Opening a home to the community
We've been living and serving in the East End of Richmond for the last 9 years. Ours is a community that is one of the highest concentrations of poverty on the east coast, and has been significantly impacted by an array of broken systems. More importantly, it's a community of amazing people that deserve to be seen, heard and loved.
During family walks, we've passed one particular house many times, caddy corner to one of the 4 housing projects in our neighborhood. Each time we would think, "someone could really use this house to serve our neighbors."
And we weren't alone: we've come across a dozen neighbors who have been dreaming about and praying for this home as well, some for a decade or more.
But the house was easily $100K or more overpriced, and we knew there was no way we could afford it even if it wasn't.
But for some reason, God had other plans, and He made the impossible, possible.
Over the last 6 months, after a slew of impossibilities and an outpouring of blessings, we now hold the keys to a place that so many have been praying for, a place that has sat empty and unused for so long, a place with incredible potential for the community.
--We can finally see the yard filled with kids, as our own kids have adventures with their friends from the neighborhood.
--We see the rooms filled with youth doing homework and learning to read each week though Church Hill Activities and Tutoring.
--We see cookouts with our neighbors in the back yard.
--We see groups like New Visions Civic Association and other organizations pouring into the community from the back building.
We see life happening from this corner, in an area that has so often been forgotten.
After many prayers and counsel, we moved forward knowing we could easily be short $30k or more for the work we'd need to do to make it safe for the kids that would be using our home. This includes getting the electrics and plumbing to code, some structural work, and, most importantly, remediating high lead levels in the soil where many kids will play.
Several friends asked if they could help us make it happen, which brings us here. No matter how much comes in, we are committed to make this a safe and inviting space for our community. Our hope is that we can raise enough to cover the cost of remediation high lead levels in the soil, and create an inviting play area in the front yard. This includes prepping the soil, adding a layer of clean soil, adding sod, artificial turf, or mulch, and installing a safe playset, which is estimated to be around $15,000.
And what if we raise more than we expected? We currently have enough funds to (hopefully) cover the most urgent repairs, like electrical, plumbing, and structural issues, and additional funds would allow us to ensure those are not only covered, but cover work to make the home is welcoming.
And if God really blesses us through this, we could even begin work on renovating the large, circa 1900 structure in the back, and make it available to local organizations, families that want to throw birthday parties, and for Becca to teach dance lessons to kids in our neighborhood.
We didn't buy this home for us, but as a home open to the community. We would love for you to be a part of the story that is unfolding! God has given us this incredible opportunity to love our neighbors for decades to come, and we invite you to be a part of that blessing too!
(And if you can't give, don't worry; we likely won't have enough to hire painters, so you can join us for a massive painting day!)
(Shout out to our amazing real estate agent, Alison Snow McCabe, who helped us navigate a crazy process!)
I wanted to show you what your support did! With your help, we were able to raise enough funds to get a large, solid play set, and enough materials to mulch over a large section of the yard (thus limiting access to the soil)!
We are truly grateful for you! Not only can kids now more safely play in the yard, they can do so on a pretty awesome playground!
Already, Youth from the tutoring site that meets in our home have been happy to use the swings, and kids from the neighborhood have had lots of fun on the play set!
We couldn’t have done it without you, the help of UVA IV, and Daniel Komline (who put hours in helping build the play set!)
Now that the play ground is in, we are celebrating with a community cookout at 6 tonight! This is late notice, but if you’re in the area, you’re welcome to join!