Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity could not function without the dedication of thousands of volunteers each year. Thanks to these individuals’ generosity, time, and hard work we can help families in need of safe, affordable housing in Milwaukee and around the globe. Each year, we take time to recognize those volunteers who go above and beyond to further our vision of building a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Here are 2017’s Volunteer Awards Winners, honored on May 10th at our Annual Volunteer Appreciation Party:
Grace Morgan Volunteer of the Year – Brie Skolaski
Bryanne Skolaski , or Brie as we know her on-site and around the office, first started with Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity in May of 2012, when she joined HYP (Habitat Young Professionals). That September she joined us during the Build Week, and fell in love with Habitat – the mission, the people, and the work.
Brie has volunteered countless Saturdays as part of HYP, as well as an individual volunteer. This coming June will also be the 6th Build Week that Brie has participated in. She has been on 5 Global Village trips (four of them to El Salvador, and one to Guatemala; the last four trips she has lead). Brie has been on the HYP Board since 2014, first as the Global Village Chair, and now as the Chair.
“Every time I volunteer, I find myself in awe with the amount of kind, caring, compassionate people in this world, who give their time to help others. Building with Habitat isn’t just about building a house for someone, its about building a home, and helping them change their lives.”
ReStore Volunteer of the Year – Mary Nash
Mary has been volunteering at the ReStore for over a year and a half.
People that work with Mary know that she is very versatile! Especially in the recent months, she has shown an eagerness to jump in wherever she is needed to lend a hand.
In addition to learning how to process items in different departments, Mary was willing to jump in to cashier training to be able to help at the front.
Her friendly personality and passion for the Habitat mission adds so much value to the store. Mary supports the ReStore and the Habitat Mission not only by volunteering her time, but by donating her used items. Thank you, Mary, for all you do to help the ReStore!
Golden Hammer Award – Jim Lambe
Jim Lambe has worked with Milwaukee Habitat in one way or another since the Fall of 2008.
He started as an AmeriCorps member and worked as one for two years, where he developed his construction and site leadership skills alongside other AmeriCorps members and volunteers. Jim loved Habitat so much that even after we stopped paying him, he still came out! Jim is now one of our Habituals who comes out several days a week, when he isn’t traveling around the warmer parts of the country in the winter months, but we miss him when he’s gone!
In 2015 Jim took another step along his Milwaukee Habitat journey by joining our Board of Directors. Jim continues to be a huge asset on site where he is not only willing to do pretty much anything, but he is happy to lead others while doing it!
We are so happy to have Jim as one of our loyal construction Habituals, and look forward to his continuing participation at Milwaukee Habitat – on the build site, in the board room, and beyond!
Nuts & Bolts Award – Clark Higgins
Clark Higgins began volunteering with Milwaukee Habitat in 1993, when a friend of his introduced him to Jean Leslie, who asked if he could help upgrade the accounting system from Quicken to QuickBooks, and he agreed to help.
At that time he was also the Treasurer of the United States Curling Association and had just completed the installation of QuickBooks as their accounting system, so he was very familiar with the process.
Clark enjoyed getting to know Jean, Ann Van Dunk and the rest of the Habitat team, so it was only natural for him to continue to volunteer with us as an accountant.
We have grown from no in-house accountants to a great team today, and we cannot thank Clark enough for being part of our team here at Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity!
Clark says, “I have seen Habitat grow over the years. From an office in the Next Door Foundation building, to North Avenue, to Booth Street. It has been an amazing success story.”
Habitat Hero – Robert Cagle
Robert Cagle, Jr. is a Habitat homeowner, father of six, and is a Habitat Hero in his community, closing on his home in November 2016. Robert does not shy away from hard work: since the beginning of his partnership with MHFH Robert was eager to complete his Sweat Equity, which was completed in 8 months with many more hours not taken into account. Robert enjoyed working at the different build sites and he volunteered whenever he was off, donating those extra hours to other Partner Families who needed them. Even after doing all the work he has done with Milwaukee Habitat, Robert still makes time to serve others.
Robert has really been an asset to the WP neighborhood, by partnering with Washington Park Partners (WPP), as well as being a leader in the community and for the youth in his neighborhood. As Robert was preparing to close, he was also working with WPP to plan and organize their 1st Annual Christmas Dinner and Gift Giveaway for the children of Washington Park, which was a huge success. This event inspired Robert and his sister to begin mentoring the youth in the WPP neighborhood. They have started the groundwork for an afterschool Teen Club. This Teen Club will give youth an opportunity to plan events in the neighborhood and provide them with productive things to do to impact the lives of others. Even though Robert is a new homeowner he continues to mentor new homeowners in the program, and is always willing to be a spokesperson for Habitat.
Check out photos from our Volunteer Appreciation Party
On May 13, 2017, Milwaukee Habitat will unite family and friends to commemorate and honor the memory of Milan Jordan, daughter of DeeAnna Brown. Acknowledging what would have been “Milan’s Sweet Sixth Birthday” DeeAnna is hosting a “mama and me” photo session with the theme being, “Life and Motherhood are the sweetest treats.” First time home-buyer and 1,000th Habitat family served in the Greater Milwaukee area, DeeAnna moved into her new ADA compliant home this past June in the Washington Park neighborhood.
Proceeds will benefit families of children with special needs in Milwaukee Habitat’s homeownership program.
This spring, help us build better homes that create brighter futures. Because everyone deserves a decent place to live.
We just marked another productive year, helping 36 families in Milwaukee build and repair their very own places to call home. It’s now time to dig in and continue this momentum in 2017. Every single one of us deserves the opportunity for a better life, but we need your support.
Although we have made great strides in our efforts to eliminate poverty housing in Milwaukee, our work is not nearly finished.
This is by far our most important campaign of the year. So much of what we do for families in 2017 depends on the support we are able to raise right now.
Many of us go about our daily lives not having to worry about whether our basic needs are going to be met. We don’t have to choose between eating a healthy meal and buying medicine for our child, who is sick with the flu.
It is easy to forget how fortunate we are to have a decent place to live. And it is easy to forget the faces of the many hardworking people we encounter every day in Milwaukee who don’t. They are trapped in unaffordable, overcrowded, or substandard conditions that no family or child deserves.
It could be the clerk at your local grocery store who helps bag your groceries… or the bus driver who gets your children to school safely every day… or the car wash attendant who hands you your keys with a smile. These are the people who work hard to enhance the quality of our lives.
Your gift today is not only an investment in a Milwaukee family. Your donation is an
investment in our entire community.
This spring, you can help more families and individuals stand on their own. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay affordable mortgages. Please help create brighter futures by giving what you can today – every dollar makes a difference!
In partnership with the Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity and Dominican Center have received 2 of 7 national MetLife Foundation Community- Police Partnership Awards for Excellence in Neighborhood Revitalization and Economic Vitality and Excellence in Civic Engagement respectively.
Since 2002, the MetLife Foundation and LISC’s National Community Safety Initiative have partnered to recognize innovative partnerships between community groups and police to promote neighborhood safety and revitalization across the nation. This year, 400 police departments and community organizations applied for the recognition, and Milwaukee was the only city to receive two awards. Other projects were named in Detroit, MI; Los Angeles, CA; Johnson City, TN, Melbourne, FL; and Chicago, IL.
SIGNIFICANCE: Crime undermines all aspects of a thriving community including education, housing, business, employment and recreation. Amani, Washington Park, and MPD are receiving local and national attention for their comprehensive and collaborative approach to safety and neighborhood improvement. Efforts bring major changes and hope to historic neighborhoods hit hard by divestment.
This November, ReStore is celebrating 10 glorious years in Milwaukee and we couldn’t have done it without YOU! In that time, ReStore has raised funds to build 25 Milwaukee Habitat homes, helping families own safe, decent, affordable homes.
To thank you for all your support, enjoy 10 DAYS OF SALES at both East & West locations, starting November 1st!!! Thanks so much for supporting our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
There was a time when removing a building from the landscape was a dramatic affair. Buildings were imploded with a boom and a plume of grey dust, or they were pounded by the repetitive thump of a wrecking ball.
But these days, thankfully, there’s a growing approach that seeks to keep as much waste out of landfills and reuse and recycle as much material as possible.
Milwaukee Habitat and Lowe’s have teamed up to provide extensive work through a “ROCK THE BLOCK” program, a volunteer event built on our mission to reconnect the community through repair and neighborhood beautification projects.
Over 80 Lowe’s Employees From Across the Region Volunteered!
Milwaukee Habitat is one of 1,400 affiliates from across the country who was awarded a $250,000 grant from Lowe’s for neighborhood revitalization projects in the Washington Park neighborhood. As a purpose-driven home improvement company, Lowe’s help aligns community giving and volunteer efforts with programs and partnerships that complement their core business. As a national partner since 2003, each year they support programs that help to rebuild and improve neighborhoods and provide relief to communities in need.
This grant will help fund the following projects:
The renovation of six homes for families in need of decent, affordable housing.
The repair of at least 10 homes
Improvements to the Washington Park pool building
Speed humps on five residential streets
Alley garage lighting on 40 properties.
Community garden signage
Fifty raised garden beds through partnership with Victory Garden Initiative
Gardening and lawn care workshops for homeowners
Foreclosure prevention for homeowners through tax loans
Updates to the Washington Park Sustainable Community Plan
The grant will also fund a “Rock the Block” event where neighborhood residents and volunteers come together to transform the face of a block in just one day! More than 100 volunteers converged on the 2100 block on 39th Street to help with the transformation on 20 homes in the Washington Park neighborhood on June 29th, 2016. In a neighborhood where the median household income is 49% lower than the national average, too often there is no money left for this type of maintenance.
Rock the Block is part of Milwaukee Habitat’s five-year neighborhood revitalization strategy, now in its fourth year. Neighborhood Revitalization serves more families by responding to community aspirations with an expanded array of products, services and partnerships, empowering residents to revive their neighborhoods and enhance their quality of life.
Other groups who have joined Neighborhood Revitalization projects include Wells Fargo, Thrivent Financial, FIS, VIctory Garden Initiative, Washington Park Partners and Melinda Myers, nationally known gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist.
This was the first of three “Rock the Block” events Milwaukee Habitat will conduct throughout the summer in an effort to repair 60 homes this year.
On Friday, June 10th, as part of the Brewers Beyond the Diamond community outreach initiative, the Brewers hosted a Milwaukee Habitat garage build at Miller Park. Brewers players, led by Ryan Braun, joined some of the Brewers Wives and staff members to frame the garage that will accompany the Habitat home that Braun and Brewers Community Foundation are sponsoring on North 39th street. The garage was framed in the parking lot near Helfaer field and was on display for the Brewers night game against the New York Mets. The framed walls were then transported to the Washington Park neighborhood, on Milwaukee’s near west side, where they were erected at the home.
Braun and Brewers Community Foundation are sponsoring one of 10 new construction homes Milwaukee Habitat will begin work on in 2016. The Brewers have been involved with Milwaukee Habitat since 2006. In addition to new construction, Milwaukee Habitat will be rehabbing 12 homes and completing 60 repair projects throughout the year; all part of their neighborhood revitalization strategy in the Washington Park neighborhood.
On Friday, June 17th, Milwaukee Habitat welcomed its 1,000th family served in the Greater Milwaukee area into their new home in the Washington Park neighborhood. Over the past 32 years, Milwaukee Habitat has carried out our vision of building a world where everyone has a decent place to live through new construction, home rehab, and repair programs. For the last four years, Milwaukee Habitat has focused all of our work in the Washington Park neighborhood as part of a five-year neighborhood revitalization strategy. In that time over 200 families have been served, crime rates have decreased, and property values have risen, helping build a strong community in partnership with families in need of affordable housing.
Deeanna building her own home – June 2015
On June 17th, first time home-buyer and 1,000th family, Deeanna, moved into her new construction Habitat home on N. 42nd street. Their home, sponsored by Sargento, is one of Milwaukee Habitat’s ADA compliant homes to accommodate Deeanna’s five-year-old daughter.
As Deeanna helped build her own home alongside volunteers, she recounted on what this home will mean for her family, “Having an ADA home means a long term home for us. This new construction home will change our lives physically, mentally, and financially.”
Not only will this home offer increased accessibility for Deeanna’s daughter, but Milwaukee Habitat’s affordable mortgage will be 1/3 less than what she was previously paying to rent an apartment that was not conducive to their needs.
This home marks the 26th home Sargento has built in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. As Milwaukee Habitat’s first corporate house sponsor, Sargento has supported Milwaukee Habitat for over 24 years, with employees volunteering nearly 12,000 hours in that time.
Help ensure more families like Deeanna’s have the opportunity for safe, affordable housing: