February 26th, 2014
Last Sunday, Yachad’s construction manager, Robin Renner, led homeowners in a Do-It-Yourself Maintenance workshop at Academy of Hope. Rolling up their sleeves, the group learned how to repair drywall, spackle, and conduct a wide variety of home repairs. It turns out that repairing drywall is a lot like decorating a cake.
Fifteen homeowners and family members attended, enthusiastically participating in the hands-on work and skillfully making the repairs.
A big thanks to Robin for leading the workshop, to the homeowners who participated, and to Academy of Hope for generously allowing us to use their classroom facilities. We look forward to our next workshop in March!
February 11th, 2014
Yachad works every day for “Team USA” to transform homes and communities, but on Thursday, February 6th, Yachad stepped it up a notch with some Olympic-style competition. Yachad United, Yachad’s young professional group, hosted a happy hour and games night at Thomas Foolery that brought out well over forty people to celebrate Yachad’s work and raise support for future repair projects.
Team Netherlands dominated the competition at the games tournament, with France and Switzerland coming in for a close silver and bronze.
Congratulations to the winning Olympians (Yachadians)! A big thanks to Rachel Miller Griffith, Deborah Ben-Moshe, and the rest of the planning committee that made the event possible, and thanks to everyone who came out to support Yachad. We hope you can join us for a Yachad United spring repair project!
February 4th, 2014
Yachad’s Ramp it Up! Is Back
Sign Up Now—Room for only 20 Lucky Rampers
Ramp it Up! returns for the summer of 2014 to transform a home, the lives of a family, and the lives of the high-schoolers who participate. Ramp it Up! is Yachad’s summer camp in which high school students build an accessibility ramp.
Rampers spend five days building an accessibility ramp for an individual with disabilities under the supervision of a carpenter and counselor. In addition to learning construction skills, rampers learn about issues of poverty and accessibility as a civil right by reading articles, learning from guest speakers, and participating in group discussions.
Students must have at least completed freshman year of high school. Rampers will receive 30 hours of SSL community service hours for one week of participation.
This year, campers can choose to attend one of two weeks of camp or attend both weeks. The 2014 dates are: June 16- 20, June 23- 27
Tuition: $400 for one week and $750 for two weeks
To learn more and download an application, please visit http://yachad-dc.org/rampitup.php.
We hope to see you this summer!
February 4th, 2014
Do a Mitzvah, Become a Yachad Handymensch!
If you know your way around a hammer or have any carpentry, plumbing, or other repair skills, then grab a hammer and be a mensch… a Handymensch!
*Mensch (n.): An upstanding, worthy, honorable person. One who does good deeds: “He is a real mensch, the kind of guy you can always count on.”
Yachad is launching the Handymensch program for semi-skilled volunteers to work on a few repair projects a year. Volunteers must have some home repair experience, but can improve and learn new skills on the job. Groups of a few Handymensch will go out quarterly to homes and non-profit sites with Yachad’s construction manager to tackle vital repairs.
All we ask is that you make a commitment of volunteering at least twice a year. Handymensches make it possible for Yachad to make a bigger impact by decreasing project costs so we can do more work.
For more information or to sign up, contact Robin Renner, Yachad’s Construction Manager, at email@example.com.
January 8th, 2014
Sunday, January 5th was the first Homeowner Education Workshop of 2014, and it was a huge success! Fourteen homeowners and family members braved the wet, wintry weather to begin the process of better household management from clutter control and personal budgeting.
Kendra Rubinfeld, our former Director of Programs, returned to lead a dynamic workshop on clutter control. Kendra shared before and after photos of her personal clutter transformation, and presented effective strategies that made her home’s transformation possible. Homeowners learned that rather than letting clutter control them, they have the power to control their clutter. When talking about the intense sentimental value of objects, Kendra said, “That’s too much power for a thing” and encouraged homeowners to prioritize which items they ultimately save.
Roxanne Littner, a Yachad board member, talked with homeowners about budgeting and saving. She called her portion of the class “Youniversity,” and discussed how saving money at the start of each month gives the money back to “You.” Roxanne also shared how saving money for oneself and one’s children is extraordinarily important, as she explained, “A better legacy than money is the legacy of learning how to use money.” In saving money, money can become a tool to “create” and “build something, rather than destroy something.”
The workshop was a wonderful opportunity for homeowners to meet one another and meet Yachad staff members, and gain new skills that will be of assistance long after Yachad repairs have been completed. Thanks to Jayme Epstein and Academy of Hope for allowing us to use their beautiful classroom space.
The next two Homeowner Education Workshops will be held in February, and will cover topics such as utilizing community resources, making detailed budgets and financial plans, and learning “do it yourself” home maintenance skills.
December 20th, 2013
Chrystal Jones and her family partnered with Yachad this past year, and she shared her story with us at the 2013 Community Builders Bash. Here are her remarks on how Yachad transformed her home and the lives of her family members. We hope to form many new Yachad partnerships in 2014 that will be just as transformative for the homeowners, volunteers, skilled workers, communities, and everyone else involved in the work we do.
I believe that God uses ordinary people to show his Grace and Mercy. He used Yachad to engage me in a life changing experience that significantly improved the quality of life for my family, empowered me personally, and provided an avenue to establish some life-long relationships.
My husband, who is disabled, was literally trapped in our home. He had not been able to take a shower in two years. His living area was a back porch that had been renovated to give him a sleeping area. It was very hot in the summer and extremely cold during the winter. The only way to bathe him was from the kitchen sink. It was a struggle to keep the area sanitary. Because of Yachad, he now he has a lower-level apartment with a walk-in shower, and an outside door accessible for a wheelchair.
Working with Yachad volunteers, my children and I helped to build this very special place for him. Seeing my 11 year-old daughter knocking down walls with other volunteers was phenomenal. My son had an opportunity to work with and be mentored by men of character and purpose. My children will always remember that they helped make that space a reality for their father.
November 26th, 2013
The 2013 Community Builders Bash was a Blast!
Enjoying delicious food catered by Design Cuisine and the beautiful atmosphere of Washington Hebrew Congregation, people came together to celebrate Yachad’s work over the past year and to learn more about what can be done to Mobilize, Invest, and Transform homes, lives, and communities. Martha and Stuart Bindeman were presented with the Rabbi Joseph P. Weinberg Community Builder Award, a hand-crafted tzedakah box made by Bethesda artist, Zachary Oxman, in honor of their work in the community.
Joshua Weinberg, Audrey Lyon, Marcia Weinberg, Martha Bindeman and Stuart Bindeman, the honorees
Speakers at the event included Rebecca Rivera, a senior at Montgomery Blair High School, who mobilized her peers to make a local crisis center feel more like home. Nancy Taylor Bubes spoke about her volunteer work with Yachad and her work investing in communities. Finally, homeowner Chrystal Jones gave a moving speech about how a partnership with Yachad has transformed her home, her life, and the lives of her family.
Joseph Firschein, Yachad Treasurer, and Dan Ehrenberg, President visiting with Pastor Marlow Mitchell and his wife Pamela
Be part of Yachad’s work. There’s still time to make a year-end donation to honor the Bindemans or Yachad with a donation to the Community Builders Bash.
C’mon, what are you waiting for?
October 23rd, 2013
On Sunday, volunteers from Temple Rodef Shalom and McLean Islamic Center became master painters as they tackled a repair project for Homestretch. Homestretch works with individual families for as long as two years, helping them with training and education, job placement, budgeting, home management, and other skills on the path out of homelessness.
The group of twenty people from Temple Rodef Shalom and McLean Islamic Center painted a three bedroom apartment, cleaned the kitchen and bathrooms, and cleaned the carpet, making a bright, shiny, welcoming home for a family in transition. A great time was had by all, and at the end of the day the volunteers were tired but satisfied with a job well done! Thank you to Rabbi Saxe and Dr. Chaudhry for their wonderful recruiting effort and your support. A special thanks goes out to Nikki for the bagels, Dr. Chaudhry for the wonderful case of pineapple juice, and Rabbi Saxe for the pizza. Yachad looks forward to working with this wonderful group again and we can’t thank them enough for all of their hard work and good spirits.
October 15th, 2013
This past Thursday, 40 employees from Bernstein Management Corporation worked alongside the Frazier family at another successful Yachad Neighbor to Neighbor home repair project. Ms. Frazier has lived in her home since 1997 which she inherited from her stepfather in 2000. She lives there with her sister, her sister’s five-year-old granddaughter, and her 27-year-old nephew. Since inheriting the house, Ms. Frazier had the roof fixed and house painted, but for years the house has needed additional repairs.
Thanks to forty wonderful employees from Bernstein Management Corporation who worked extremely hard throughout a very rainy day, all the necessary repairs were made, and then some. They cleared out the basement, painted the whole house, took up old, dust-laden carpeting, cleaned and waxed floors, repaired locks, fixed plumbing leaks, and repaired electrical fixtures. They also installed handrails on two flights of stairs to make the home accessible for Ms. Frazier. Bernstein Management Corporation went above and beyond too, by making an extra trip to a specialty electrical store to find an appropriate part for a baseboard heater. The Fraziers now have the correct part installed and will have a comfortable basement temperature while saving energy and money on their electrical bills.
Bernstein Management Corporation and their workers did a phenomenal job enthusiastically making repairs. They worked alongside Ms. Frazier and her sister, who were incredibly grateful and eager to assist. By the end of the day the home was transformed into a space that not only is much safer, more accessible, and energy efficient, but also is more decorative, open, and feels more like home.
October 7th, 2013
Yachad’s young professionals came together on Sunday to put finishing touches on the Hickmans’ home in Southwest DC. Yachad has had an ongoing partnership with the Hickmans, and you may remember their family’s story. Yachad Uniters had a great time finishing up painting and repairs and seeing the beautiful, transformed home that the Hickman house has become. Volunteers worked side-by-side with members of the Hickman family to complete the repairs. The Hickmans’ nephews, who also joined in on the work and are avid engineering students, were extremely excited to talk to a volunteer that works at NASA. Much learning and fun were had by all.
Thanks to Yachad United for another successful project and to the Hickmans for welcoming us into their home.