October 3, 2016

For the entire month of September, DPR teams across the country took their construction skills into the communities in which we serve to support nonprofit organizations through facility renovation and repair.  

Approximately 65 employees in the Bay Area, ranging from tradespeople to senior leadership, came together on Sept. 10 with Rebuilding Together, an organization that aims to transform the lives of low-income homeowners by improving the safety and health of their homes. DPR’s Bay Area region delivered four different hands-on construction projects that underscored its commitment to giving back.

The projects – which included making improvements to an elementary school in Belmont, a historic community building in Oakland and community centers in San Francisco and San Jose – shared a common thread:  all touch the lives of a broad number of people in the communities in which they were located. Together, the projects benefited thousands of students, special needs adults and local citizens.

At the I.T. Bookman Center in San Francisco, DPR made facility improvements that will enable it to act as a disaster response shelter. (Photo courtesy: Rena Crittendon)

Rena Crittendon organized the service events in the Bay Area and personally championed the San Francisco project. “This year we wanted to concentrate our efforts on community centers or other projects that make an impact on a bigger group of people, and to take on tougher projects that required our unique skills as technical builders,” she said.

At San Francisco’s I.T. Bookman Center, which serves over 1,500 individuals annually through community programs, DPR made improvements that will enable it to operate as a disaster response shelter. The project was one component of a larger, ongoing neighborhood revitalization effort.

“DPR’s involvement was critical to our improvement program. The DPR team served as the tip of the ‘rebuilding sword’ at I.T. Bookman Community Center,” said Rebuilding Together San Francisco’s Jennifer Leshnower. “In just one day, a team of DPR volunteers completed the wall and floor demolition necessary to launch a multiphase kitchen remodeling project.”

A team of more than 20 DPR volunteers provided all the materials and manpower for work that included painting, installing a brick paver patio, landscaping, as well as removing extensive debris and clutter from three local homes.

DPR volunteers clear brush from the garden of the Cohen Bray House, a historic home in Oakland, built in 1884. (Photo courtesy: Simon Eldridge)

In three other Bay Area communities, DPR volunteers took on equally challenging and vital service projects during the Sept. 10 day of service, including:

  • Grace Community Center, San Jose – DPR’s Nick Garzini championed improvements for a community center serving adults with special needs in the South Bay. A wide spectrum of volunteers from various self-perform work divisions (doors, concrete and interiors) and subcontracting partners performed hands-on construction work. The team painted the exterior, and replaced numerous aspects of the center, including stairs, toilets, doors and lights. “The work is amazing – you have changed and affected a lot of people’s lives,” commented Debbie Reynolds from Grace Community Center after the workday. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”
  • Cohen Bray House Museum, Oakland – A DPR team championed by Simon Eldridge restored a historic Victorian house museum, an Oakland city landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. The team made improvements including new railings and fencing, exterior paint and a cleaned garden.
  • Nesbit Elementary School, Belmont – A dozen volunteers demolished and replaced cabinets in five classrooms for an elementary school serving almost 600 students on the Peninsula.