About Building a Healthy Neighborhood Welcome to Rebuilding Together’s Annual Building a Healthy Neighborhood. This community-centric project focuses on the overall health and welfare of homeowners and the surrounding neighborhood. Rebuilding Together’s three-day Building a Healthy Neighborhood event will serve homeowners and families in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Overbrook. The project underscores the transformation of unhealthy and vulnerable homes into healthy and sustainable ones, which also comprehensively betters the landscape of the entire community. In addition to homes, Rebuilding Together will also address the physical needs of the community, as well as the resources and programs available to its residents. A new playground will be built for neighborhood youth and recreation, and a much-loved community center will receive critical upgrades to ensure its ability to serve residents. To celebrate the Overbrook community’s transformation, Rebuilding Together Philadelphia will host a community resource fair and celebration for Overbrook residents and volunteers. This celebration encourages education and engagement of local business with neighborhood residents. Building a Healthy Neighborhood will unite hundreds of volunteers with community leaders and businesses to impact the lives of homeowners and families in-need.
Thursday June 14th 7:30 – 8:00 AM 8:00 AM 8:30 AM 12:30 PM 1:00 PM 3:00 PM 4:00 PM
Friday June 15th 7:30 – 8:00 AM 8:00 AM 8:30 AM 12:30 PM 1:00 PM 1:30 PM 3:00 PM 4:00 PM 6:00 PM
Saturday June 16th 7:30 – 8:00 AM 8:00 AM 8:30 AM 10:00 AM 11:30 AM 12:30 PM 1:00 PM 3:00 PM
Onsite Registration and Breakfast Event Kickoff and Welcome Work Begins Lunch Work Resumes Cleanup Work Day Ends Onsite Registration and Breakfast Welcome Work Begins Playground Ribbon Cutting Lunch Work Resumes Cleanup Work Day Ends Good Neighbor Awards Reception Onsite Registration and Breakfast Welcome Work Begins Community Resource Fair opens Cleanup Community Celebration and Ribbon Cutting: Overbrook Elementary School Lunch Community Resource Fair closes
Volunteer and Media Check-In N 62nd Street and Lancaster Avenue 5
Building a Healthy Neighborhood’s Presenting Sponsor Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation is Building a Healthy Neighborhood’s 2012 Presenting Sponsor. During Building a Healthy Neighborhood, Lowe’s volunteers will help to rehabilitate homes in the Overbrook neighborhood, build a new playground in association with Carter Oosterhouse and his charity Carter’s Kids, and deliver critical upgrades to the Community Environmental Center. Since 2007, Lowe’s has been a dynamic partner and collaborator with Rebuilding Together. Annually, the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation donates $1 million to Rebuilding Together in support of its mission to provide safe and healthy homes for every person. Lowe’s has also had strong ties and commitment to various Rebuilding Together programs and core work, including: energy efficiency and Rebuilding Together’s AmeriCorps program, Rebuilding Together CapacityCorps. Lowe’s was the Presenting Sponsor at last year’s Building a Healthy Neighborhood event, and was the Title Sponsor at Kickoff to Rebuild this past February.
Carter Oosterhouse, star of HGTV’s Carter Can and Red, Hot & Green and Million Dollar Rooms, founded the nonprofit organization Carter’s Kids, dedicated to promoting and sustaining the importance of fitness and selfesteem in America’s youth. Carter’s Kids aims to accomplish these goals through building community playgrounds for the kids not only to enjoy, but also share in the responsibility of caring for this community space. During Building a Healthy Neighborhood, Rebuilding Together and Carter’s Kids, in association with Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation, will build a new playground adjacent to the Overbrook Environmental Education Center, a place of education and support for the Overbrook community. The installment of a playground will improve the quality of life for the youth and also provide a safe and healthy outlet. Carter’s Kids, in association with Lowe’s and Rebuilding Together, has built playgrounds across the country for communities and schools, including: Dallas, Denver, Miami, and Los Angeles.
OEEC aspires to become a place for intergenerational activities and education. Rebuilding Together and Carter’s Kids will partner with Lowe’s to support these efforts with a new playground designed to incorporate themes of conservation and sustainability. Our work will continue the center’s ability to promote sustainable local food production and economic empowerment. Volunteers will make improvements to the OEEC’s interior and exterior facilities, to increase its capacity and capability to serve its community and fulfill its mission. Rebuilding Together has a strong commitment to revitalizing communities, and the OEEC is the perfect avenue to reinvest into the Overbrook community.
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During your time at Building a Healthy Neighborhood, make sure to be part of the action! Upload photos onto our Facebook, and tweet us @RebldgTogthr with #BAHN2012
Rebuilding Together and Rebuilding Together Philadelphia would like to thank all the National, Local and In-Kind sponsors who made this event possible. Your dedication, donations and efforts revitalized a community and transformed the future of Philadelphia’s families.
National Sponsors Lowe’s Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation Citrin Cooperman Wells Fargo Choice Hotels HGTV and DIY Network
Local Sponsors Pepsi Janssen Biotech Independence Blue Cross Wynnefield Overbrook Revitalization Corporation
In-kind Sponsors ASHI urban ecoforms Clements MyFixItUpLife BFW Group LLC Keystone Mercy Giordano’s Produce
Homeownership plays a critical role in the health and vibrancy of American families and communities. The current housing landscape in America is at a crossroads: foreclosure, vacant lots and aging housing stock have affected countless cities across the country. Rebuilding Together believes that everyone deserves to live in a safe and healthy home. Rebuilding Together’s work not only restores health and safety to homes, but also positively impacts the condition of the surrounding community through home rehabilitation, community centers, playground builds, and partnerships with organizations focused on energy efficiency, sustainable community gardens, volunteer engagement, skilldevelopment, and education. Philadelphia is home to more than 1.5 million people and is one of our nation’s oldest and most historic cities. An inherent challenge rooted in old cities, such as Philadelphia, is the need. Many of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods suffer from a high rate of aging housing stock, over 40% of the homes were built before 1930. Philadelphia has been plagued with poverty for decades, and is recognized as one of the poorest, big cities in the country. Philadelphia’s poverty rate is 31% for families with children,
with 60,000 low-income homeowners struggling to care for their family and their homes. Philadelphia’s economic and housing disparities underscore the challenges the city faces in order to preserve its history, homes and health for its 1.5 million residents. Rebuilding Together’s work in the West Philadelphia neighborhood, Overbrook, will address the challenges that have threatened its vibrancy and health. Rebuilding Together and hundreds of volunteers will rehabilitate an estimated 30 homes in Overbrook to ensure that homes are preserved and restored to a healthy standard of living, at no-cost to the homeowner. The Overbrook Environmental Education Center promotes a clean and healthy community through their programs. Together, we’ll plan a sustainable garden to engage citizens in healthy living practices and invest in the local economy by creating a farmer’s market. Rebuilding Together and Carter’s Kids, HGTV’s Carter Oosterhouse’s charity promoting health and fitness in America’s youth, will build a playground for the local children in the neighborhood Our impact extends beyond the four walls of a home to revitalize communities, reinvest in local economies, and promote engagement between neighbors, businesses and leaders. Our work brings communities back to life.
On the front porch
grew and left the home, and she became unsatisfied with her hospital work. She knew in her heart she was meant to do something else, to help more people.
Inside is a home. Photographs are hung on the walls and a carpet with years of vacuum marks covers the floor. Even more adults are inside, quietly perched on the clean, worn furniture. Some watch TV, while others doze silently. Instantly you feel the warmth and age of a home that has been lived in by many, for a long time.
“I was bringing sandwiches to people I saw on the streets, but I knew I could do more,” Ms. Purnell recollects the moment she truly found her calling, the one that altered the path of her life and her home.
three men of varying ages and shapes sit on rusted patio furniture, silently watching the quiet street and its curbside activity.
As I walk into the dining room, I am introduced to Ms. Purnell. She sits at a large dining room table, and at once you know she is head of the household. Her matriarchal presence is unquestionable. In front of her are stacks of bills, as she writes a check for each one and seals them in white envelopes. After a quick introduction, I must know – is this your family? “Well yes, it is,” she replies, with an air of pride and protectiveness that only a mother could have. Ms. Purnell tells the story of how her home and family came to be. For many years, she worked in hospitals as she raised her sons and daughters in this very home in Overbrook (where she herself has lived for over 40 years). Her children eventually
“I started to take people in off the streets – I had such a large home and knew I should be sharing it. I want to care for these people, who have no one else to turn to.” Ms. Purnell was taking in people whose families and life luck had abandoned them; people with mental and physical disabilities, who needed attention and care. She originally found people to accommodate by talking to the hospitals’ social workers trying to place these people in homes and shelters. She is now known very well throughout the area’s hospitals and the Department of Public Welfare. Today, her humanitarian efforts have transformed her home into a funded, social service operation, “Labor of Love.” She owns three homes in the Overbrook neighborhood, which shelters about 20 people at a time. “These are people with no one else to turn to, 80% of them do not have any family. They’d be out on the street if they didn’t have Labor of Love,”
she explains. Just then, a man who had been sitting quietly on the couch comes in and introduces himself. It becomes clear that Ms. Purnell is passionate about what she does, and what she does for others. As I look around the dining room, I see countless framed photos on the wall. Some are weathered and faded, while others reflect the glossiness of fresh ink. I ask her who are the people in all these photos? “These are all the people who’ve lived in my home and been part of Labor of Love,” she explains. “These people are my family.” She’s done more than provide a home and give people in-need a sense of security and family bond, she also works tirelessly to enrich their lives. Ms. Purnell works with social workers and government organizations to deliver a life that “has just about everything to do with their well-being.” 3 meals a day, clean clothes, a bed, allowance, doctor visits, and social programs and classes, are just some of the standard services Ms. Purnell provides to her family. “I know this is what I was meant to do, and it makes me incredibly satisfied,” Ms. Purnell says. However, her service to others is no stranger to the struggles of owning three homes, and being in charge of over 20 peoples’ health and lives.
Rebuilding Together’s Building a Healthy Neighborhood in June. One of the homes that’s been selected for renovations is Ms. Purnell’s Labor of Love house. “It’s a God send, I am so grateful for the help. I am so excited to meet these volunteers. I can just cry, knowing that there are people who want to help make my home better.” As she says this, both of our eyes well up with tears. It’s not just Ms. Purnell’s home, it is also a home for several people, for many of whom, this is the only home they’ve ever known. I ask how she thinks these renovations will impact her home, as well as the other families’ homes in Overbrook. “Everybody wants to have a nice home. Homes offer comfort and contentment. The people in Labor of Love feel the same way; they know that it means to have a place to sleep.” As I leave Labor of Love, the family members wave goodbye. Labor of Love truly does offer a home to those in the greatest need. And, they are lucky enough to have a matriarch who is doing everything she can to give them the best home possible.
“All this time, no one has ever asked to help me. I’ve had to do everything myself to keep this place running. I even hung the fire escapes myself.” Imagining Ms. Purnell teetering outside a second story window to hang fire escapes is disheartening. How is she managing all of this by herself? “I need so much work done to this house,” she says as she looks around. Although it’s clean and orderly, it exhibits telltale signs of an older home. Hundreds of volunteers will be working in the Overbrook neighborhood during 15
The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation is Proud to Join Building a Healthy Neighborhood Philadelphia.
1,000 Volunteers, 30 Homes, 3 Days, 1 Community Coming Together.
Together WE can make a differenceâ€Ś one SOUL at a time!
Rebuilding Together focuses much of its work on reducing dangers within the home that are related to tragedies, injuries, house fires, and a generally unsafe living environment. Rebuilding Togetherâ€™s work removes risks from the home, while also performing modifications and upgrades to ensure the safety of the homeowner and residents for years to come. Many safety upgrades and modifications will be performed and completed by volunteers during Building a Healthy Neighborhood in Philadelphia. Here are some top tips to improve your home and reduce the risk of domestic disasters. For more information, visit www.rebuildingtogether.org and www.cdc.gov/healthyhomes
Install grab bars Add lighting Install railings on both sides of stairs Install smoke alarms throughout the home, and check the batteries every six months Have your heating system inspected annually Check the duct work on the dryer to ensure there are no blockages from lint and the dryer is venting properly Regularly change the filter on air conditioners and furnaces Use natural cleaning products Clean and vacuum regularly
Replace incandescent light bulbs with CFLs Install a programmable thermostat Turn off and unplug unused electronics Add lighting to the outside of your home Trim bushes and trees to eliminate hiding places Repair any damaged window latches or doors
An AmeriCorps Program During Rebuilding Together’s Building a Healthy Neighborhood event, 15 alumni members of Rebuilding Together’s AmeriCorps program, CapacityCorps, will be on the ground serving as ambassadors and volunteer leaders. Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation, the Presenting Sponsor of Building a Healthy Neighborhood, is a supporter of the Rebuilding Together CapacityCorps program, and their generosity helps make it possible for these incredible people to be part of this event. Rebuilding Together CapacityCorps, a signature program of Rebuilding Together, builds on the capacity of grassroots Rebuilding Together programs, increasing affiliates’ sustainability and effectiveness to help more homeowners in-need. The Rebuilding Together CapacityCorps is a high-impact, full-time AmeriCorps program with 65 members serving communities and families throughout the country. The Rebuilding Together CapacityCorps program offers an incredible, personal experience, exposing members to varying opportunities to rebuild the health and safety of families and communities. The personal impact this program has on its members is evidence by the group of young leaders joining Building a Healthy Neighborhood in Philadelphia: alumni are returning to once again be part of the change Rebuilding Together offers to its homeowners and to its volunteers. Learn more at www.rebuildingtogether.org/capacitycorps
Rebuilding Together Philadelphia started in 1988 when Robert Bellinger and several fellow graduate students at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania decided to make a difference in the West Philadelphia community. Rebuilding Together Philadelphia is a local, independent affiliate of Rebuilding Together. Spanning nearly every state in the country, the affiliate network is 200+ strong and mobilizes 200,000 volunteers to complete 10,000 projects each year. Rebuilding Together Philadelphia has expanded its operations beyond West Philadelphia to serve homeowners throughout the city. During its 23 years of operation, Rebuilding Together Philadelphia volunteers also have reached into Germantown; South Philadelphia; North Philadelphia; Coatesville in Chester County; Chester in Delaware County; and Norristown, Glenside, and Roslyn in Montgomery County. Rebuilding Together Philadelphia has made an incredible and unquestionable impact in Philadelphiaâ€™s many neighborhoods. To date, Rebuilding Together Philadelphia, its sponsors and volunteers have completed the following: 1,129 homeowners served 52 community agencies served 28 vacant lots and parks restored 28,924 volunteers enlisted 433,080 volunteer hours contributed $23,723,000 worth of repairs provided Learn more at www.rebuildingphilly.org 19