Homeowner receives a ‘Brush With Kindness’ | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Homeowner receives a ‘Brush With Kindness’

Roseann Keegan
Roseann Keegan / Tahoe Daily TribuneKathi Olsen, front, Dora Ramirez and Donna Hawksford work on the landscaping at the home of Tahoe Verde Mobile Home Park resident June Echeverri.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Most mornings, 76-year-old June Echeverri was working on her yard by 5 a.m.

But in the past three years, issues with blood pressure and lung disease have made it difficult for the Tahoe Verde Mobile Home Park resident to keep up with the demands of a front lawn, back yard and siding that takes beating each winter.

Her son-in-law was keeping things up, but then he had a heart attack and stroke.

“I was saying to the Lord, ‘Hi Lord. I don’t know what I’m going to do,'” Echeverri said.

She received a letter in the mail about A Brush With Kindness, a program of the El Dorado County Habitat for Humanity that helps low-income homeowners by offering exterior home improvements.

Echeverri sent in an application right away and was accepted.

“This is just fantastic,” Echeverri said Wednesday, as about 15 volunteers spruced up her yard. “God sent all right. It’s wonderful for people to see that when times are so difficult and challenging, that people still help other people out.”

For a Brush With Kindness, volunteer teams work to improve the condition of homes by painting, landscaping and performing minor exterior repairs to homeowners who would be unable to complete home repairs on their own. If they are able, homeowners are encouraged to work alongside the volunteers in a cooperative effort, known also as sweat equity.

Since Echeverri was unable to help with the labor, she supplied tools, coffee and water to the volunteers.

“She’s really doing the best she can,” said volunteer Bonnie Driscoll.

Carolyn Meiers of the Lake Tahoe branch of Habitat for Humanity said the organization has been trying to secure a home building project in the area. In the meantime, the group has adopted the Brush With Kindness program, which includes smaller-scale projects that deal solely with a home’s exterior.

When Habitat for Humanity called for volunteers, Unity at the Lake and Hope Lutheran Church of the Sierra stepped forward.

“We said, ‘Here’s some money, here’s some labor, what do we need to do?'” said Kathi Olsen, who serves on the board of Unity at the Lake.

For three days, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. about 15 volunteers worked to repaint the skirt on Echeverri’s mobile home, weed and plant fresh foliage, clear a sitting area in the backyard, and clean up a water feature that was overrun with weeds. Volunteers also removed a large patch of sod that wrapped from the front yard to the back, and replaced it with wood chips for easy maintenance.

“I think she’s going to have a good night’s sleep tonight,” Olsen said.

For an application, call (530) 541-4654 or e-mail slthabitat@gmail.com.

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