On The Shore On The shore — 05 April 2014
Rebuilding Together rallies fix-up volunteers

He’s a Florida native, a 52-year-old single father devoted to raising his 12-year-old son on a fixed income in Fort Lauderdale. In the past few years, he has suffered the death of his father and been hit with a diagnosis of degenerative joint disease and osteoporosis. He endures constant pain that keeps him from working and has drastically changed his lifestyle. So when Luther Bright says that being able to remain in his childhood home makes things a whole lot easier, that really means something.

It means that, for one more family, Rebuilding Together Broward County is rolling up its sleeves and getting to work.

Bright is just one of about 20 low-income homeowners in the community in northwest Fort Lauderdale who’ll benefit from some serious home improvement as hundreds of volunteers and dozens of local businesses pitch in during the non-profit group’s annual National Rebuilding Day on Saturday, April 26. It’s the culmination of a national monthlong call to service in which 70,000 volunteers repair over 4,000 homes and millions of dollars are invested into low-income communities across the country.

One of seven Florida affiliates and nearly 200 across the country, Rebuilding Together Broward County was itself needing a bit of improvement, Sandra Veszi Einhorn says, when she became executive director five years ago this month.

“I think Rebuilding Together Broward was a perfect fit for me,” she says. “It combined my passion for Broward County and giving back to my community with my passion for volunteerism. It allowed me to turn a struggling organization into a sustainable one that’s been able to increase the number of homes served by more than 200 percent in the last three years.”

The group, which recently won the Tijuana Flats Just In Queso Award at the PNC Bank Non-Profit Awards, has invested more than $3 million into the community since 2003 by rehabilitating community centers and providing repairs and safety modifications to more than 325 homes at no cost to the homeowners.

For Einhorn, who had no experience in non-profit management when she took the post, it’s as much about the volunteers as the veterans, elderly, disabled and low-income homeowners they help.

“I remind my staff frequently that without volunteers we would not be able to serve the homeowners we need, and therefore they are just as important as the homeowner.”

In that spirit, the group is recruiting skilled labor, sponsor teams and local businesses for the event, which begins at 8:30 a.m. at Joseph C. Carter Park, 1450 W. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Sponsorships range from $1,250 to $10,000. For more info: rebuildingtogetherbroward.org or 954-772-9945.
Greg Carannante

 

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