I became very fond and proud of Project Mend-A-House through writing some press releases about PMAH projects and clients. I became highly impressed by the organization the first time I went to a job site and met and talked with volunteers. Each new story brought revealed more of the staff and volunteers' dedication and resourcefulness, as well as their deep concern for their clients. One of the best parts of writing stories about PMAH is having the opportunity to interview clients about the difference PMAH's work has made in their lives. They are grateful for the chance to stay in their homes, to keep their mobility and independence. In doing my little part to help, I found much reward.
This organization provides an opportunity to leverage individual talents / gifts by integrating them with those of other like minded persons and thereby enabling accomplishments that are far beyond what you thought you could do. As for me, I volunteered to repair some back yard fencing that had fallen down and drawing complaints from the neighbors to the home owners association. This resident turned out to be the resident home for marginally handicapped persons. I understand the home was donated to the county and used for this purpose. Upon arrival, I met a gentle who was from another church who was accompanied by 3-4 teenage boys. His ministry was to get the youth of the congregation involved in community work. As you can imagine, the teens were not thrilled to be here on a Saturday morning. However, once the teens met some of the residents, the work must have seemed much more important for the teens then engaged in the project and without them, the job would not have been finished. Additionally, one of the neighbors saw the working teens and dropped by to see what was going on and learned more about Project Mend a House. Would you believe that that the very same afternoon, this neighbor showed up with 2-3 other neighbors and this team proceeded to independently clean up the front yard. There are many more stories to tell, but the point is clear; no one of us working this project could ever accomplish what all of us working together were able to accomplish. Among the teens, the youth minister, the residents, the neighbors and myself, the Saturday worked seemed so much worth the effort. Don't forget about the person or persons who donated the home! Could they have ever known that they mended a house as well as mended a community?
After reading in the local Newspaper about all the good works Project Mend-A-House has done, and continues to do, and having recently retired, I wanted to find out for myself more about the organization, so I volunteered for one of the projects (on a trail basis). I was so impressed by the dedication and compassion of the volunteers, the
Project Coordinator and the small office staff that I decided to join the group. One of the other deciding factors for me is the thankfulness and appreciation of the "clients".
Project Mend-A-House people will not just fix the immediate problem and leave , but look for the underlying cause. An example is the home we are working in now. The downstairs has a family room, two bedrooms and an utility room. The area got flooded during Tropical Storm Lee. Once the two feet deep water was eliminated, the work was begun on replacing the damaged walls and flooring. On noticing a crack in the outside of the foundation, the Mend-A-House volunteers dug out where the crack was and made the necessary repairs. Additionally, another volunteer cleaned the leaves from the roof gutters and another fixed a broken storm door.
TGhis is such a great and worthy organization that not only do I do volunteer work with them, but I aqlso make financial contributions.
I have volunteered my time with the Project Mend a House team for a few years. I take my three children to help on some of the projects. It is important for them to see how some people live and the responsibiltiy we have to use our good fortune to help others in need. I have encouraged my scout groups to also help with this organization. I would highly recommend working with this group to anyone I meet. I have worked on a number of projects with them from very small jobs to very large undertaking. PMAH is primarily lead by just three people, (Andrea, Kristen and Bill) who lead an incrediable team of volunteers to serve the needs of the low income senior citizens and handicapped in Prince William County. Each of them gives so much time and energy to make things happen. It is really nothing short of incredible to see how many people that they help in so many ways. There are more and more low income people who are not making by. They have to chose basic needs over repairing thier home. PMAH finds ways to help when other can not. In many cases a simple fix has compounded into a much bigger challenge to be repiared becuase of years of neglect. I have worked on projects for clients with no air-conditioning, no heat, no electricity, no running water and other basic necesities that we take for granted. The biggest challenge they face is finding volunteers to help with all of the work load. PMAH has been blessed with developing great partnerships with companies like Woodbridge Plumbing, Parrish Services, Prince William Home Improvements and many others. I would highly recommend and encourge any one to come be a part of this incredible group. It is very rewarding to help other people and to be a part of this team.
Project Mend-A-House is truly one-of-a-kind. Its service area is relatively small and its mission focused on helping individuals maintain their homes and their dignity. Although the organization provides durable medical equipment through its loan closet program, the bulk of its work is in home repair and modification for low income elderly and the disabled. I have seen how lives are changed by the volunteers who build handicap access ramps, repair plumbing, fix roof leaks, get appliances working, and a host of other chores. In every case the Mend-A-House client is treated with respect and left with a home that is safer, more secure, and more livable. The many hours I have spent volunteering for this fine organization are among the most satisfying experiences of my life.