Feb 01 2011
TEAM CARS 4 CAUSES® HELPS HABITAT FOR HUMANITY IN PIRU, CA.
February 1, 2011
Team Cars 4 Causes volunteered to assist Habitat for Humanity in the construction of a custom home in Piru, California this past weekend. It was a tremendous turn out on a sunny Saturday in southern California. Honorary Team Cars 4 Causes member, Peter Livingston of Livingston Construction, his son Ian and his lead foreman Rafa, led the way for Team Cars 4 Causes, teaching team members the basics of home construction and providing guidance for those difficult tasks.
Normally, building a house is a daunting task; first you have to buy the land, hire an architect and engineer, draw up the plans to your new home, convince the city to give you permits, find a bank willing to finance your dream home and select a contractor that can see your project through and stay within your budget. Millions of variables to stay on top of, any one of which can delay your home or blow your budget.
But as we found out here at Cars 4 Causes, a Habitat for Humanity house is different. Sure the steps are the same, no cheating the system there, but the house is built from an environment of friendly, good-spirited collaboration, and it makes all the difference in the world. The on-site vibe is fun and energetic. People volunteer their time to help build these houses and you can feel the affinity volunteers have for their fellow crew members as well as the entire process itself. There’s tolerance, patience and a helping hand at every turn. These volunteers aren’t expert tradesmen, so when someone makes a mistake or doesn’t know what to do, everyone helps out to make sure the job gets done and the people doing it feel good about their contribution.
Our job today was to seal, caulk and paint the eaves of the house and install the siding on the home’s exterior. Six of our team members worked on the siding and the remaining two accepted the task of caulking, sealing and painting the eaves. Habitat for Humanity Site Manager, John Kestler gave us all instructions on safety and our specific tasks and sent us on our way. There were a few challenging moments, a lot of questions for Peter, who guided us brilliantly through all the technical matters - lots of laughs. We had the privilege to work alongside the new owners who are required to contribute 500 hours of “sweat equity” in their new home. Having them there really personalized the experience for everyone.
I think it was Rudolf Steiner, speaking of biodynamic farming techniques, who pointed out that energy is an important ingredient that must be considered in the health of what we produce. Having experienced what goes into a Habitat for Humanity home, I can see that all the fun, laughs, love and positive energy that went into its construction is as important a raw material as the concrete and lumber that make up this house. I know now that this is the Habitat for Humanity difference.
The house we worked on belongs to Richard and Susan Vergana and their two daughters. The Vergana’s are members of the Maximillian Kolbe Church in Westlake Village who is sponsoring the construction of the house. Their new home is being built on a site that was once a 40-room hotel. The site was demolished and construction began in nearly a year ago, in March. Construction is expected to be completed in June of this year.
Because of the US recession and its impact on the construction industry, Habitat for Humanity has become the 5th largest construction company in America. However, their reliance upon construction industry contributions has been severely impacted and volunteers like Team Cars 4 Causes play a much larger role in the construction of a Habitat home than may have in the past.
All of us here at Cars 4 Causes are proud of our contribution to Habitat for Humanity and the Vergana family. We are excited for the completion of the Piru house this summer and are sure the Vergana family will be happy living in their new home.
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