DPR’s Service September Renovations Build Possibilities for Under-Resourced Communities
This article is included in the Great Things: Issue 6 edition of the DPR Newsletter.
DPR Construction once again leveraged all of its offices’ builder skillsets for Service September, an annual monthlong focus on construction and renovation volunteer projects for its community partners. With a vision of Building possibilities for the under-resourced, DPR’s philanthropic initiatives are one of four pillars of the company’s Global Social Responsibility efforts.
Year-round, DPR’s Community Initiatives (CI) Champions and Task Forces support their nonprofit partners’ missions by aligning the company’s core business strengths to meet the needs of the organizations through skills-based volunteering. Throughout Service September, CI Champions use this time as an opportunity to showcase DPR’s expertise as a builder focusing on renovation projects for community clubhouses, group homes, and nonprofit offices. Projects can range from offering specialized services such as planning, estimating, scheduling, and virtual design and construction (VDC), to fresh coats of paint and larger construction efforts.
In total, DPR’s team estimates they provided hundreds of volunteer hours for 21 organizations across its business units throughout the month.
“For these projects, we can change the way an organization is using their space, increase their capacity, and give them pride in what they have to offer to their participants,” said Whitney Dorn, who serves as a project executive in DPR’s business unit, president of the DPR Foundation and leader of DPR’s Community Initiatives Leadership Group.
“Our partners tell us that facility upgrades are rarely included in their budgets. If not for DPR volunteers, the work rarely gets done. Sometimes something as simple as a fresh coat of paint energizes the staff, and lets clients know the community cares about them,” said Dorn.
Rena Crittendon, a DPR office coordinator who also leads the Bay Area Community Initiatives Task Force, said, “DPR, as a company, acknowledges the diversity within these communities and tries to bridge the gap between economic backgrounds with every project we involve ourselves with.”
“This sort of CI effort intersects perfectly with DPR’s mission from a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) perspective, which is establishing a workforce that actually represents the communities in which we work, serve and build,” said Stacee Barkley, DPR’s Global DE&I Leader.
“This month, DPR brings in builders from all over the company to support organizations that help build possibilities for those in under-resourced communities. We are supporting our communities, but also ultimately helping build a more diverse workforce."
Brian O’Kelly Day of Service
In the Bay Area, the annual “Brian O’Kelly Day of Service” was one for the books with over 75 DPR volunteers simultaneously working on four different renovation projects on the same day through longtime community partner, Rebuilding Together.
Rena Crittendon, who led the Bay Area’s Service September event coordination, shared, “This continued partnership shows them DPR’s commitment to making a real impact by providing specific services not many other companies can easily offer.”
The first and second projects included renovations for two preschools situated in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods around San Francisco and San Mateo. These updates consisted of repurposing an old play structure, replacing a kitchen, adding extra storage, and shelving, and a variety of outdoor work.
The third project was dedicated to a home in Oakland that aids victims of domestic violence, with significant renovations to the outdoor spaces. Updates included adding over 200 feet of privacy fencing with a gate, removing and replacing a large concrete pad, adding picnic tables and seating to create a safe and inviting environment.
The fourth project was held at a regional resource center for teachers who collect supplies from offices like DPR, so volunteers focused on setting them up with adequate shelving, racking, and updated the overall look and feel with freshly painted walls.
Community Partnership at Jones High School
To help prep for a successful upcoming school year, DPR’s Central Florida team gave a much-needed facelift to Jones High School’s on-campus market, referred to as the “Tiger’s Den.”
DPR CI Champion and business developer, Lacey Nelson, mentioned that the company holds a longstanding partnership with Jones High School.
“We recently provided the Tiger’s Den, with food, toiletries, clothes and extra supplies for any students who may need them,” said Nelson. “Then we decided to take it a step further and renovate this room, currently doubling as a makeshift student market.”
For this effort, DPR’s self-perform team came in to update the piping in the room to make it acceptable for code compliance, added blinds and created a track system, like those mimicked in hospitals, to close off the piping so students didn’t see it while visiting the market.
Updates to the Tiger’s Den also included adding extra shelving and neatly organizing the food and toiletries in their own designated areas.
“It’s rewarding that DPR can give students a space that feels more like a trendy boutique where they can comfortably shop for food, toiletries and resources without feeling like it’s just an average room,” says Nelson.
The Boys & Girls Club of Greater San Diego
DPR volunteers did a deep clean and refresh of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater San Diego (BGCGSD), Encanto branch.
The former grocery store turned BGCGSD facility was closed for the past 18 months due to the pandemic, so DPR stepped in to paint and clean up the rooms, preparing it for students to return in the fall.
“This facelift not only expressed how much these students are valued here, but it also puts value back into the BGCGSD facility after being shut down for over a year,” said Thomas Bancroft, a DPR preconstruction estimator and CI Champion.
“Despite this being a newly developed partnership between DPR and the BGCGSD Encanto branch, it was a perfect match,” said Bancroft. “Not only do our DPR team members have personal ties to this community, but it’s amazing having the opportunity to team up with a nonprofit that positively affects San Diego youth.”
DPR’s Reston, VA, office revamped one of the activity centers for their longtime community partner, Second Story, an organization that serves teens in crisis and young mothers experiencing homelessness. Second Story’s activity center provides a safe place for students to visit after school and give them a home base to connect with other youth to enjoy snacks, do their homework, watch movies, and enjoy themselves.
The facility improvements made to Second Story’s activity center have been part of an ongoing project broken up over the course of two years, extending the original timeline due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For this portion of the project occurring during Service September, DPR replaced chipped tile and also conducted an asbestos test for added safety precautions.
“The renovation of these spaces is all for the kids and their development, so it puts DPR in an incredible position to add to their comfort and excitement when visiting this facility,” shared Chalakani, a DPR office coordinator and CI Champion.
“Overall, it’s really nice to be able to leave a legacy behind of creating cozy spaces for under-resourced youth who need somewhere to be that welcomes them with open arms.”
Posted on September 30, 2021
Last Updated August 23, 2022