Kristina Yarrington, and her husband, David, sit amid construction material as work continues Monday on a soon- to-be-donated house on Mariposa Street in south central Denver.
Kristina and David Yarrington decided to give back by doing something they know how to do – fix houses.
It’s actually David’s job. Kristina is in marketing. But David is co-owner of a Value Builders office, which he bought in July. His company remodels homes for sale and then splits the profit with the owners.
In late summer, David and Kristina pondered how they could do something nice for someone else. She had taken a course with Landmark Education.
“It focused on giving back to the community, making a difference in other people’s lives,” she said Monday. “We wanted to make a difference in the life of a family and also in the community. We were looking for a community service project that fit with his business and skill set.”
They had volunteered with Habitat for Humanity before. So they approached the Denver office and offered their plan: Remodel an existing house if there was one available.
There was one in the old Gates Rubber Co. neighborhood. It was a foreclosure. It was in sad shape.
“We gutted it,” Kristina said.
Before the makeover, David and Kristina spent about two months going over the remodeling plan and schedule with Habitat, which supplied the material.
David and Kristina supplied the volunteers. She sent out a mass e-mail, hoping to get 20 to respond.
“We had over 85 volunteers – family and friends and friends of family and friends,” she said.
Plus, 16 subcontractors who work with David volunteered their skills as well.
There was a lot of tearing out and installing new – flooring, siding, cabinets, carpet.
Gayle Richardson, the new homeowner, was scheduled to get a new house in spring. But when she found out about this one, she asked if she could have it instead. She grew up nearby. Her elderly father lives in the neighborhood. And she takes care of him.
Richardson, a floral department clerk in a supermarket, is a single mom with a 16-year-old son who has lots of pals in the area. They are living in public housing for the time being.
They worked alongside volunteers as well, investing themselves in their home.
“You could put that house anywhere – in the middle of the desert – and I’d be happy with it,” Richardson told Habitat. “The fact that it’s next door to my dad is such a blessing.”
Volunteers who pitched in were glad to be able to help.
“Here I was, thinking about how to thank the volunteers,” Kristina said. “A lot of them are thanking us for giving them an opportunity to help this family.”
Richardson wants to thank all involved, too.
“I can’t wait to thank them in person,” she told Habitat.
She can take care of that Wednesday, when her home is dedicated and she gets the keys.
And it will be more convenient for her to continue a tradition – gathering with family for weekly dinner.