February 23, 2016

Working alongside a family who put in sweat equity as down-payment on their future new home, a group of 17 DPR volunteers was able to leverage their building skills on a recent Habitat for Humanity project in the Raleigh-Durham region.

The Jan. 29 project marked the final workday on a new Habitat home that is slated to be turned over to the homeowner in mid-February. DPR volunteers who turned out included four craft workers as well as an array of office, administrative and field personnel. They spent a full workday landscaping the backyard, cutting trees, mulching and planting shrubs in the front and building interior shelves and a bench.

Photo courtesy De'Lisa Stringer

Brian Tostenson helped organize the event for DPR along with community initiatives champion De’Lisa Stringer. Having the opportunity to meet the family that would be moving into the new home and sharing a lunch of homemade porridge provided by the family of new immigrants was a highlight of the day, according to Tostenson.

“It was awesome,” he said. “They brought out their 18-month old baby and shared this delicious lunch with us. It was cool to see the whole family there together and to get a sense of why we were actually there working.”

Photo courtesy De'Lisa Stringer

The opportunity to put DPR’s construction skills to use is also rewarding, according to Stringer. She pointed out that the Raleigh-Durham region is moving toward formalizing their partnerships with the local arms of Habitat for Durham County and Rebuilding Together of the Triangle.

“We are going to be contributing a certain amount of hours and donation funds every year from 2017 on,” she commented. “These organizations are huge supporters of low income development, and this really fits in with our focus on skills-based volunteering.”

DPR plans at least another five events this year, some large and some small, Stringer added. “The goal is to give everyone in our office an opportunity to participate in some way.”