by Divya Wodon, Naina Wodon, and Quentin Wodon
“The families are thrilled with what we do, we walk away feeling so much gratification knowing that we have just turned this person’s life around by helping them keep their independence and improved their lifestyle which they’ll never forget, and that’s what Rotary is all about.”
As liaison between her club and Rebuilding Together Sue Weber from the Annapolis Rotary Club puts together once a year a team of volunteers to help renovate the home of a low income local family or individual in need. Whatever needs repairs is done, whether it is about fixing the plumbing, painting the walls, or replacing windows. Once “a veteran was disabled and we needed to build a ramp so he could get out of his house.” Sue explains that “all materials are donated by local stores or sponsors, and it’s a wonderful project to be a part of because the whole community comes together to revitalize neighborhoods”.
Sue started to be involved in this project for a few reasons. “You feel good before, during and after you meet and help the family in need. In one day, you give some sweat and tears all for a good cause and you see the immediate results and impact before you go home.” Although the project helps the families and the volunteers are great, there are challenges: “Finding the qualified people who have the skills mastered can be difficult. For example if there is a problem with plumbing, we need to find a volunteer who is a master plumber, although they do get many helpful hands.”
Oftentimes challenges arise on the rebuilding day itself: “Usually it happens that you pull something a part, and then you see that it’s ten times worse than what you were originally anticipating”. But although there are challenges, there are great rewards as well: “The Rotary has touched the lives of a local family by stabilizing their home and positively impacting the local community permanently.”
Note: This story is reproduced with minor changes from a book published by the authors entitled Membership in Service Clubs: Rotary’s Experience (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).