Atmore residents build hope

Published 4:31 am Wednesday, June 21, 2006

By By Janet Little Cooper
As Calvin Howard, an Atmore resident grew older; the cold winter months became increasingly unbearable in his wood frame home due to the lack of insulation.
He has looked forward to the day that repairs could be made on his home making his life more comfortable.
That day came Saturday for Howard as volunteers from Trinity Episcopal and Atmore Assembly of God churches joined together with the nonprofit organization Building Hope to do the necessary repairs.
"This was our largest project to date, " Building Hope executive director Glen Maholovich said. "We insulated the house and put vinyl siding up. He is an elderly man that uses a walker. He can't get around real well and the winter months were especially difficult for him. We hope that by improving his home, we have improved his life as well."
Building Hope is a nonprofit organization that has been operating in Atmore for the past three years doing projects for elderly, disabled and disadvantaged people. The organization is located in the downstairs of a home on 208 South Trammell Street.
A five-person board of directors that is responsible for screening referrals that are made to them from other organizations or individuals to verify that an individual qualifies for assistance runs the group.
"Individuals who are referred to us have to complete an application," Maholovich said. "We then screen them to see if they qualify. Once we have a project, we solicit money from the community until we reach the necessary amount and then we solicit the community for volunteers to do the work."
The organization also files for grant money to assist with the day-to-day operations and scheduled projects. According to Maholovich, Building Hope would also like to gain a corporate sponsorship from a business or businesses to help with the expenses involved.
"In our first year we repaired three houses," Maholovich said. "The second year we did six houses and this year our goal is to do 12 different projects. When we go to someone's house to work, it doesn't cost them a dime."
Building Hope began with Maholovich's wife, Vanessa as she worked with elderly people as a nurse with a home health company.
"God birthed the idea in Vanessa's heart," Maholovich said. "She was seeing an elderly woman in Baldwin County who's home was in a bad need of repair. Her heart became so burdened for this elderly woman because she knew that most elderly people do not have the funds or the family available to help them. Vanessa began to pray and she feels that God told her to help."
Maholovich said his wife wasn't sure how to help, but knew that her husband had completed various carpentry projects in the past.
"At that point Mona Lusk came into the picture," Maholovich said. "Mona was experienced in business and non-profit organizations. She and my wife got together and despite the amount of time it took, everything fell together and God worked it all out. We now had a name and were classified as a 503(C) nonprofit organization."
The organization is excited about the recent addition of a volunteer who will work three days a week in the office who is involved in the Easter Seals program. Maholovich encourages anyone qualified for that program to stop by.
"When you volunteer you are truly blessed," Maholovich said. "This kind of work gives you a high that can't be matched."
If you are interested in helping Build Hope for residents of Atmore call 446-8796 to volunteer or call Glenn Maholovich at 327-6528.

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