Remodelers' Community Service: Central Virginia Chapter of NARI

The Central Virginia chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) has volunteered with Rebuilding Together Richmond for several years, but this year the group took their support a step further. For the first time, the Central Virginia Chapter sponsored a house in addition to five to seven members volunteering as technical leads.

“NARI Central Virginia sponsored our first house this year, which was a great experience. We worked with Mrs. Taylor, an elderly woman, who has lived in the home we renovated since she was a child other than about a decade during marriage,” explains Angela Hubbard, chapter executive. “She was a lovely individual with a great family history that we found out by working with her. What we did for Mrs. Taylor was try to figure out ways that we could help her age-in-place.”

During Rebuild Day in April, the NARI Central Virginia group built Mrs. Taylor an exterior ramp so she could use her motorized wheelchair to go to the local grocery store without assistance and enjoy her backyard and patio area. The home’s only bathroom had been on the second floor, which difficult for Mrs. Taylor to access. A large backroom was converted into a first-floor, half-bath, which, Hubbard says, will help her stay in her home longer and more conveniently. Landscaping, interior painting and cleaning were also tasks the group completed by volunteers on Rebuild Day.

“Those older homes do not have closets, so Closet Factory, which is one of our vendors in the association, designed an amazing closet. Mrs. Taylor did not want to accept the generosity of that; she thought it was too much, which we thought was sweet,” Hubbard says. “Basically, we came in and hung storage shelving for them. A grandson who lives with her was so excited about having a place to hang up his things that he immediately cleaned his room and hung up all of his clothing.”

While 15 to 20 volunteers came together to help on the NARI sponsored house the weekend of Rebuild Day, groundwork had been laid for months beforehand. Teams of people, vendors and partners in NARI Central Virginia donated countless hours  completing site visits, breaking of concrete, breaking up ground for the new sewer line and repairing a kitchen sink were just a few of the projects that were handled ahead of Rebuild Day.

Looking ahead, Hubbard says that the chapter plans to keep sponsoring a house and offering technical leads. “We financially could support more houses, but we have found that it’s probably a greater need to have those technical leads than it is to have us sponsor houses,” she says. NARI Central Virginia also plans to continue its efforts with Habitat for Humanity and are looking to become more involved with Hands On Richmond, which partners volunteers with a need in the community.

“Our goal is to work with these three organizations because what a great fit for NARI! We have skills, talents and manpower to come in and work alongside these organizations that take individuals, community groups or corporate partners, but don’t have those skill sets,” Hubbard says. “We partner with these volunteers to make sure they are safe and not taking on a project like lead-based paint or asbestos and things like that. We hope to continue to partner with these organizations and get more and more involved.”