Right on the Money: A Little Luck, a Lot of Pluck, a New Home for Youth

Volunteers adding bricks to a wall.
More than 100 conventioneers and Sasha Bruce supporters helped out on May 16. Here, volunteers add bricks to the side of the home, which will house eight homeless young people. Masonry company Oldcastle Architectural donated the wall material.
Sometimes serendipity and hard work combine to make really good things happen. Sasha Bruce Youthwork, an organization that works with homeless and other at-risk youth in Washington, DC, last July accepted the donation of a dilapidated house at 5032 D Street NE. Staff and board members knew they'd have to raise about $300,000 to fix the place up, says chief fundraiser Jim Beck. They were studying the situation and planning a strategy when REED Construction Data, a technology firm serving the construction industry, sought Sasha Bruce out. The company's leaders wanted to plan a community service project for May 16, when they'd be in town for the 2012 American Institute of Architects Convention. Sasha Bruce pitched renovating the D Street House. REED Construction liked the idea. Plans for the community service event got firmed up in January. Then things started happening really fast. In a few short months, Sasha Bruce created a committee to raise funds for the building, got the building and demolition permits, commissioned architectural plans and got them approved, and hired a general contractor to oversee the project and train youth in construction skills. Sasha Bruce board member Larry Fullerton, acting as volunteer project manager, made sure everything happened on time. "People are always trying to be planful," Beck says, "but you have to be ready to take advantage of opportunities when they come."
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