"A world where everyone has a decent place to live..."
Habitat News Tribune                             December 2016 
A Message from 
the Editor

Happy Holidays!
I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with friends, family, delicious food, and opportunities to give thanks for things big and small.

Christmas is fast approaching and New Years is just around the corner. As we close out 2016 in this holiday season, we would like to take a look at all of our accomplishments here at St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity over the past year. It has been a wonderful year thanks to you--yes you! Thank you for your support and dedication to the mission of Habitat and the growth of our communities.

We've got lots of great information in this edition and a country spotlight on the work of Habitat in Fiji, so take a coffee (or tea) break and enjoy!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and we look forward to entering 2017 with you by our side,

Tiffany
We love our volunteers! They add so much joy and festivity to our day.  Thank you to Hayley Waalen (left) and Ali Sutter (right) for the beautifully decorated Christmas tree at the Roberts ReStore.
Hayley and Ali are enrolled in the Somerset Transition Program and volunteer every Wednesday at the Roberts ReStore with their supervisor, Diane Baillargeon.
Join our FAM club!
T he Fifteen Dollars a Month club is a hassle free and secure way to help fight poverty housing in the St. Croix Valley. Each month, for less than a couple meals at a restaurant, you can help provide a home for a local family in need. 

With the FAM club, every month 15 dollars (or more, if you choose) will be  securely transferred from your bank account to ours to help us cover the cost we incur on our noble mission. 

To sign up for the FAM club please, 
contact the office at 715-425-5623

We at St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity would like to extend a very heartfelt and humble thank you to all of our donors for your 
beneficence; it is through your contributions that we may continue our righteous work.
Get to Know Us
Board of Directors
Maureen Otwell
President

Joel Skinner
Vice President 

Don Richards
Secretary

Bill Stokes
Treasurer

Directors
Chuck Boeder
Sarah Bruch
Peter Kilde
Gary Konkol
Heather Logelin
Roger Pavlis 
Bill Richard
Liz Swank
Maureen Wegleitner
Staff

Executive Director

Associate Director

Program Specialist
 
Office Manager
 
Bookkeeper

Outreach and Faith Relations VISTA
  
ReStore Manager - Roberts

Assistant ReStore Manager - Roberts

Donation Procurement 
Supervisor

ReStore Manager -River Falls

ReStore Associate - River Falls
Corporate Partners




























A Look Back at 2016
Our Accomplishments

With the completion of the Eco Village and the celebration of our 20th year of operation, it has been quite the year of excitement! Let's take a quick look back on all of the amazing accomplishments we saw in 2016.

The final four houses of the Eco Village were built, bringing the final number of houses to 18. St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity has now built a total of  66 homes in Pierce and St. Croix Counties! We were able to expand the "A Brush with Kindness" program with several projects to assist homeowners to "age in place." We anticipate building possibly 3 new homes in New Richmond in 2017 and continuing our home rehab programs.

We were able to purchase a beautiful building in Roberts this year to relocate the New Richmond ReStore operation. With this new space, we were also able to merge the River Falls ReStore into the Roberts location. This exciting endeavor took many hours of time and energy this year, but the rewards are plentiful and we are grateful for this wonderful ReStore space.

We close out 2016 with the transition of the River Falls ReStore location into what we are terming an "Eco Center." This space will accommodate space to consolidate our tool and equipment storage, as well as create a Volunteer Hub and Training Center. We will be able to prefab home components and handicap accessibility ramps without regard for inclement weather. No more winter blues! 

All of these accomplishments would not have been achieved without our many wonderful volunteers; the dedicated and supportive board of directors; our excellent staff; and of course, the support of our community. 

I would like to thank all who were involved this year for the great work in accomplishing our mission to "ensure that everyone has a decent place to live." 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

- Dave Engstrom, Executive Director
2016 Tithe
About the Tithe Program

The tithe program was created as a means for affiliates to be active participants in Habitat's global ministry while also impacting the need in their local communities. Check out what Steve Messinetti, CEO and president of Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East in Oregon has to say about Habitat's mission and the tithe program: 

 

"No matter how much we like to think our work is local, the work we do really affects our mission everywhere. And that is why I believe our tithe is so essential to our mission. Tithe is not sending you affiliate's money to support someone else's work. Tithe is your work, just as much as the house you build in your community." 


Your support of SCV Habitat is most immediately felt within our community here in the St. Croix Valley, but it doesn't end there. Since 1998, our affiliated has tithed over $176,291 to affiliates in 13 countries, the Haiti Disaster Recovery Fund, and the Global Mission Fund.
Country Spotlight: Fiji

St. Croix Valley Habitat is delighted to announce the designation of our tithe for this year to the country of Fiji.

Former board member, John Levi, his wife Melissa, and daughters Morgan and Kaitlyn, recently returned  from a Habitat Global Village trip to Fiji where they participated in the work of Habitat Fiji along side local country staff, families, and fellow Habitat volunteers. John has also participated in GV trips to Argentina and Guatemala. 

Together on a team of 11 people, John and his family were prepared to experience life in Fiji as they helped to build a house for a local family. What they didn't expect was that same spirit of service and passion of kindness to be returned back immediately. 

The Levi Family at the site of the home.

Upon arrival to the lush island country and before the build could begin, the team participated in cultural introduction activities in the local community. They participated in a local ceremony with the elders in the community, drinking kava  and gaining access to the community center and community despite their outsider status. 

Fiji is no stranger to the effects of natural disasters. The people experience hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions far too often. The community for this build site has been ravished by hurricanes, and the family that would receive this house had lost two homes within five years as a result. The mother of the household, called Cece, had all but given up every shred of hope she could muster. She wasn't caring for herself or her two boys. She stopped acting like a mom--an important role of women in Fiji. In partnership with Habitat, the community had decided Cece and her family deserved this new home.

The entire community is made up of sugarcane farmers, and the build took place during the harvest season. Despite being in this crucial time of year, all the families of community came together to build this new home. Sometimes it truly does take a whole village, and sometimes even a pair of ox. Running water has been a recent addition to this community; however, electricity is still not available there. The entire build was done by hand--from hand saws to small shovels to hammers. With a little extra help of oxen, the wood was brought into the village. That's certainly not a technique we are accustomed to here.      

The faithful helpers.

The home was built over the course of the week with help from the Fiji HFH staff, the team of volunteers, and the community. "Cece's" new home is a one-room house, with no kitchen or bathroom. The local community center provides the only flush toilet and shower for the village. But this home is more than its humble and meek appearance--it is a source of hope and a beacon of life. The home is now called "New Hope" in honor of Cece. John Levi commented on the honor that it was to name the home as a group saying, "Now her hope has been restored. She has a safe home for her kids that won't be blown away by another storm." Her fears have been calmed, dignity brought back, and most importantly, hope restored.

Cece and her new hope-filled home.

John was most moved by the opportunities for himself and his family to learn about an different culture and experience a little part of life in Fiji. It was a unique experience, especially for his daughters, to catch a glimpse of global poverty and the joy of life all wrapped up in one trip. While the Levi's and other volunteers came to serve with their hearts and hands, the community was also there to serve them back. A Habitat home ceremony is always a special occasion as the homeowners are finally in their new home, but this time around, the community gathered at the community center and refused to allow the team to do a single thing. Everyone stopped working. Food and drinks were brought to the team. Songs were sung. Community was formed. 

We are thankful for people like John and his family, who are willing to travel in service with Habitat, and even more grateful for opportunities to have them be served back for their dedicated hearts.

While Fiji is typically associated with resorts and stunning beaches, there is much more to this island nation than tourists and sunburn. People are the heart of this country, and John's experience highlights just that. This was the first U.S. team HFH Fiji had hosted in a long time. They do not typically receive much support from the U.S. This particular team was able to leave the Fiji affiliate with enough money from Thrivent to support the build of another home. There are two or three communities devastated by recent hurricanes where HFH Fiji is seeking to build in the future. 

During construction.
The almost completed home.

Since 1991, Habitat for Humanity has been working in Fiji, serving over 28,600 people by utilizing partnerships with governments, bilateral and non-profit organizations, and international volunteers. HFH Fiji not only helps families build homes, but they address other prominent needs and concerns in communities through community water and sanitation projects, disaster response, and identifying vulnerable groups of people as they build homes. 

Take a look at these HFH Fiji accomplishments:
  • helped more than 3,140 families through disaster response
  • helped over 1,300 families in over 45 communities through water and sanitation improvements
  • built over 900 new homes

The numbers are truly astonishing. Our tithe will continue to help support the mission of Habitat and the projects of HFH Fiji in pursuit of a world where everyone has a decent place to call home. It requires about $2,000-3,000 to cover the costs of building a home in Fiji. Our tithe donation will stretch further than we might even imagine.


Check out some quick facts about Fiji and HFH Fiji by 
Visit HFH Fiji on Facebook  Like us on Facebook 
Farewell to Two Board Members
The end of 2016 brings to close a time of service and dedication for two of our faithful board members -- Sarah Bruch and Bill Stokes. 

Sarah Bruch, owner/operator of The Purple Tree in Hudson, joined the SCH Habitat board in early 2013. As an owner and operator of a small business, Sarah brought expertise in finance and personnel. She has been an outstanding champion for sustainable building and the Eco Village. Thank you, Sarah. You will be missed on our board.

Bill Stokes, an Andersen Windows employee, began his service with SCV Habitat in 2010 as a part-time bookkeeper during an important time of transition for SCV Habitat. SCV Habitat was transitioning from one or two home builds a year to taking on the Eco Village Development project which required build five to six homes a year. When SCV Habitat hired an in-house bookkeeper, Bill was gracious enough to join the board as Treasurer in 2014, continuing to provide valuable knowledge and service. Will a calling to new duties at his church, Bill is leaving our board. Thank you, Bill, for your service to Habitat!

We send a big 'Thank You' to Sarah Bruch and Bill Stokes for their service on our Board. 
Events
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!

Looking for the perfect Christmas tree this year? Come check out our wonderful selection of trees at the Roberts ReStore. Visit us during regular store hours now through December 17th (Tues - Sat 9am - 5pm).

Christmas On Main

Join the business community of Roberts this  Saturday, December 10th in downtown Roberts for Christmas on Main! Bring the family and enjoy some holiday festivities, including a visit with Santa, caroling, and festive activities. Stop by 109 W. Main Street to visit with SCV Habitat and even enter a raffle to win a piece of furniture! Thank you for supporting your local community. 

For a complete schedule of events and more information, click here to visit the Center St. Croix Area Chamber of Commerce website.
St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity 
116 E. Elm Street
River Falls, WI 54022