We couldn’t do it without YOU!
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision; the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives; it is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie
This year’s Volunteer Appreciation party started with some delicious food and a social hour, followed by recognition of Mortgage Milestones Families, our Outstanding Volunteers, the 2012 Community Partners, the Decade of Dedication volunteers, and finally our “superhero” board members. A tricky tray drawing distributed some excellent prizes donated by local vendors. Delicious desserts and hand-cranked ice cream concluded the fun event. Thanks to all the volunteers that made the event a success as well as all of you who came out to cheer on the volunteers, milestone families and partners recognized this year.
For more photos, have a look at our 2013 Volunteer Appreciation Party Slideshow
Families pictured l to r: Robinson, Davis, James, and Broughton
One of our most important partnerships is with our homeowner families. Their mortgage payments go directly into our building fund so that other families will have the opportunity to become homeowners. Pictured above are the four Bernardsville homeowners that have completed 5 years of mortgage payments.
Juanna James celebrates with Executive Director Nancy Asbury.
This year four more volunteers achieved the distinction of having faithfully served RVHFH for 10 years. Thanks for your years of service!
Pictured from l to r: Marge Richards (celebrating with Mary Ellen Koscs-Fleming), Pam Frueh, Wes Frueh, Betsy Kuzio
2012 Outstanding Volunteers
The Board of Trustees of Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity would like to thank all of the volunteers whose combined efforts have enabled us to continue our mission of building simple, decent homes for families in need. It is with great pleasure that the Board of Trustees recognizes our Outstanding Volunteers and Community Partners who helped to make 2012 an unqualified success.
Pictured from l to r: Susan Duffy, Paul Moran, Jennifer Yurgel, Anne Karig, Ryan Montagno, Denise Chang, Ebony Dunn Callands, Kim Kaschak, Linda Bradway[Community Partner], and Susanne Theis
Not Pictured: Sherri Harris, Brynnlee Pavlovich, Neha Badheka, Ava Murphy
Construction: Susanne Theis
Susanne has been a regular weekday volunteer since the beginning of the Bridgewater project. She helped complete the nine homes there and has moved to Franklin and Lambertville with us. Susanne came with skills and immediately became a real asset to our weekday crew. She is a fast learner and able teacher. Susanne quickly became a Women Build crew leader teaching others what she had learned. Susanne is teased about being a perfectionist, but you know that any job she does will be done correctly! Susanne has become our flooring – tile and bamboo – expert guiding others on this task. Susanne is a wonderful friend and volunteer.
The Kathleen M. Weidling Family Selection Award: Ryan Montagno, Kim Kaschak, and Ebony Dunn Callands
Ryan Montagno is one of the “veteran” members of the Family Selection Committee, having joined the Committee in 2010. This year, Ryan took the lead on an application for our Kingwood project, and the financial issues turned out to be more complicated than the usual application. In addition, as part of the Committee’s goal of reaching a greater number of potential applicant families, Ryan created a spreadsheet listing the addresses and emails of all the libraries in Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren Counties. Ryan is an excellent reviewer and offers constructive insight on the financial issues of applications. His thoroughness, thoughtfulness, and insight are extremely valuable to the Committee.
Kim Kaschak and Ebony Dunn Callands have been members of the Family Selection Committee for just over a year and yet have made a real impact on the Committee.
Kim joined the Committee in December 2011, and during 2012, she undertook the assignment as secretary of the Committee, taking the minutes of the monthly meetings. Kim assisted with several mailings for Homeowner Orientations for the Kingwood and Lambertville projects, as well as those orientations, and learned the interviewing process as part of the team that reviewed the eventually successful family for the second Lambertville home. As Committee scribe, Kim is kept busy recording the minutes and thus is a quiet presence in meetings, but her actions speak louder than words.
Ebony joined the Committee in January 2012 and jumped in immediately, offering to obtain information about social agencies in one of the adjacent counties in order to increase our mailing for the Kingwood/Lambertville homeowner orientations. Later in the year, Ebony called the numerous school districts in Hunterdon County to ask their policies for distributing flyers to the students, and created a spreadsheet for use in the mailings for homeowner orientations. She assisted with the homeowner orientations and undertook the review of an application under the guidance of Joan Darkenwald, last year’s recipient of the Kathy Weidling Memorial Award. We greatly appreciate Ebony’s efforts within our Committee and look forward to her future contributions.
Fundraising – Habitat Youth: Brynnlee Pavlovich
Brynnlee has consistently gone above and beyond for Habitat Youth. She volunteered to go to the Habitat Youth Conference and throughout the conference, she demonstrated responsibility, maturity and her love for volunteering and Habitat. She was thoughtful in her choices for seminars and was able to pass on this information to the rest of the group. She has attended every meeting and is always willing to come up with a creative new idea or a way to improve both Immaculata’s Habitat program and our Habitat Youth program.
Fundraising – 5K Run: Sherri Harris
Sherri has been a vital part of the Habitat 5K Home Run committee for 3 years. She’s energetic, resourceful, and gets things done with a smile. Sherri has used her background in Information Technology to help us market the race through social media and to manage our online fundraising. She did all of this while acting as liaison for one of our families! Sherri has also been a great help in soliciting donations for the race, and in helping with race day logistics. In short, we really couldn’t have done it without her!
HR – Office Support: Anne Karig
Anne never turns down an opportunity to help out. She truly has a servant’s heart. Sometimes, being extraordinary is doing the ordinary so consistently that others don’t have to think about it. It’s not uncommon to see her vacuuming or dusting in her down time between helping with the database, updating Volunteer Websites, and any of the million other tasks we ask her to do because she is so dependable. Anne comes into the office each week with such a positive “can-do” attitude that she makes everyone else shine just because of her presence. Anne is often heard saying, “That’s what I’m here for” and “I just like to be busy” and for that, we are grateful.
HR – Office Support: Paul Moran
Paul is a quiet force who is a treasure trove of experience. When tasked to help in the preliminary work on database cleanup, Paul jumped in with both feet. It’s not uncommon for Paul to go the extra mile in confirming an address by checking the internet for accuracy. His attention to detail is so valuable in proofing and proofreading materials. When it comes to a go-to guy, Paul is our man.
HR – Site Hosts: Neha Badheka & Ava Murphy
Neha and Ava joined the ranks of site hosts this year and they jumped in with both feet. Site Hosts often give the first impression of RV Habitat for new Saturday building volunteers. They greet the volunteers, register them and complete the paperwork for the office. Neha and Ava went above and beyond to help the Habitat mission, giving at least 10 Saturday mornings each to be ambassadors for us at the job sites — Neha at our Viking Avenue, Somerset site and Ava at our York Street, Lambertville site.
Family Support – Family Liaison and Mortgage Team: Denise Chang
In addition to Denise’s almost 20 yrs of service in a variety of Habitat roles, including builder, Partner Family liaison and various Board member positions, Denise brings her thoughtfulness and expertise to every Family Support meeting. She is presently serving on a team to help families who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments to get back on track. Her organizational skills and sensitivity to new homeowners’ challenges is serving Raritan Valley Habitat’s families well.
Public Relations: Jennifer Yurgel
Jennifer has been a considerable asset to our recent marketing campaigns. She has consistently offered her gift of photography to capture many Habitat images in the past 2 years. Her pictures of construction volunteers, families, house dedications and Habitat events have been used in RVHFH newsletters, displays and reports, and published in the newspaper. Each time Jennifer gets behind her camera she beautifully captures the essence of our program. We thank her for her dedication, easygoing manner and commitment to our organization.
All Around – Construction, Women Build, Finance: Susan Duffy
Sue has been a volunteer with habitat since 2004. She spent years helping on the weekday crew including a stent as a “Sparkette,” one of volunteer electrician Don Schneider’s female electrical helpers. Sue is one of the original Women Build crew members helping out from the first day in Lambertville. Sue did such a good job leading the workers & coordinating materials that she became a paid staff member for a few years. After retiring from this paid position she resumed volunteering and single handedly converted our finance books from Peachtree to QuickBooks. This action got noticed and Sue was then asked to volunteer as Treasurer. She is so committed to being a habitat volunteer that she does whatever she can to help wherever she sees a need. Sue still helps with Women Build activities such as Girls Night Out. Whenever you need a volunteer, you just have to ask Sue. Thank you, Sue, for being a great friend and volunteer for the last nine years.
2012 Community Partners
Faith in Action: The Chinese Christian Church of Somerset
Patience, perseverance and faith are the traits that we most appreciate from the members of the Chinese Christian Church of Somerset. They signed their Building in Faith agreement for the Viking Ave. home in January 2011 and then waited patiently and prayerfully until April of 2012 to be on site. Not only were they gracious about cancellations and delays, but they prayed faithfully for our continuance and mustered teams for all kinds of tasks on short notice. The members of the congregation turned out en mass for both the site dedication and the home dedication. They were a parade of well-wishers marching along Hamilton Ave and Franklin Blvd from their church to the building site. We thank God for Blessed Partners like this congregation.
Great Neighbors: John and Ronnie Marino
We could not have asked for better neighbors than John and Ronnie Marino of Lambertville. As we began our York Street project, we knew it would be instrumental to have access across the neighbor’s driveway to the rear of our property. John and Ronnie Marino agree to provide us access and even permitted deliveries, parking and use of the driveway for our dumpster during construction. Happy to see the once abandoned burned out home replaced with a new Habitat home was all the incentive John and Ronnie Marino needed to welcome our volunteers and their new neighbors to the site. Thank you, John and Ronnie, we could not have built these homes without your generous support.
Landscaping: Master Gardeners of Somerset and Hunterdon Counties (MGOSH)
The MGOSH Habitat Team has worked closely with RVHFH to complete the landscaping of each of the newly built Habitat houses since the spring of 2006 for a total of 25 RV Habitat houses in both Somerset and Hunterdon Counties.
With family input and a site plan provided by Habitat, the assigned Design Team develops a detailed landscape plan, taking into consideration plants that are easy to maintain, low cost, deer resistant, and appropriate for the site. Donations are then solicited from local garden clubs to help pay for the plant material.
The day before Planting Day, the plant material is brought to the site, the beds are marked and prepared for planting. On Planting Day, regular volunteers, along with the Habitat family, assist the Master Gardeners to complete the planting, mulching and edging of beds around each home. Lunch is provided to all volunteers thanks to the generosity of local merchants and the work of the MGOSH food team.
After Habitat families move in to their new homes, they are provided with a one to two hour educational program by Master Gardeners. The families are also given a copy of the complete landscape design with information on each of the plants in their yard and their appropriate care.
Last but certainly not least, Executive Director Nancy Asbury light-heartedly, but sincerely thanked the board members, many of whom are also committee chairs. These special members work tirelessly to support the mission of RVHFH and Nancy likened them to superheroes before passing out masks complete with a RVHFH button.
Pictured from l to r: Joyce Jonat, Therese Shick, James Richart, Mary Ellen Koscs-Fleming, Rebecca Dillon, Carol Hoffmann.
Not pictured: Diane Pabst, Dick Bedner, Dick Carr, Judy Pfister, Chuck Coombs, Rita Auld, Mike Barca