfortable like doing laundry and baking. She is also excited about passing these skills along to her grandson, “I think just being able to have [my grandson] have chores like normal people, you know because I want to teach him life skills and he wants to cook and he knows how to cook and do laundry, so I want to be able to help him move forward and be what he needs to be in society.”
Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity is undertaking our first Small Gift. Big Impact. campaign in support of Jackie and her
grandson. The goal of this campaign is to provide IVHFH supporters with an opportunity to make a small contribution that will add up to make a big impact on the life of an IVHFH partner. With this in mind, we need a gift of $10 from 350 people. You can donate by visiting any one of the links below.
To those who make a small gift in support of Jackie, she is left nearly speechless, “I don’t think there are words. You could say thank you, but you can’t really…to say how much I appreciate it, I don’t think you can do that.”
Living on a fixed income makes even modest home repairs difficult to afford, and we were reminded of this when we met Karen and Marshall earlier this year. The couple was at risk of losing their homeowner’s insurance because of a faulty roof and encroaching tree, yet were unable to pay for the badly needed repairs. Your support for our Helping Hands program enabled us to lend them a hand by repairing the roof, replacing the shingles, installing a proper venting system, and removing the tree. These repairs ensure the two will continue to live safely in their home yet aren’t financially burdened by the repair. Expressing her gratitude for the Habitat community of supporters, Karen says, “We’re proud. Habitat for Humanity is nothing short of God’s work. The people are so kind and nonjudgmental, just like family. ”
bonds that shape developmental growth. The new Habitat home they are building will close a 15-year chapter of uncertainty, allowing an incredible family to put down roots in our community and build lasting, productive relationships. They belong.
Heartwarming stories like these are why your gift is so important. Please make a year-end donation to Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity today because home is the key to our community. Together we can help more families like Karen and Marshall and Chubaka and Mwangaza in 2020. Together we can work together to build a community of strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter.
Jesse Bulman, AIA, Neumann Monson Architects
Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity Board President
The meal is accompanied by miso soup, sake, and pickled ginger. Dessert is mochi ice cream with coffee or tea. Guests take home what they can’t eat along with the sushi rolling mat, which is theirs to keep.
Kazi's Sushi Party will be auctioned off in a live auction at Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity's annual Women Build fundraiser, Hammers and Hardhats. Additionally, there are several other exciting packages that will be featured in the live auction including a breakfast riverboat cruise, a week-long stay at a condo in Keystone, Colorado, a private morel mushroom hunt, and more! There will also be nearly 100 items up for grabs in a silent auction. Proceeds support construction of the Doris Preucil Women Build home and Women Build Helping Hands repair.
For your chance to bid on Kazi's Sushi Party, along with many other fantastic silent and live auction packages, purchase tickets today! Proceeds will benefit the Doris Preucil Women Build. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 319-519-6121.
In the afternoon of Sunday, October 27, the two families of Hatim and Sayeda, and Habtamu and Ebsitu celebrated their new homes with their friends and family, Habitat staff, and many supporters throughout our community. As part of the 2019 Interfaith Builds project, this dedication ceremony included beautiful prayers and blessings on the home from various faith traditions including Islam, Judaism, Unitarian Universalism, and Christianity. Those in attendance were in return blessed by hearing from the families, who gave thanks for the support of people throughout our community – both friends and strangers. Owning a home has long been a dream for both families, and this day celebrated this dream come true for two of our community’s families. Afterward, attendees were able to tour the homes, mingle, and enjoy delicious food prepared by the two families and their friends.
Like so many, these two families have endured much hardship and pain as they were forced into impossible decisions for their family’s safety and health. And like everyone, these families deserve a comfortable and affordable home in which to grow and thrive.
Congratulations to both families as you begin a new life as homeowners! We are so blessed to have you in our Habitat family.
2020 Interfaith Builds Needs Your Support!
With the completion of the successful 2019 Interfaith Builds project comes the start of the next. This means we would love to talk with you and your faith community or other group about how to support this important program aimed at (1) putting faith and/or good will into positive action, and (2) bringing people together and improving understanding and acceptance of all backgrounds, including faith.
One lesson learned over and over through work with diverse people is that all religions and people of good will share very similar values; one of these is a fundamental belief in striving to always treat others in ways you desire to be treated. Another shared value is the necessity to live your faith and values through action. We hope you and your faith community will join us in our vision to make the Interfaith Builds continue year after year.
Ways to support include:
• Financial contributions, individually and/or through your faith group. One-time or planned.
• Volunteer! Want to have fun, make a difference to families in our community, and learn and practice valuable skills? We always need extra hands, whether already skilled or willing to learn! Bring yourself and your faith community, friends and family, and any others within your circle. Contact email@example.com for more information.
• Join our Interfaith Committee! Members of the committee help plan events and set goals related to the Interfaith Builds, recruit volunteers, and assist with outreach and fundraising efforts. As this committee grows, so too will our impact on not just the Interfaith Builds project, but also other Habitat programs (Helping Hands, Home Buyer Education, etc.) and affordable housing advocacy.
• Other: Want to support the Habitat mission, but are not drawn to any of these ways to be involved? Contact us! Many people volunteer their time in unique ways, based on their interests and skills – we just need to chat to find what works best for you!
Gabe (Community Outreach and Interfaith Committee): firstname.lastname@example.org
Leda (Volunteering): email@example.com
If you would like more information related to our Interfaith Builds and Committee, please contact Gabe (see above). We can give a presentation to your faith community, chat over coffee, or whatever you prefer! The Interfaith Builds project will only continue with the support of many faith communities, including yours.
October’s Interfaith Builds Dedication Ceremony marked the completion of the 100th house that William “D’Grouch” Laubengayer has worked on as an Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity Volunteer. William has been a part of the IVHFH family for more than 20 years, over which he has averaged nearly 1,000 hours of volunteer service each year.
In addition to his regular presence on the construction site, William recently donated his personal tools to stock our indoor warehouse so that we can build walls and other structures during the winter months and bad weather. In 2017, William was one of three individuals inducted into the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame in recognition of his tireless work with Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity. William has already put in multiple volunteer hours on houses number 101 and 102! Congratulations, William, on the completion of your 100th house, and thank you so much for your continued support of Iowa Valley Habitat!
Last month we celebrated the two-year anniversary of IVHFH’s Helping Hands repair program by getting our hands dirty with demolition on our next aging in place project. While cruising along Highway 218 from Washington to Iowa City with a truck weighed down by debris and a cast iron tub, I reflected on a few things I have learned during the last 24 months. So, here it is, a not-so-comprehensive list of things that I’ve learned by working in Helping Hands:
1. Helping Hands brings people together. This is not a new idea -in fact it is clearly stated in our Mission Statement- but bringing people together to create housing solutions is the foundation for our success. The current project best exemplifies this sentiment. Occupational therapists from the Washington County Health Clinic volunteered their time to develop the scope of work. Members of the Board of Directors, specifically Lindsay Glynn and Mackenzie Wise, volunteered their time to review the needs of the homeowner and offer advice on how to best meet those needs (along with a million other things to support Helping Hands). Sub-contractors completed installation of the new no-step shower, grab bars, new toilet and the stair lift. Our construction staff completed the demolition of the bathroom, installation of railings, installation of new flooring and finish work around the shower. And office staff helped to develop relationships with donors and financial supporters, so that we could keep the project affordable for the homeowner. Behind each of the people that spent time on the project are dozens of other supporters who donated money, volunteered time, and advocated for our mission. All of these efforts culminated in us ripping up a bathroom, hauling away the wreckage, and then rebuilding to make a home safe and accessible.
2. Safe and accessible homes improve quality of life. For example, a few weeks ago we received an application from a woman who has trouble navigating three steps outside her home. She leaves her house very infrequently, which has a detrimental impact on her mental and emotional health. She was very candid in saying she often feels trapped in her house. We are set to construct a ramp for her later this year and the mere discussion of the project brings a smile to her face. She knows that an accessible home will make it easier to go grocery shopping, visit her family, and get to the movies. This aggregation of lumber, screws, nails and brackets won’t just make the stairs manageable, it will return her independence.
3. Need for critical repairs and aging in place modifications is significant. And although these projects are more economical than enduring unsafe housing or prematurely moving into assisted living, financial hardship prevents too many people in our community from getting their shelter needs met. In the last two years, Helping Hands has helped meet this need by completing projects including ramp construction, roof repair, and modest bathroom remodels for more than 40 households!
You can help! There are many ways to support Helping Hands. Contact Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-337-8949 for more information.
-Article written by Scott Hawes, IVHFH Helping Hands Manager
Winners will arrange their stay with the Downs. The condo will be available on the following dates:
The week-long stay at this Keystone, Colorado property will be auctioned off in a live auction at Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity's annual Women Build fundraiser, Hammers and Hardhats. Additionally, there are several other exciting packages that will be featured in the live auction including a breakfast riverboat cruise, a private sushi party hosted by a Women Build committee member, a private morel mushroom hunt, and more! There will also be nearly 100 items up for grabs in a silent auction. Proceeds support construction of the Doris Preucil Women Build home and Women Build Helping Hands repair.
For your chance to bid on a week-long stay at this Keystone condo, along with many other fantastic silent and live auction packages, purchase tickets today! Proceeds will benefit the Doris Preucil Women Build. For more information, email email@example.com or call 319-519-6121
Terry and Johanna Abernathy have generously donated a riverboat cruise on the Coralville Reservoir to the Hammers and Hardhats auction fundraiser on November 14. Winners will enjoy a 3 to 4 hour cruise for 20 people on the Abernathy's beautiful houseboat, Ausgezeichnet. While guests relax and view the scenic shoreline, they will also enjoy a breakfast with mimosas provided by the Doris Preucil Women Build committee. This auction package would be perfect for a special birthday, a wedding or baby shower, a corporate retreat, or simply a fun gathering for friends and family.
The breakfast riverboat cruise will be auctioned off in a live auction at Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity's annual Women Build fundraiser, Hammers and Hardhats. Additionally, there are several other exciting packages that will be featured in the live auction including a week-long stay at a condo in Keystone, Colorado, a private sushi party hosted by a Women Build committee member, a private morel mushroom hunt, and more! There will also be nearly 100 items up for grabs in a silent auction at the event. Proceeds support construction of the Doris Preucil Women Build home and Women Build Helping Hands repair.
Winners will make arrangements with the donors to schedule the breakfast cruise in summer of 2020.
The Doris Preucil Women Build committee is excited to announce they have received a unique and exciting donation for their upcoming Hammers and Hardhats auction fundraiser on Thursday, November 14. Habitat supporters, Lyse Strnad and Tom Leavenworth will arrange a private morel mushroom hunt on their property in Cedar County.
In May 2020, the winner of this experience and one guest will come out to Cedar County to join a group of morel mushroom hunters in hundreds of acres of private timber. Participants should wear their oldest, briar-torn clothes and waterproof boots or shoes that can get wet. The winners will be provided with a mushroom stick to use for the day. This is a vigorous activity with lots of steep hills and creeks and brushy woods along the Cedar River. The team will use deer paths and horse trails on the hike.
After several hours of hunting, the group will come back to Lyse and Tom's house where all findings will be split evenly among all the hunters all while the group sips on delicious mint juleps served by the hosts.
Never hunted morel mushrooms before? Lyse and Tom will teach you all the tricks and take you to their best hunting spots. There are no guarantees except that you will have a lot of fun and a great hike on beautiful land.
The Morels and Mint Juleps package will be auctioned off in a live auction at Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity's annual Women Build fundraiser, Hammers and Hardhats. Additionally, there are several other exciting packages that will be featured in the live auction including a week-long stay at a condo in Keystone, Colorado, a private sushi party hosted by a Women Build committee member, a riverboat cruise on the Coralville Reservoir for 20 people, and more! There will also be nearly 100 items up for grabs in a silent auction at the event. Proceeds support construction of the Doris Preucil Women Build home and Women Build Helping Hands repair.
Morel Hunter Lyse Strnad Discusses Morel Hunting with KCRG