In Northern California, February is quite the rainy month, making some projects impractical if they’re outdoors. Because of this, we were able to sit down and talk with some of the crew for the Hope City project in Mendocino County. Currently, there are three home builds in progress in the county, with more to come.
We visited the home of Paul Spangenberg, who was unfortunately not available at the time to do an interview. His home sits on a nice open property, the RV he’s staying in sits behind the house. With all the rain, the AmeriCorps team in camp has been split up into three different groups: working on flooring in the house, building shelving for more tool storage, and assisting at a fire distribution center in town. The kids, ranging in age from 18-24, are all solid workers and happy to learn. They’re lead by Chelsea Hart, and under the direction of our construction crew for Mendocino County made up of Steve Dangler and Matt Juszcak.
Steve and Matt came onboard in November of 2018 after long careers in construction. Steve said, “It’s really been a pleasure, in fact at my point of life, what a way to give back?” Steve travels around to all of our work sites in Mendocino and develops a plan for the week. Getting to meet all these home owners and learning about them has been pretty emotional. We’re so happy to have Steve working with us and lending his knowledge to our volunteer teams and AmeriCorps groups as they come through camp.
When we visited the house, Matt had his team of AmeriCorps members learning how to lay flooring. He took time to show us around the house and praise the work of the team. They’d come into the project with a limited knowledge of construction, and have worked on drywall, painting, insulation and now flooring. The pride Matt showed for the growth of these kids was immense. “We’re teaching them work ethic.” And there’s an abundance of work to be done.
Chelsea told us all about their last round. AmeriCorps is broken down into about a year’s worth of service split between three different projects called rounds. Her team’s first round was spent doing quite a bit of physical labor, as they reintroduced native species of plants to a waterway. The work was meant to act as conservation instead of pouring concrete to shore up the banks. Chelsea’s team is full of hard workers, all of whom readily accept any task. In talking with her team, we found they were taken back by what the fires had done to the area and what the recovery process entails.
That’s just a quick look in on Mendocino County! We’re very proud of our crew here, and all the heart they bring to Hope City. We can’t wait for you to meet them yourselves!