Volunteers from Silver City, NM teamed with Border Partners to complete an intensive one-day home repair project and improve one family’s life. Volunteers from the Western Institute for Lifelong Learning [WILL], a grass-roots education organization, repaired one Puerto Palomas family’s substandard home last week.
Six WILL workers, many of whom were new volunteers for us, met us in downtown Palomas midmorning on January 29. Each volunteer contributed not only their time but also a stipend of $20 for home repair supplies and costs.
Border Partners staffer Marisol Guillen sifted through many needs in Palomas and selected a family whose home lacked a functioning roof and several panes of window glass. Winter cold also poured past the orange bath towel that futilely hung across the six square-foot hole in the small building’s rear wall.
The eldest son of this single-parent family died last year when the teen’s sports injury, untreated due to the family’s lack of funds, led to hip cancer. Grief and its accompanying depression ensued. The mother and her four surviving children became further mired as trauma left them unable to cope with stresses of daily life.
WILL volunteer workers–assisted by Border Partners personnel, volunteers from Palomas, and family members–moved four truckloads of rubble and debris from the yard to the landfill. This was a monumental improvement for a family lacking transportation. They filled the gaping hole in the rear wall and replaced or patched the broken window panes.
So much water entered the home through its leaky roof that the family had actually installed an eave trough inside the home to collect it. Volunteers covered that roof with corrugated tin panels and removed tree branches that had damaged the roofing. They also trimmed tree branches that had entwined with the wire delivering electricity to the house.
This home repair project reinforces Border Partners’ conviction that cooperative efforts can improve life in the border community. A slide show of images from the work repair day [CLICK HERE] is posted on the Border Partners Flickr account.
We heartily thank WILL volunteers Eric Ockerhausen, Dominick Bassi, Andy Payne, Chris Allen, Ann Hedlund, and Tom Bates.
WILL offers ongoing learning experiences for learners of any age. A second WILL February 21. In addition, a WILL tour of our projects in Palomas is slated for March 7. WILL originates in Grant County, New Mexico and is a partner of Western New Mexico University in Silver City.