Monday, November 11, 2013

Volunteers of the Month: The RTS Intern Team!

Rebuilding Together Seattle is so happy to recognize our amazing intern team as our Volunteers of the Month for October. Each one of them worked tirelessly in the weeks and months leading up to the 4th Annual Beer & Wine Tasting fundraiser to help make sure it was a smashing success. The staff was so proud of their dedication and positive "roll up your sleeves" attitude that we wanted to give them extra-special recognition as our Volunteers of the Month.

Jinhee, Jaclyn, and Stephanie each have their own unique perspective on Rebuilding Together Seattle so let's hear from each of them what this honor means.

How did you first get involved with Rebuilding Together Seattle?
I first heard about Rebuilding Together Seattle from my friend, Kristen Kirst (Senior Director of Advancement Communications and Marketing at Seattle University), who had wonderful things to say about Margie Thirlby, the Executive Director of RTS. I was meeting with Kristen because I wanted to get into the non-profit sector in Seattle, and she suggested I speak with Margie about a position here. Next, I went online and signed up to participate in the Spring Rebuilding Day in April.
I found out about RTS through a friend of mine who also had an internship at RTS. The more I listened to what she had to say about how wonderful the organization is and what it does for the community, the more I wanted to be a part of it. Additionally, at this time of economic hardship which has had a great impact on my friends, I thought having an organization such as RTS around our region was such a relief and I applied for the internship program to explore more about the organization.

I first heard about Rebuilding Together Seattle through my brother who is friends with Margie’s brother. After hearing about RTS and its programs and also talking with Margie, I became really interested in getting involved. When I heard about the internship program, I was immediately drawn to the position and thought that it would be a great way to gain some valuable experience while working towards a really important cause.

What have you enjoyed most in your time with RTS?
My biggest highlights at RTS have been conducting the homeowner surveys from our Spring Rebuilding Day and seeing the Beer & Wine Tasting come together in October. I was so touched when speaking with the homeowners about the powerful impact of our services not just on their homes, but in their lives. The Beer & Wine Tasting event was such a blast, and I really enjoyed putting faces to names and seeing the items, which I helped to secure, bring in funding for our future projects. I have loved working with the whole RTS team, not just the staff, but all the volunteers and supporters as well.

The people I work with and the positive outcomes RTS brings in to the community make my time here at RTS worthwhile to be committed to. The passion and pride I feel from the RTS staff for what they do to assist the homeowners influence me in such a positive way. It is also great to see the results of the effort the staff, sponsors, volunteers and homeowners put into the programs we provide. The smiles on the homeowners’ faces, their thank you letters as well as their now safer, warmer and more independent houses remind me about how thankful I am to work for RTS.
Helping to prepare for the Beer and Wine Tasting auction was really exciting. I enjoyed helping organize such a big event, and I was able to learn a lot about putting together a fundraising event in the process. It was amazing seeing the whole process from start to finish, especially since it turned out to be such a success.

What about the RTS mission are you most drawn to?
I feel that our most powerful impact on our clients is our ability to restore their sense of control in their own lives and their faith in the humanity and generosity of others. It is an amazing thing to be a part of!

The mission of RTS is to let everyone live in warmth, safety, and independence and I completely agree with that statement. Building a broader social safety net and providing a hand when someone is in a difficult situation is one of the crucial factors for all of us to live a happy, satisfied life. Thus, the mission of RTS is not only beneficial for those in need but it is also beneficial for all of us to create a stronger, prosperous community.

I think it is so important that every person has the opportunity to feel safe in their home. Many people deal with daily struggles that they have no control over, and helping someone feel warm and safe in their own home is something that can be controlled. RTS works to help struggling homeowners by contributing a tangible improvement to their home and their life.

What are your goals and aspirations after you are done with your time at RTS?
I am currently pursuing opportunities in non-profit development and outreach. I hope to secure a position that focuses on relationship building and allows me to improve the lives of others. 

I would like to continuously get involved with this wonderful organization as a volunteer after I am finished with my time at RTS. The internship program here at RTS has been an eye-opening experience which has taught me that there are still so many people in our region, living under inferior conditions and, that there are also so many warm hearted people willing to help those in need.  I would like to put in my time and effort to create a better environment for everyone and I also believe learning practical skills regarding house repair will be a great asset for me personally!

I hope to continue in the nonprofit sector, whether in a development role or something else, I am not sure! I will take with me a great deal of knowledge acquired at RTS and hope to continue to be involved in any way in the future.

Rebuilding Together Seattle sends a big thank you to Stephanie, Jinhee, and Jaclyn for all of their hard work and dedication over the past few months! We couldn't accomplish our mission without passionate volunteers like these three. To find out more about how you can get involved with Rebuilding Together Seattle, email Paige Schultz at or call our office at 206-682-1231.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

RTS to launch first ever Safe at Home Impact day on November 23rd

Over 100 volunteers to repair 10 homes in one day

Local charity celebrates 1000th house restoration project since 1989

Seattle, WA – On Saturday, November 23rd, from 8 AM to 4 PM, Rebuilding Together Seattle ( will celebrate its inaugural Safe at Home Impact Day with over 100 volunteers from 65 local businesses restoring 10 homes in one day at no cost to the individuals served.  With a vision of a safe and healthy home for every person, Rebuilding Together Seattle provides free home repairs for low income homeowners in the greater Seattle community.

Through the leadership of local property management firm, Madrona Ridge, and 65 other supporting businesses, Rebuilding Together Seattle will launch its first ever Safe at Home Impact Day to repair the homes of 10 families in one day.  On November 23rd, Rebuilding Together will also celebrate its 1,000th house restoration project since the organization’s founding in 1989.  Volunteers will perform a range of repairs to benefit the families served, including carpentry, electric, plumbing, painting, and weatherization improvements.  Featured projects are as follows:

In the Holly Park area of South Seattle, volunteers will provide a kitchen overhaul for 86 year old mother and grandmother, Bernsteen Offord.  After suffering a recent stroke, Bernsteen’s family has been helping care for her.  

In West Seattle, volunteers will support Dolores McGee (73) and her daughter, Debbie (48).  Dolores recently had a brain tumor removed and is the primary caretaker Debbie, who is paralyzed from the waist down after an accident over 20 years ago.  Volunteers will paint the home, repair windows, and improve the safety of the McGee’s wheelchair ramp.  S

In Ballard, volunteers will assist 93 year old Donald Wakefield in Ballard.  His daughter, Donna, lives and cares for Mr. Wakefield so he can remain in his home of over 60 years. Volunteers will paint the house, repair windows, and add numerous safety improvements to the home. 

Madrona Ridge Residential, the event coordinator, has recruited all volunteers, materials, and professional contractor services for the 10 homes. Joining Madrona Ridge are over 65 participating local businesses, including top Sponsor, ECC Painting, along with American Floors & Blinds, Bumgardner, G5, ICS, and Kurkov Construction.

For more information on the November 23rd Safe at Home Impact Day (including additional sites and addresses) please call Rebuilding Together Seattle Executive Director, Margie Thirlby, at (c) 206.992.5512.  This event will offer exceptional visuals and homeowner interviews; all media are encouraged to attend. 

Rebuilding Together Seattle is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to bring volunteers and communities together to help low income homeowners live in warmth, safety and independence.  Rebuilding Together Seattle was established in 1989 and is part of the national Rebuilding Together organization with approximately 185 affiliates nationwide.  To learn more about Rebuilding Together Seattle, please visit or call (206) 682-1231.

Madrona Ridge Residential is a property management firm providing property, construction and compliance management services in five states.  Madrona Ridge Residential is an affiliate of Security Properties Inc.  Security Properties has a 40-year history of providing both quality housing to residents, as well as excellent financial benefits to investors. To learn more, visit: or call (206) 787-8480.