The start of a new school year means that Green Construction and Advanced Construction crews have resumed the work of renovating two formerly abandoned properties in Nicetown into LEED-targeted homes! This is a project that we’ve taken on in partnership with our friends at Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed, as part of a national YouthBuild green construction movement.
With deconstruction almost complete in both of the adjoining properties on Wingohocking Street, the project’s focus has turned to strengthening the property and preparing it for the rebuilding process that will take place inside. Students are learning how to parge the walls – that is, to reinforce and seal them with a special cement mixture – thereby strengthening and refining what is already there rather than using all-new materials (which would negatively affect the houses’ environmental impact).
Parging is hard work, because builders have to mix the materials thoroughly and then act quickly to get the cement onto the walls. Fortunately in the past few weeks we have had help on two separate occasions from volunteers representing local Starbucks locations and GlaxoSmithKline’s Philadelphia region offices.
Here are photos from the Starbucks #extrashotofgood volunteer day. (You may recognize Class of 2014 Salutatorian Carmen Williams in a Starbucks shirt in these photos – she’s still going strong after graduation, taking classes at Community College of Philadelphia and working as a newly-promoted Barista Trainer at Starbucks.)
Here are photos from the GlaxoSmithKline GSK Day project last week:
By rolling up their sleeves and working alongside YouthBuild students to strengthen the walls of these homes, our volunteers have now made a lasting and tangible difference in the community. But the volunteer days are about more than just manpower and construction. of course. By visiting the worksite and spending time with our students, Starbucks and GSK employees expanded YouthBuild students’ worldview to include new career pathways and demonstrated professional skills for students to learn from.
Most of all, we appreciate the enthusiasm and care that the volunteers brought to the worksite, proving through their actions just how much the greater Philadelphia community wants our young people to succeed and build great things — which we know they can. Thank you, volunteers!
To learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit our website.