May 26, 2016

On May 14, some 100 DPR volunteers in Southern California put the company’s focus on skills-based volunteering to work, transforming a neglected outdoor space into a fully landscaped haven for nonprofit AbilityFirst. The organization serves children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities and special needs. The newly landscaped space provides AbilityFirst clients with additional room for programming and provides a visual boost from the previously overgrown, unappealing site.

The landscaping overhaul provides AbilityFirst with additional programming space, allowing them to provide more services for more clients. Photo courtesy Brennan Cooke.

The results speak for themselves, according to Maddie Schotl, who organized the community service project for DPR’s Southern California offices. She described the end product as a “complete transformation.”

The project entailed a variety of demolition components to prepare the area, including tree removal, stump grinding, and fence and structure removal. Crews then completely reworked the space, adding hundreds of new plants, a new irrigation system, two new shade structures, a renovated shed and numerous planter boxes, among other things. Working side-by-side with DPR, subcontractor BrightView stepped up to volunteer material and services involving the larger landscape elements, new plants/trees and the irrigation system. Local waste company Recology donated dumpsters and sent 10 volunteers to help out on the workday as well.

DPR’s concrete and drywall crews played an integral role with the major landscaping and renovation elements, including preparing or completing various aspects of the work in the days and weeks leading up to the volunteer workday project. Photo courtesy Brennan Cooke.

 “We ended up doing a complete overhaul,” Schotl noted. DPR not only executed the carefully crafted landscape plan that AbilityFirst had devised, but also added additional touches that contributed to creating a highly appealing outdoor space. DPR’s concrete and drywall crews played an integral role with several of the landscaping and renovation elements, preparing or completing various aspects of the work in the days and weeks leading up to the volunteer workday project. All totaled, DPR donated an estimated $35,000 in skilled craft services leading up to the volunteer-led workday.

Photo courtesy Brennan Cooke.

The skills and expertise of DPR craftsmen are fully displayed in the finished product. Among other components, they designed and crafted several ADA compliant “tree hugger” benches, which enabled people in wheelchairs to garden underneath them.

 

DPR's self perform craftsmen designed and built ADA compliant tree-hugger benches, which allow people in wheelchairs to garden underneath them. Photo courtesy Brennan Cooke.

“The clients’ eyes really lit up when they saw the finished product; it made it all worth it seeing how excited they were,” said Schotl.