The Airbus Aerial team volunteered with Habitat for Humanity’s Brush with Kindness program, which offers painting and minor repair services to eligible homeowners. On a cool winter morning, Aerial’s volunteers met the homeowner, Alice, at her home. Alice moved into her home 20 years ago, through Habitat for Humanity’s Homebuyer program and lives in the home with her 38 year old son. Alice’s son, who is special needs, even wanted to stay and help paint their house, but his school had a field trip that he just couldn’t miss.
In addition to painting and repair services, the Brush with Kindness program provides landscaping and weatherization to ensure that families live in safe and well-maintained homes. Habitat for Humanity’s Homebuyer program provides eligible applicants with an opportunity to buy an affordable and energy-efficient home in city of Atlanta and South Fulton County neighborhoods. Habitat for Humanity also offers mortgage payment plans, education opportunities, and scholarships and grants. You can learn more about their programs here.
The team met in Sylvan Hills at 9:00am with Denise, a Habitat volunteer manager, who conducted a safety briefing, answered questions about protocol, and distributed tasks and supplies. Since the home had not been painted in twenty years, the group started by scraping off the house’s original dusty peach paint and sanding down uneven edges. Being the sole caretaker of her special needs son, and with her own health complications, Alice had simply not had the $3,000-$6,000 to spare to paint the house in the twenty years she has lived there.
The interior of the home was a different story: it was spotless and warm, with pictures of family covering the walls.
The group could tell that Alice took great pride in keeping her house looking good. The other houses in Sylvan Hills were also in the process of revitalization, so it was even more exciting for her to paint her home, as her neighbors were also striving to improve the neighborhood.
No stranger to dividing work that plays to their strengths, Aerial’s development team tackled the project as only they could. Terri Chu jumped head first into painting the outside walls, in the same way she solves back end engineering problems. Valarie Regas took over the ornate security and interior doors, similarly to the detailed work required of her as a Development Operations engineer. And Jen Schiavone, our Software Development Engineer in Test, covered the spots that Valarie missed, like her work in writing test automation.
The group broke for lunch at noon, but were so determined to finish their work that they spent only five to 10 minutes eating.
By 3:00pm, Alice house was transformed from that dull peach to a bright, striking blue.
Valarie mentions that as a mother, “it felt good to know that Alice could now spend less time and energy worrying about house repairs and devote more time and energy to her son.” She was particularly excited about the service project because, working 40 hours a week, she isn’t able to volunteer as much. “One of the things I missed when I was a stay at home mom was being able to volunteer during the day. I love Aerial for choosing to do this, because I wouldn’t have the option otherwise.”
After cleaning up the paint, ladders, and other supplies, the Aerial volunteers said goodbye to Alice and headed home. Aerial’s Business Operations Manager Shannon Allen hopes to schedule service projects more frequently. Another group of employees completed a similar project in September, painting the house of an elderly woman in West Atlanta. Shannon isn’t satisfied with the idea of a singular, annual community service project, and hopes to work with Habitat multiple times this year. From the photos they took and the stories they shared, it’s clear that the rest of Aerial’s employees are looking forward to future events.
By Chisom Awachie