Pastor Marlow Mitchell of Rising Sun Baptist Church

July 1, 2014

Dear Ms. Lyon:

We want to thank you, once again, for the service that Yachad has rendered to us to further our ministry. Through your Summer Camp, a ramp was built on our adjoining property — a house used to provide free food, clothing, HIV and AID services and social activities for children in the area whom we sponsor on behalf of their incarcerated parent(s). Some of these individuals are wheelchair bound and have been unable to access our services. Now, with the help of Yachad, these services are available to all.

I am extremely proud and grateful to be associated with you and this wonderful organization. Yachad embodies the qualities that we strive to demonstrate in our ministry — a G-dly love, hope, community and unity. I pray G-d’s continued blessings on your varied endeavors and projects.

Also, please convey our deep appreciation to Lindsey for her coordinative efforts, to Sarah for her hands-on, day-to-day presence at the site, to Roy and his assistant Jose for their time and professional skills and talents and, of course, to the young men who volunteered and gave of themselves this summer to build for others. This collaborative effort yielded a bountiful harvest and a beautiful ramp.

Again, I thank you, Audrey, for your hard work and your labor of love. You are an inspiration to us all and a blessing to the people of this city.

Rev. Marlow L. Mitchell

Ms. Thomasenia Edwards of Takoma, DC

Photo Courtesy of Sue Dorfman

They’ve done everything they said they would. They are very very good, the right kind of people. I’ll tell anybody about Yachad. Testify. Bring the good news to people because it is hard for some people to believe it’s all true—what Yachad does. Yachad is a miracle to me. It has my everlasting love.

Ms. Shirley McIlwain of Trinidad

I would like to thank everyone for everything they did last week. I was very happy and it was a joy to work with all of the volunteers. And a very special thanks to Robin; she was a joy to work with, and thank you to everyone that works for Yachad.

Ms. Chrystal Jones of Anacostia

Remarks from Yachad’s 2013 Community Builders Bash:

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.

Ms. Catherine Anderson of SW DC

Dear Kendra,
I am writing this letter to you in great gratitude. Words cannot express my appreciation to you, Justin and the Yachad program volunteers that came out to support me and my family in our time of need. It is truly a blessing to have such kindhearted people who sacrifice their personal time to assist me during my time of need.

In addition, the Yachad program truly encouraged me to remove unnecessary things from my home. Today, I am clutter free to enjoy the comforts of my home once again. As I look around my home, I find myself constantly praising Lord for blessing me with this program, which reached out to me for better possibilities in my life. The volunteers at Yachad have also inspired my daughters to become volunteers themselves to assist others in need.

Ms. Catherine Anderson

Ms. Maureen Brown of Petworth

Thank you for accepting me into Yachad’s single family home repair program. I am very excited and looking forward to rolling my sleeves up and getting to work. Again, thanks.

Ms. Maureen Brown

Brianna Rogers, The JBG Companies employee

Dear Yachad:
I really enjoyed the experience. Robin did a great job organizing everyone such that we were all working the entire time, and thus able to complete so much work. This is the first volunteer event I have been to that has been so well run, and one where I could see and know that I was actually aiding in making a tangible difference. Thanks for the opportunity.
Brianna Rogers, The JBG Companies employee

Ms. Saundra Carter of Trinidad

To my dearest Kendra and Yachad:
First I would like to say thank you to all of Yachad. I can never thank you enough. I love my kitchen now; I can walk in it and not be afraid of falling through the floor. I would also like to say what a great contractor and a great group of workers you sent. They worked very hard and always kept my family’s safety first. I cannot say enough about such a great crew. They will always be my first choice for anything I do. Richard Feldman, the contractor, has become a part of my family and always gives the right advice; like a big brother, he does not mind saying “No, that is not right.” Thank you for allowing my family to meet such a great group of people and again I say I cannot thank you enough.
Saundra Carter & the Jones Carter Family

The Jones Carter Kitchen Before Repair

The Jones Carter Family lives in Trinidad, and helped our contractor and volunteers to repair their house.

Ms. Robin Beck of Anacostia

This speech was given by Ms. Beck in front of nearly 200 Yachad supporters at our Community Builders Bash on November 4, 2012 at American University’s Katzen Center.

Thank you, Kendra. Good evening everyone. I am blessed to be here in front of you to tell my story.
In Shel Silverstein’s children’s book, The Giving Tree, it follows a boy and a tree. Every time the boy approaches the tree, the tree gives the boy a part of itself. The tree does this until there is nothing left but a stump. When I first found Yachad, I was a stump.
I had given myself away, letting anyone who needed help come and stay with me. 11 family members were living under my broken roof, and no one was helping around the house. I was depressed, disgusted, hopeless, and defeated. My house was falling apart and I was falling with it.
I needed help with these repairs, but before that, I needed to take control of my situation. At a Yachad informational meeting I asked Kendra if I would be accepted into the program. She told me honestly that Yachad could not help me unless my family helped me first. When I heard this, I felt relieved. I needed to hear my situation from a third party to really see it. That night I called a family meeting and I said that everything needed to change. That was a turning point.
My family worked together to clean up the house. As a sheet metal worker, I was able to do some repairs with help from my family. I invited Yachad back to see the changes we made. A week later, Kendra called to let me know we had been accepted. I was overjoyed.
Since that phone call, our roof has been replaced, my kitchen floor redone, plumbing and electric repaired, and new cabinets and appliances are being installed in my kitchen. I learned new skills, and was able to retile my bathroom. My kids helped me pull up carpeting and paint. We worked hard alongside the volunteers and contractors. It was like a family- loving and caring, but at the same time, everyone was so respectful and professional.
My life has been transformed. Many of my family members have moved out of the house and found housing of their own. Now it is only me and my teenage children. My kids walk around and just stare at the house that has been transformed into a home. They now take pride in keeping the house looking nice because they were involved in making the changes.
I am a skeptical person. When I first heard about Yachad, I didn’t believe it could be true. There are so many programs that are just talk. Yachad is transparent. They expect partnership- working together. Yachad has made me believe that there are people that genuinely care about helping others.
I can tell you that Yachad does transform people because it has transformed me and my family. We are all different people now. We are happy, motivated and energized. Yachad didn’t only transform my house-it transformed us. Thank you all so very much.

Ms. Clara Rich of Petworth

Dear Yachad,
Thank you for accepting me into Yachad’s Single Family Home Repair Program. I am a 76 year-old woman and have been doing the best I can in keeping the house repairs going around my home, but it has been terribly difficult in the last three years. So many things were going wrong and I was about to give up. When I heard there may be some help for me I immediately applied for your help, went through the programs as required by me and was accepted. The hole in the ceiling on my back porch was repaired. I had not used my gas stove in the kitchen for two years until you all came out and gave me some assistance. Now it is working and I can cook a meal!
I also want to thank you for the railings to assist me to go up and down the stairway in the front of my home. I can hold to the both sides now. Also the bathroom grab bars make me feel safer now.
The construction crew was very respectful. I am thankful for all that has been done on my behalf to make my home more livable. If I can be of any assistance to you all, please give me a call. Thank you! Thank you! Again, thank you ALL!
Ms. Clara Rich
Ms. Clara Rich lives alone in her single family home in Petworth, DC. She has lived there for 42 years.

The Johnson’s of Anacostia

Dear Yachad,
I would like to personally thank you for all the help, time and effort you spent on our house. In these tough times, it’s a gift from G-d to receive this type of blessing and our family is so grateful. I would like to tell the volunteers that to know people who are kind, considerate and thoughtful, is to be grateful for the special things you did for us. I sincerely consider you all to be a part of my extended family and my home is your home. The house looks wonderful and I could not
have done it without each and everyone of you.
Mrs. Johnson and Family
Mrs. Johnson, sole caretaker for her elderly mother and her three children, had fallen into hardship after she was forced to quit her job to care for her ailing mother. Her home was falling down around her until she reached out to Yachad. With the help of our volunteers, contractors, donors and the Johnsons themselves, their home was repaired and their sense of security, safety and hope was restored.

The Jordans of Trinidad

Dear Yachad,
I feel a close tie to all of you. I wanted to thank you for the wonderful work you did on my house. It was a real pleasure working with you all. You were warmhearted toward us and so helpful in every way. I know that my home was in real need of repairs but you met those challenges with zeal and competence. You knew what needed to be done, laid out a plan, and did a commendable job. It was a joy working with you and I thank the Lord for your help.
Mrs. Jordan and Family
Mrs. Jordan lives with her daughter and granddaughter. When she found Yachad, her daughter, the breadwinner, had just been let go from her job. Their roof was leaking into their bedrooms and their porch was a safety hazard. They did not have the funds to do the repairs. Yachad corrected all of these issues with the help of volunteers, partnering contractors, donors and the Jordans themselves.