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Turning a House Into a Home

It took 50 AARP volunteers just nine hours to transform a Mattapan house into a home. As part of Rebuilding Together Boston’s National Rebuilding Day, the group worked tirelessly to make a huge difference in the life of Anne St. Juste, a single mother of five children ages 11 to 19, and her 72-year old mother. The elementary school teacher purchased her house at foreclosure only a few months ago. A true “fixer-upper,” St. Juste needed some help to make the house more livable. Enter Rebuilding Together Boston and AARP’s Create the Good.

Getting to Work

The group painted every room—transforming dark and gloomy into bright and sunny. They cleaned and painted the kitchen, removed old carpet, installed a new screen door and light fixtures, and repaired broken windows. Volunteers also worked outdoors: tackling yard cleanup, repairs and landscaping. View pictures on the AARP Massachusetts online community page.

A Safe Place for the St. Juste Family

“I feel so excited about the renovations,” said St. Juste. “We couldn’t do it all by ourselves. The renovations will help make our house healthy, clean and safe.”

St. Juste came to the United States from Haiti more than 10 years ago. She put herself through Cambridge College, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Education. She said, “I have five kids. I struggled. But, I made sure they got everything. I went to school and worked hard.

“I am so happy to be in America—to be an American, and a Haitian,” St. Juste added. “Considering what happened to Haiti recently, it showed me how America is really doing a good job for all other countries—especially those in crisis. I think about it every day.”

Making a Difference

AARP Massachusetts State President Linda Fitzgerald summed up the experience, saying, “We used sweat, elbow grease, and pure-hearted determination to make this house a better place, a safe place for the St. Juste family. This is what AARP’s Create the Good initiative is all about, bringing together like-minded people to help our neighbors, and community through service,” she added. “Whether you have five minutes or five hours—nine in this case—your contribution really can make a world of difference.”

National Rebuilding Day

According to Rebuilding Together Boston, more than 550 volunteers participated in National Rebuilding Day locally, renovating eight sites across the city of Boston. “On National Rebuilding Day, we really have the chance to see firsthand how the hard work and dedication of volunteers can not only help individual families, but better communities,” said Simone Auster, president of Rebuilding Together Boston.

Create The Good

Find volunteer opportunities that fit your life and interests—in whatever way works for you. Visit Create the Good online today.

About Rebuilding Together Boston

Rebuilding Together Boston is a non-profit organization working to revitalize communities and preserve home ownership. In partnership with skilled labor and volunteers, Rebuilding Together Boston offers free services to stabilize and restore the houses of low-income homeowners and non-profit-owned facilities in Boston.

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