Four hours hardly seems like enough time to improve the inside and outside of a house. Though, with enough people and the right mindset, even the most unlikely things can be accomplished. On Oct. 17, 2019, nearly 50 volunteers from NOVEC and CFC partnered with NOVEC HELPS to transform two homes that service CRi — formerly Community Residences, Inc.
The homes, one in Manassas and one in Woodbridge, had a variety of projects for NOVEC and CFC staff members. Volunteers painted bedrooms and offices, power-washed siding, and even helped mend a wheelchair ramp. “This project not only provides [the clients] the opportunity of interacting and benefiting from their community,” said Mohamed Sahid Kargbo, CRi program manager in Woodbridge, “but it sets the tone and serves as an eye-opener of what volunteerism is all about and how it can be done.”
Volunteers arrived at 9 a.m. and began moving furniture, laying tarps, cleaning walls, and applying painter’s tape. Christine Kelly, NOVEC Helps president, added, “It was great seeing everyone moving so enthusiastically in the home. It felt great to give back to our community that we live and work in.”
Together, the two homes accommodate nine people — some residents have lived there for more than 15 years. From the outside, CRi looks like any other home, quiet and unassuming in the neighborhood. Inside the homes, the group provides individualized support to those diagnosed with mental, intellectual, developmental and other related disabilities. Their programs are designed to provide individuals with opportunities to live as independently and with as high of a quality of life as possible.
CRi is the fourth local community organization helped through NOVEC’s Day of Caring. "NOVEC has always supported the communities we serve," notes Stan Feuerberg, NOVEC president and CEO, who participated in the volunteer effort. "By joining forces with CFC employees, we accomplished a lot in a day."
Sheldon Petersen, CFC chief executive officer, said, "I couldn't be more pleased that CFC collaborated with volunteers from NOVEC to give back to the community for the 2019 Day of Caring. This partnership of working together to help others exemplifies two of the seven cooperative principles — Cooperation among Cooperatives and Concern for the Community. The Day of Caring is a wonderful opportunity for volunteers from our organizations to demonstrate our cooperative commitment to empowering local communities."
While the work done by the two teams may have seemed mostly cosmetic, the small changes had a dramatic impact on CRI residents. Clients within CRi’s program had a hand in picking all the new colors in their bedrooms and living spaces, allowing a feeling of autonomy and choice. “Thank you for putting a smile on their faces, the joy will last in their minds,” said Eunice Wanyu, CRi Program Manager in Manassas. “Thank you will really never be enough.”