Why ReStore?

Posted by Lauren
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By: Elizabeth Bowers, Director of Development and Communications

I am getting ready to move into a house that is twice the size of my apartment.  My new home has more space, quirks, and just a dash of charm.  I am excited about this move, but I am not excited about the orange carpet in the bathroom or the tiny 17 inch wide avocado green oven that cannot fit a cookie sheet.  Fortunately, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Montgomery County is there to help me through my renovations.  In the last few weeks, I have purchased beautiful tile for my bathroom floor and a professional series gas range for the kitchen.  I bought both at 75% off their retail costs.

The Habitat ReStore sells new and used furniture, housewares, appliances, tools and building materials to the public at discounted prices. New items come in daily and there are great sales every week. Every purchase made at the ReStore provides the resources needed to build, rehab and repair homes in Montgomery County. ReStore accepts donations from individuals and businesses.

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The Art (And Diplomacy) of Real Collaboration

Posted by Lauren
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By Marianne Lynch, Executive Director

There have been lots of articles written lately about the power of strong collaboration in the business world. Articles like the one I recently read in Forbes state that “Collaboration is not a “nice to have” organizational philosophy. It is an essential ingredient for organizational survival and success.”

The same is true in the non-profit world. Gone are the days when we can operate in silos, serving only a small sliver of those in need and trying to hold on to our very small piece of the resource pie. Just as in business, non-profits that are making huge community impact have discovered the secret to success – true collaboration. They use it to energize their stakeholders, partners, community members and even their own teams. New ideas are born out of collaboration – ideas that look at some of the same old problems in new, solvable ways. Collaboration can create a change in attitude and behavior where it may not have been possible before. Also, collaboration helps people at all levels embrace a shared vision for the common good. It uses resources more wisely – both funding and people. Collaboration is essential for non-profits wanting to make significant and lasting change with their missions and across multiple sectors.

At the same time, true collaboration is not easy. When people are passionate about a position or a cause, emotions can flare, and sometimes derail plans or even the collaboration itself. The trick to real collaboration is not to completely agree, but when disagreement happens, to handle it respectfully, in a way that allows for all to have a voice. The best collaborations disagree, but out of the disagreement come new ideas and solutions.

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Spread The Love

Posted by Lauren
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By Lauren Cartlidge, Development and Marketing Associate

A couple of years ago, I was an adult leader for a high school retreat, and I was amazed when I heard one student leader, KJ, tell the whole room about the selfless giving of his friend Brian, another student in the room.  One such instance of this giving spirit was that Brian had suggested that he and his friends should volunteer at a soup kitchen on their day off from school – certainly not how most teenagers first think to spend a day off.

I found it so inspiring that I wrote my future self a letter to be opened and read for Valentine’s Day.  The letter’s contents are like this:

“Remember that love can be found and shared everywhere.  Regardless of whether there is romantic love in your life right now, you can find ways to spread love in the world.  Volunteer at a soup kitchen or local charity, surprise friends or family with a treat, or do an act of kindness for a stranger.  Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to be focused on the idea of a significant other.  Use the love in your heart to cultivate a culture of positivity for those who may be feeling lonely, forgotten, or lost.”

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Seven Things You Might Not Know About Habitat

Posted by Lauren
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By Elizabeth Bowers, Director of Development and Communications

1. We never give away houses.  Habitat for Humanity identifies hardworking, low-to-moderate income families who would like to partner with Habitat. This partnership begins with hard work; each family must complete 200 hours of “sweat equity,” building their home alongside our construction team and volunteers.  The partnership is not complete until 30 years later when the family finishes paying their 0% mortgage on their Habitat home.

2. We do more than build houses. Habitat has three additional programs in Montgomery County. In addition to building and rehabbing homes, we also have a Critical Home Repair program, a Neighborhood Revitalization program, and the Almost Home financial literacy program.  Information about each of these programs can be found on our website.

3. We know that teamwork matters.Families partnering with Habitat work alongside volunteers to build their homes. These volunteers are essential to completing the work we are doing in Montgomery County.  Together these volunteers work to help our partner families achieve their dream of homeownership.

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Empowering Women To Make A Difference

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By Patti Post, Women Build Week Crew Leader

Women Build is all about helping hands and making a difference… in the lives of the Habitat homeowners and the volunteers who participate.

This year will be my 10th or 11th Women Build.  I can’t stop coming because it means so much to me.  Women can make a difference, and they can make it on their own terms.  I love it because each time, I get to watch women leave walking a little taller at the end of the day, realizing what they can do.

Women Build started for me 10 years ago with a tiny ad in the newspaper titled “Women Build Interest Meeting”.  I’d had this idea of Habitat in the back of my mind as something worthwhile that I wanted to look into.  I showed up to the meeting at the Habitat office, and I was one of 125 women present!  I looked around at the other women and thought “This is it.  I want to be a part of this.”

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January Volunteers: MLK Day of Service and More

Posted by Lauren
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By Cara Przybylowicz, Volunteer and Community Relations Manager

2016 is already off to a great start.  So far in January, we have had volunteers coming in regularly as per usual, but we have also had a few special groups come out to help as well. 

At 52 W Basin St., Preston Pickett - a cousin of Lenny Bazemore, who donated the house to Habitat - volunteered with some friends to help with demolition.  At the Philly Home Show last weekend, volunteers from Methacton High School as well as several of our regular ReStore volunteers assisted staff at our booth to share information about HFHMC with those who came out to the show.

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Almost Home: Habitat's Program Teaches Families to Make Their Money Work for Them

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By Michelle Spada, Director of Family Services

HFHMC has launched a new financial literacy and life skills program called Almost Home. The goal of the program is to help families in Montgomery County achieve financial stability and maintain stable housing.

What is financial stability? It is a family’s ability to financially weather a crisis, emergency, or unplanned event without being thrown into chaos. It is having an emergency fund and 3-6 months of living expenses saved away. It is being unburdened by excessive debt or penalized for a poor credit score. Financial stability is when a family’s money works for them instead of controlling them.

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New Year's Resolutions

Posted by Lauren
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By Elizabeth Bowers, Director of Development and Communications

After the holiday hubbub begins to fade and the New Year approaches, I stop and look back.  Every year I take a few minutes before ringing in the New Year to be thankful.  This year I looked back and was thankful for my family that is strong and supportive, for the challenges and triumphs that inspire and motivate me, for my new job as Director of Development and Communications at this wonderful organization, and for everyone who believes that every person deserves to live in a safe and decent home. 

After reflecting on a year gone by, I look ahead.  I make a list of the things I want to accomplish and decide on my resolutions for the year. Traditionally, I make one or two resolutions - only to fail at keeping them by spring.  For 2015, I tried to put my coffee drinking to the test.  Instead of drinking 4 cups, I would only drink 1 each day.  I only lasted until March.  This year I have decided to take a new approach; rather than being resolved to eliminating bad habits, I have decided to take action and do more. I want to make an impact.

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