Local volunteer organization announces new projects at home and abroad - The Daily Progress: News

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Local volunteer organization announces new projects at home and abroad

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Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 10:10 pm | Updated: 10:34 pm, Wed Jun 26, 2013.

The Building Goodness Foundation announced new projects and celebrated finished work Wednesday evening.

Foundation spokeswoman Erin Burns said the group is looking forward to breaking ground on projects at home and abroad. The group works on volunteer construction projects in Haiti, Guatamala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador in addition to the Charlottesville-Albemarle area.

In July, the group plans to break ground on a new office on Carlton Road.

“We’ve been working out of a shoebox,” Kelly Eplee, the foundation’s executive director, joked during a presentation.

Burns said the organization has rented office space since its inception, so the office building would be a welcome change. She said the building would be designed to provide meeting and training space as well as a warehouse to store tools and building materials needed locally and internationally.

On July 19, Building Goodness plans to host a volunteer celebration and groundbreaking party at the site of the new office building. Burns said she expected the structure to be built in about a year.

“We’re very volunteer driven,” she said, “so we’re saying we want it to be more like a volunteer clubhouse than strictly an office.”

Eplee said the group tailors the experience so that volunteers can participate in the communities in which they work.

“They often come back and say, 'I was given more than I gave,'” Eplee said.

Eplee said the majority of volunteers are skilled construction professionals, though the group also partners with unskilled workers such as students from the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business.

Building Goodness expects to break ground on a new women’s health and education center in Fondwa, Haiti, in September.

“Our partners there are working to reduce infant mortality,” Burns said. “And having a birthing center and health center will be awesome to help that mission.”

Burns said the group is wrapping up work on a hospital in Nicaragua and recently finished a three-year program in Haiti.

Closer to home, the group plans to install steel fire escapes at the Barrett Early Learning Center. The group also plans to replace a roof at Casa Alma, a Belmont nonprofit that provides temporary housing for people transitioning away from homelessness, Burns said.

Eplee said the foundation is always accepting new volunteers.

“It’s a great way to find purpose,” he said.

Visit www.BuildingGoodness.org for more information.

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