The Brick and Mortar 4th Quarter
~From Vision to Mission~ A Week with Clive Rainey It’s not often we get visit with a walking history book. Clive Rainey has been a Habitat fixture in the organization for almost 40 years. Joining Habitat for Humanity in 1977, only one year after its founding, Rainey worked as a general volunteer in Americus, Georgia, doing whatever needed to be done, from stuffing envelopes to building houses. Since that time, he has been a steadfast champion for Habitat and its mission at home and abroad, including serving as Habitat for Humanity’s first Director in Africa, using his skills and knowledge to raise awareness and resources for Habitat’s work worldwide.
including supporting Habitat Guatemala and serving with a ministry that rescues homeless children from the streets. We invited Mr. Rainey to visit with us during the week of our 1,000th Home celebration, and what we experienced was a most enlightening and inspiring time.
He later served as Habitat for Humanity International’s Director of Community Relations. Rainey worked side by side with Habitat’s founder, the late Millard Fuller, in leading the organization through the tumultuous Civil Rights Movement to the global organization it is today.
He not only shared Habitat for Humanity’s unique history, but what the vision of “in a world where everyone has a decent place to live” really means. Full of stories, Rainey, a recovering school teacher, recounts a story about the Habitat community in Columbus, Georgia; the story of Daisy Jones, a Habitat homeowner…
In July 2010, Clive “retired” to Guatemala, but is still engaged in volunteer activities;
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~2015 Building a Dream Breakfast~ On Tuesday, October 27, 2015 Houston Habitat and our friends and supporters came together at the Junior League of Houston Ballroom for the 2015 Building a Dream Breakfast. This was a special year at our annual breakfast as Houston Habitat was also celebrating our 1000th Habitat home!
(Pictured left to right) Partner Family member Annie Clay, Houston Habitat Executive Director Allison Hay and Partner Family member Beverly Price
Keynote speaker, Clive Rainey, speaks to audience on importance of giving back to community
Our honored guest and keynote speaker, Clive Rainey, Habitat Internationalâ€™s First Volunteer and Habitat for Humanity Guatemala told breakfast attendees stories of partner families and how Habitat has impacted so many lives throughout the years. He also spoke on the central theme of our breakfast and explained why it is important for the community as a whole to come together in order for real change occur. Houston Habitat is thankful to all of our guests and sponsors who supported our 2015 Building a Dream Breakfast. With this support, Houston Habitat is able to move our mission forward and help hard-working, low-income families fulfill their dreams of homeownership.
Click here to view more pictures from the 2015 Building a Dream Breakfast Photos courtesy of Kim Coffman Photography Building a Dream attendees
Keynote Speaker , Rev. Clemons (middle), greeting symposium attendees
Immediately following the 2015 Building the Dream Breakfast on October 27th, Houston Habitat, along with our partner City of Houston Housing and Community Development kept the momentum of the day going and hosted the 2015 Affordable Housing Symposium. We were honored to have featured speakers: Dr. Stephen Klineberg, Founding Director, Kinder Institute for Urban Research & Professor of Sociology, Rice University; Neal Rackleff, Director, City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department; and Michael Fienberg, Co-founder, Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), & Executive Board Member, KIPP Houston. We also had the pleasure of presenting community leader Reverend Harvey Clemons, Jr., Pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church & Founder of 5th Ward CRC as our Luncheon Keynote Speaker. The esteemed panel of experts and Rev. Clemons discussed the importance of affordable housing in the Houston and how it positively affects health, education and the whole community. “It is my hope that the fine panelists that spoke planted a seed of change in the way our guests think about communities,” says Allison Hay, Houston Habitat Executive Director, “Affordable housing and great schools are fundamental to invigorating great communities.”
Houston Habitat Executive Director, Allison Hay (left), speaks with attendees during break
Click here to view more pictures from our 2015 Affordable Housing Symposium.
Houston Habitat would like to thank all of our friends and supporters who joined us at this important event, all of our speakers and our partner City of Houston Housing & Community Development for helping us begin the discussion on affordable housing in Houston. AND A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU to Whitney Bank for underwriting our events and making them possible.
Photos courtesy of Kim Coffman Photography
~Constellation Gives Back in a Big Way~ On Thursday, October 29th over 100 Constellation Energy volunteers came out to Harrel Park and built on five Habitat homes. This is the third year that Constellation has partnered with Houston Habitat on a large volunteer project and we could not be more excited about this tradition!
Constellation is dedicated to Houston Habitat’s vision of seeing a world where everyone has a decent, affordable and energy efficient place to call home. That is why they have graciously committed over $50,000 to Houston Habitat for energy efficiency and weatherization efforts. These vital funds have resulted in an average annual savings of $438 for twenty Habitat families, a 20 percent reduction in energy costs. “Constellation is inspired by the profound impact of Houston Habitat’s work to strengthen communities and families. Their mission of volunteerism and service is central to our company’s values and close to our hearts,” said Rachel Duncan, Community Relations Manager for Constellation. “We work every day to help our customers manage and use energy more efficiently so it was very meaningful for us to help build safe, affordable, energy efficient homes for the families who need it most.”
~Lucas/Eilers: Creating a Beautiful Community~ When Lucas/Eilers Design Associates, LLP wanted to celebrate their twentieth anniversary by doing something impactful to help the Houston community, they knew just who to call! This past summer, the award-winning interior design firm partnered with Houston Habitat for Humanity and volunteered their time and talents to create a beautiful living space for our Partner Family, the Jenkins family.
Photos courtesy of Luca/Eilers Design Associates, LLP
To learn more about the Lucas/Eilers project visit their blog and see more pictures of the beautifully finished home!
~Thankful Hearts~ In this season of gratitude, we asked some of our Partner Family members and staff what they are truly grateful for this Thanksgiving. “Everyday is a day of Thanksgiving! I am most thankful I have a relationship with God. And by knowing him how HE keeps me and my mind along this journey HE prepared for me. I am thankful, HE blessed me to raise my kids as a single parent and they both are in the Lord and learning how to apply God's word for themselves. I am thankful, I am in college. God has blessed me and carried me a mighty long way. I have come from living with families and sleeping in a recliner, to a sofa, to a bed and now my own house!!! -Darlyne Ford, Partner Family
“With our first child on the way, I’m thankful that both sides of our family will be able to spend the holidays with us. We’ll begin creating memories and traditions as our family grows.“ -Kate Plouvier, Independent Giving Manager
“Our best wishes for
this organization in which has helped us. We are grateful to you and God for all your help!” -De Santiago Family, Partner Family
I am thankful as I watch the young children grow up in our Habitat homes. They now have a clean, safe and stable place to live.” -John Zaborowski, Construction Director
From Vision to Mission: The Story of Daisy Jones(as told by Clive Rainey) Daisy moved into her house, and in those days the houses were built with much simpler materials that we build with now. If you didn’t work hard to keep them up, they would start to deteriorate pretty fast. And this young woman hadn’t really caught on. She wasn’t doing the best with her house, and she lived in a neighborhood of Habitat houses. Things got so bad that people began talking to Daisy about her house. But nothing was getting done. Millard [Fuller] asked me one time, “What do you do when you get in front of Daisy’s house?” [To keep from having people notice how bad it is] I told him one time I took a group by and I pointed out an Ivory-billed woodpecker and I said, “Look – that’s the last one! Look at it!” - Anything to distract them. We kept talking to her and nothing was happening. Until one day all of her neighbors came to see her. All of them were women. All of them were Habitat homeowners. And they filed into her living room, and they sat down, and one of them said, “Daisy, we’ve come to talk to you about your house.” And Daisy burst into tears and said, “Y’all, it ain’t my fault.”
One of them spoke up –this woman said, “Daisy, we did not come here about fault. We came here to tell you that if you want to fix your house up, we will help you.” Because it’s their neighborhood – they wanted it to look nice. Is that the core of the Christian message? They didn’t come about fault; just saying if you want to get your life in order, we’ll do it.
So, she did and they did. They fixed her house up. If we were in Americus today, I would proudly take you there and show it. It’s not perfect, but she learned from that experience. But what happened next was a miracle. Daisy went out to her local technical college, and got her G.E.D. As it turned out, none of these women had their high school diplomas – none of these women had succeeded in getting through high school. And Daisy gets her diploma. They all worked for us in our offices – maintenance and that sort of thing. When Daisy got her diploma, I told her, “Tell your friends that I’m giving you a $35 check” – which is the cost of taking the test – and I said, “This is my gift to you for your graduation. Now tell your friends that when they bring me their passing scores, they’ll get their check too.” I didn’t get a moments peace! They kept me up to date all the time, on what was going on, and how far they were going. And one right after the other, I would go out to the technical college. I remember watching a 56 year old woman walk across the stage, in a little plastic cap and gown, to get that piece of paper. Well it got down to one lady, the lady’s name was Anna , and Anna began to make excuses. And she said, “I don’t like to drive at night, I don’t like to go there by myself now that all my friends are done… “And she tried everything in the book to stop going.
From Vision to Mission: The Story of Daisy Jones (as told by Clive Rainey - cont’d) It was Daisy who gathered the other women together and said, “We cannot let Anna fail. We’ll set up a driving schedule. We’ll take something to read. We’ll hold her hand if we have to. We ain’t gonna take the test for her; we’ll do everything else but take the test. But we are not going to let Anna fail.” And the day came when Anna walked across that stage. That’s empowerment! That’s one group of women saying to a sister, You didn’t quite get it; let us help you get this thing right. And then, when she becomes the strong one in the group, and somebody else begins to fail, she’ll say “No, no – not happening – we’re all going to work with you and we’re going to all make it together.” Well, the story gets even better, because I retired 5 ½ years ago… but one of those women is named Jackie Lee, and she still, everyday empties trash cans for Habitat for Humanity. Well you can imagine, she’s going to have to work a long time because she didn’t get an early start. So she’s still working there, and she’s still struggling. But she began to tell me that she is still going to the technical college. She had a dream… She wanted to start a day care center in her long now paid for Habitat home. She would come by [my office] every afternoon. Whenever I would hear her coming down the hall, I’d turn off the computer; hang up the phone… because I knew I was going to spend a few minutes with Jackie Lee.
Encouraging her, and listening to her progress. Right before I retired, I got a note from Jackie Lee saying, Please come out to that technical college again, and watch me get my 2 year degree that allows me to open that day care center. Now imagine that. This woman whose life was hard because she didn’t get her education is going to be with those kids at the earliest ages, and she’s going to be saying to them, “Take it seriously… When you get down to the school house, pay attention – sit up – when you get to junior high or high school don’t you mess around and get pregnant... and get lost in that. You go ahead and get that piece of paper.” That’s what Habitat is. Habitat is about second chances for people. About opportunity! As one women said to Mr. Rainey, “Slowly, surely, I learned to nail the nail, I learned to do the dry wall; I learned to help build my house. And as I was building my house, I was building me…” What we now know as Partner Families came from this original experience: families in partnership of one another. This spirit of community still lives on at Houston Habitat, with a special group dedication of houses we are having this month in Harrel Park 2. One Partner Family told us they are looking forward to that last house being built there; and when that happens they will celebrate with a block party on the homeowners’ move-in date, and every year thereafter.
~Happy Thanksgiving~ Houston Habitat for Humanity wishes you and your family a
Happy & Blessed Thanksgiving Brick and Mortar Contributors: Denise Bates, Communications Director Melissa Fox, Communications & Events Coordinator
3750 N. McCarty St. Houston, TX 77029
Houston Habitat for Humanity, with thousands of sponsors and volunteers, has built over 950 homes for hard-working, low-income Houstonians. Habitat Partner Families contribute 300 hours of “sweat equity” and complete training on home ownership to purchase homes at cost with zero-interest mortgages. For more information about Houston Habitat for Humanity, and the Houston Habitat ReStore – a nonprofit home improvement store and donation center open to the public, go to www.houstonhabitat.org, or call 713-6719993. Houston Habitat for Humanity is a tax-exempt 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.