Wednesday, June 26, 2013

SAVE THE DATE for the Beer and Wine Tasting 2013!

Remember to save the date for this year's Beer and Wine Tasting at the new MOHAI on Friday, October 4th!  To learn about sponsorship opportunities, how to donate to our auction, request an invitation, or sign up to volunteer, please email Paige Schultz at  Cheers!

Friday, June 21, 2013

RTS thanks Jeni Goeke for serving as our first AmeriCorps Member!

Jeni (R) at The Home Depot Veterans Rebuilding Day (June 13, 2013)

Today, Jeni Goeke, Rebuilding Together Seattle's first AmeriCorps Member, will complete her last day of service at our organization.  Jeni was welcome to RTS in August, and spent the past 10 months completing key rebuilding days, conducting veterans outreach work, and managing the RTS Youth Program.  Jeni did an outstanding job with her role, and enabled RTS to help over 90 families this year, compared to 63 families the previous year. 

 Jeni (L) working away at an AmeriCorps service project!

What RTS has to say about Jeni:

"Jeni has accomplished a lot this past year.  Her greatest accomplishments include restructuring the Youth Program, managing 16 of our 26 homes for National Rebuilding Day, and strengthening our Veterans program. For Jeni’s service project, she revamped the Youth Program so that the structure is more realistic and sustainable moving forward. Over 550 hours of service were logged by our Youth Program volunteers this year. As for NRD, Jeni took on the huge task of managing 16 home repair projects while working with approximately 30 Project Leaders from the various sponsoring organizations.  This required a tremendous amount of organization and attention to detail in order to carry out successful projects.  Jeni also took it upon herself to strengthen our Veterans program.  She conducted outreach throughout the year with veteran organizations which has lead to greater visibility and notoriety for RTS in the veteran service provider community.  During outreach meetings, Jeni asked strategic questions about veteran culture to learn how we can better reach and communicate with veterans in need of our services.  She was also a part of the decision to change (increase) our income requirements for veterans and their families with the hope that we will be able to serve more veterans every year.   

Other successes include Jeni’s involvement with the creation of a post-project survey for clients, a restructuring of our site preview process, and the creation of a RTS AmeriCorps packet that can be passed on and revised to help train our new members each year.  Jeni was a highly efficient member of our team who was very skilled at managing multiple projects simultaneously and ensuring that her work was complete.  She was always willing to roll up her sleeves and help her colleagues when needed. We will miss these great assets that she brought to our team!" 
-Claire Oatey, AmeriCorps Site Supervisor (former Program Associate)

What was your favorite thing about serving as an AmeriCorps Member for Rebuilding Together (CapacityCorps)? 

Serving as an AmeriCorps Member with Rebuilding Together National was a very special experience. To know that I have fellow service members all over the country was very motivating. I have made valuable relationships with my fellow CapacityCorps members and it’s nice to know that I will have friends almost anywhere I go.

What I love about Rebuilding Together is the meeting of two people that, in any other context, might never meet. Through Rebuilding Together, not only do they get to meet, but usually they both impact each other’s lives in ways that they never saw coming, and I just think that’s amazing.

Jeni (C) with RTS Youth Program members

What Jeni has to say about RTS:

What was your favorite memory during your time at Rebuilding Together Seattle?

It’s hard to pick just one favorite memory from my time at RTS but one of them was Spring Rebuilding Day (April 27th).  I was only able to visit about 7 or 8 of the 28 projects that were taking place and I was amazed by all the volunteers I saw working, and working happily! I remember stepping back and realizing that the volunteers I saw were just a small portion of the people that were selflessly serving that day. I still feel humbled by the number of volunteers all over the city of Seattle that were willing to dedicate their free day to helping someone else. Whenever I think back to that feeling, I can’t help but smile.

What did you like the most about working at RTS?  What will you miss the most?

The RTS community (Staff, Board, Donors, Volunteers, etc.) is one of the best ones I’ve ever had the privilege of stepping into. I have felt welcomed, supported and valued since my 1st hour of service to my 1700th hour, and I know it won’t stop here. Everyone in the RTS community is deeply passionate about what they do and why they do it. They are a family that works together, mourns together and laughs together and it has been my honor to be a part of it for this short time. I will miss you all much more than you know.

Where are you headed next?  What plans are in your horizon, and what are your hopes for your future career endeavors? 

My next chapter in life calls me back to my home state of Minnesota where I will be marrying my amazing fiancĂ©, Nathan, in just 3 short months. At this point, I don’t have a job lined up but I am hoping to work in a church or ministry near Minneapolis/St. Paul. Wherever my career path takes me, I feel like Rebuilding Together Seattle was the perfect spring board to launch me towards my dreams with new confidence and skills.

Jeni (C) with the RTS Young Professionals Society (YPS)
Congratulations, Jeni!  Thank you for all your contributions to RTS.  We wish you the best of luck on your future endeavors!

RTS sends a big thanks to Mary and Tom Herche for serving as the Sponsor of our first AmeriCorps Member this year.  To learn how you can increase the program capacity of Rebuilding Together Seattle by sponsoring an AmeriCorps member, please email

Monday, June 17, 2013

RTS Energizer: All 15 volunteers, Wells Fargo Rebuilding Day

On Saturday, June 8th, 15 volunteers helped disabled homeowner, Marilynn, with critical repairs at her home. Originally, there were supposed to be around 30 volunteers to do the work that day but only 15 were able to make it in the end.  Despite this, the volunteers were determined to uphold their commitment to Marilynn so they worked twice as hard to get the all of the work scope items done in time.  As a result, the Project Leaders want to recognize the entire team as the RTS Energizer!

About the Wells Fargo volunteers:

"The leaders said the entire team because with the guidance of Richard, Morgan and Andrea they accomplished a job that should have been for 35-40 people with 15. So they are all energizer bunnies for working together and seeing it through to the finish." (written by Volunteer Coordinator, Kristi Bruketta).

Friday, June 14, 2013

Team Depot volunteers are 'Doing More for Veterans'

Yesterday, volunteers from The Home Depot repaired the home of veteran, Antonio, and his family. Antonio is a Vietnam veteran who served in the Army from 1966-1969. After returning from his service, he started working to help other veterans get education and housing through the community college. The volunteers renovated the kitchen, repaired and stained the deck, cleaned the siding and built new stairs. Antonio was in awe of all the help that the volunteers gave him and he can't say thank you enough! 

Monty (Antonio's son), Joe (Project Leader), Antonio (Homeowner), Jeni (RTS AmeriCorps member)

Way to go, Team Depot!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

RTS thanks Claire Oatey for two years of service to our organization

This Friday, our Program Associate, Claire Oatey, will depart from Rebuilding Together Seattle after working at RTS for two years.  Claire joined RTS in June 2011 after graduating from Whitman College.  After completing an internship with RTS for four months, Claire became a Program Assistant, and then served as the Interim Director of Programs for three months.  Claire then became a Program Associate, coordinating outreach efforts and key rebuilding days for major sponsors. 

What RTS has to say about Claire:

"Claire has been an instrumental member of our team from day one.  Claire is beyond talented and a treat to work with.  Claire always has a good attitude, looks for ways to improve her work, and is willing to roll up her sleeves and do whatever it takes to better RTS.  Claire is known as the 'steady calm' of our office, working through challenges with grace, patience, humility, and professionalism. 

Claire has a big passion for working with our clients and better understanding their needs, which has kept us grounded as we navigate through our programs.  This year, Claire played a key role in developing a comprehensive client survey that will enable us to critically evaluate the effectiveness of our programs, and better serve our community.  In short, Claire will be sincerely missed by our Staff, Board, and the entire RTS community.  We truly wish her the best of luck on her future endeavors and (of course) hope she'll return back to RTS one day!" -Margie Thirlby, Executive Director

What Claire has to say about RTS:

"Although I am excited for my upcoming travel adventures and the next chapter in my life, it will be incredibly sad to leave this organization.  It amazes me to think back to my first day at RTS two years ago, without a clue that my summer internship would eventually lead to such a meaningful and significant milestone in my career and life.  There are so many aspects of RTS that I will miss but at the top of my list, without a doubt, is witnessing transformations.  I am a sucker for those shocking before and after photos—the kitchen upgrades, the bathroom overhaul, the fresh coat of paint.  More powerful than any of that, however, is witnessing the total transformation of a person’s spirit.  I love noticing when a homeowner stands a little straighter, breathes a bit easier, and smiles more freely.  

It will also be nearly impossible to say goodbye to the RTS community.  It’s a special one—as anyone knows who has been a part of it as an employee, volunteer, Board member, or donor. I will be hard pressed to find better colleagues than Margie, Caleb, Jeni, or Paige!  There is never a dull moment at the RTS office with this team (and not just because we have office dogs).  The goodbyes will be made a little easier knowing that RTS will always be a part of my life. I can’t wait for Rebuilding Together Seattle to become a household name in our community and I look forward to continuing to tell the RTS story until that day comes."

Thank you, Claire, for all of your service to RTS.  We wish you the best of luck on your journey ahead and will always cheer you on as you continue to make the world a better place!

HomeStreet Bank volunteers in action!


Today volunteers from HomeStreet Bank and Trade Craft Builders are busy restoring the home of Virginia, an 89 year old disabled homeowner and widow of a WWII veteran living in White Center.  Volunteers are repairing and painting her deck, removing carpeting, completing yard work, and more!

Stay tuned for more updates!  Thank you HomeStreet Bank for sponsoring this special event! Thank you, Trent and Tradecraft Builders for managing our project - we couldn't do it without you.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

RTS Energizer: Mike Breysse and Jon Baker, Assumption Parish (SRD 2013)

This Spring Rebuilding Day, volunteers from Assumption Parish did some amazing work at Pesha's house. They demolished an unsafe carport and garage, completed many electrical repairs, installed a new fridge and much more. There were so many great volunteers that Project Leader, Tim Lane, couldn't select just one Energizer, so he chose Mike Breysse and Jon Baker. "These two guys were pivotal in the success of this year’s RTS project," says Tim.

About Mike:

"Mike participated in all three Saturday’s of home repairs; he couldn’t get enough! He not only procured a lot of materials (all of the heavy stuff) but also became familiar with Puget Sound Home Depot stores as he finally located the elusive high-rise toilet after searching through three Home Depot stores and getting lots of bum tips as to its whereabouts. Mike was also our safety expert and kept all the volunteers safe after a day of demolition with a backhoe. Thanks Mike, you made the job a lot easier!" (written by Project Manager,Tim Lane)

About Jon: 

"Jon has been helping Rebuilding Together for years and of course, once again he was ready willing and able! A licensed electrician, he came in awfully handy when the main electrical meter to the house was ready to fall off the house and cut power to the whole house (I think that’s called a power drop). Anyway, Jon secured the electrical permit, performed the repairs, and worked with the inspector for the buyoff – all requiring multiple visits to the house. Jon you are pure gold – thank you!" (written byTim Lane)

Great work Jon and Mike!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Volunteers to Help Two Veterans with Critical Home Repairs

Seattle, WA – On Thursday, June 13th, from approximately 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Rebuilding Together Seattle ( will partner with roughly 75 volunteers from Sponsor groups HomeStreet Bank (Seattle) and The Home Depot (Bellevue) to clean, rebuild, and repair the homes of two veterans in the Seattle area. In an effort to help others live independently in warmth and safety, Rebuilding Together Seattle focuses on providing low-income homes and non-profit facilities with critical repairs, modifications and energy-efficient upgrades at no cost to the individuals served.

Volunteers from The Home Depot (project sponsored by The Home Depot Foundation) will help Antonio in the Laurelhurst neighborhood, an Army veteran who was injured in combat during the Vietnam War.  Antonio now works as a Veterans Coordinator at Seattle Central Community College helping other vets find safe housing and get an education. Volunteers will build a new fence, clean and repair siding, remove trash, remodel the kitchen with new flooring, appliances, and cabinets, install new living room flooring, and rebuild the deck. Antonio and his wife have many visitors to their home, both children and grandchildren, so these repairs will allow their family to spend more time together in a warm and safe home. 

Volunteers from HomeStreet Bank will help Virginia, an 89 year old wheelchair-bound woman who has lived in her home in West Seattle for over 60 years. Virginia’s husband was an Army veteran who served during World War II. Volunteers will complete yard work, replace broken or worn out appliances, install wheelchair guards throughout the house, weatherize doors, repair and stain the deck, and replace the carpet. These repairs will allow Virginia more mobility in her home, ensuring she will be able to stay in the home she loves for years to come.

For more information on the HomeStreet Bank or The Home Depot projects through Rebuilding Together Seattle, including project addresses, please email or call (206) 682-1231. This event will offer exceptional visuals and ample opportunity for interviews; all interested media are encouraged to contact Rebuilding Together Seattle for more details. 

About Rebuilding Together Seattle
Rebuilding Together Seattle was established in 1989 and is part of the national Rebuilding Together organization with over 200 affiliates in 50 states. Rebuilding Together Seattle is a volunteer, charitable organization that repairs homes and non-profit facilities at no cost to the individuals served. RTS serves the elderly, disabled, families with children, and veterans in need. For more information, please visit

About The Home Depot Foundation
The Home Depot Foundation serves as the philanthropic arm of The Home Depot and has invested more than $340 million in local communities since being established in 2002. The foundation manages the company’s grants initiatives and disaster relief activities as well as Team Depot, our associate-led volunteer force.

The mission of The Home Depot Foundation is simple to improve homes and improve lives. Through partnerships with local nonprofits and the volunteer efforts of Team Depot, we focus on repairing and refurbishing homes and facilities that serve disadvantaged families and individuals. The Foundation has commited $80 million over five years to address the housing needs of veterans.

About HomeStreet Bank
HomeStreet Bank is one of the largest community banks in the Northwest and Hawaii. Since we began in 1921, we've stayed focused on what we believe is most important: building long-term relationships with our customers and providing ongoing support to our communities.  We offer a full range of financial services including business banking, business lending, consumer banking, mortgage lending, residential construction financing, income property financing and insurance services.

Our primary area of community focus is housing and homes. HomeStreet also supports organizations where our employees have an integral involvement. Each year, HomeStreet Bank donates two percent of pre-tax profits to nonprofit organizations serving our communities.