Young Volunteers will ‘Rebuild’ Homes to Help Older Adults Live Independently

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NextGen volunteers at a client’s home in the Northeast

Edith Kutcher is 101, and she lives alone in Northeast Philadelphia. Last year, her house was in bad shape. She needed a new stove, she couldn’t change her own lightbulbs, and even had some holes in one of her walls. Then a crew of Rebuild volunteers swept in. They provided her with high-efficiency lightbulbs, replaced her cooktop with a new unit, and installed shut-off valves, patched the holes in her wall, painted bedrooms, and helped her clean her house and organize items to donate.

This year, on Sept. 17, the Jewish Federation’s NextGen Rebuild Project will take on the Bells Corner neighborhood in Northeast Philadelphia. More than 100 volunteers will roll up their sleeves and do home repairs, enabling the aging homeowners to remain in their own homes and live independently.

Rebuild gives young adults the opportunity to make a difference in their city. Paired with skilled workers from Habitat for Humanity, volunteers will perform major work, like overhauling electrical systems and fixing roofs, on four Bells Corner homes. Six to eight additional homeowners will get help with smaller repairs and maintenance tasks.

Funding for the event is provided each year by Jewish Federation Real Estate (JFRE). They have earmarked $40,000 to cover the cost of this fourth-annual day of community service.

The Jewish Federation partners with KleinLife and Northeast NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) in addition to Habitat for Humanity on this project. It’s an annual example of the Jewish community working together to make people’s lives better.

“Not everyone in their 20s and 30s can give a significant amount of money, but we can give our time and talent to our community,” said Marc Prine, chair of the Jewish Federation’s NextGen board. “Through Rebuild, we show the NORC residents that we’re there for them. We want them to have the quality of life we’d want for our grandparents.”

From changing lightbulbs to repairing roofs, Rebuild gives young adults a chance to give back while having a major impact on the lives of the homeowners they help.

For more information about NextGen, contact Melanie Gerchberg, director of NextGen at [email protected] or 215-832-0861. To sign up, visit jewishphilly.org/nextgenrebuild.