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Corazon 2019

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Lego House

Dear people of St James’:  Do you remember the Lego house in the Parish Hall last month?  It was a symbol of what could be done with money you most generously offered.  This is the result.

Seven St. James’s members: Ken Trant, Gregory and Elaine Miller, Evelyn Martinez, Victor, Missy, Gabriella, and Mateo Bontempo traveled from Newark and Fremont on Friday, May 31 to San Diego/Chula Vista to join our fellow South Alameda Deanery participants for the Corazon House Build in Tijuana, MX on June 1.   There were a total of 66 volunteers from five of the six Episcopal churches in our Deanery, including a group of engineering students from University of California Riverside.  Two rectors flew with their families for this event.

Our journey began by joining the group at All Souls Episcopal Church for our Friday meal in San Diego.  Thereafter, we were all treated to a wonderful free concert by the New City Sinfonia’s program, especially hearing the 14 year old Music Teachers Competition Winner Dasha Zerboni as violin soloist violinist. 

From boarding the bus to arriving our destination in Tijuana Mexico, all sixty willing, enthusiastic volunteers of all ages, ranging from 7 years to 86 years old, tackled the challenge to build this home on a hill for a family of six.  From painting, framing, carrying materials in a fire-brigade-style and finishing, we all chipped in the labor to build this home in one day. 

Notes from Greg on his experience:

Helping others makes me “tick”! The Corazon build was a wonderful experience [that I hope to repeat]! Working with a group of enthusiastic, ‘willing-to-work’, people was just plain FUN! And the gratification building more than a house, but seeing the keys turned over for a home, was a great and beautiful thing!

Thoughts from Ken:

The first thing to know about my Corazon experience is that it was amazing, but I’ll get to the amazing stuff in a minute.

The second thing to know is that before going I was worried that I’d be a fifth wheel during the build. I’m not a carpenter, I push a keyboard for a living, and I haven’t really done anything like this since high school woodshop, so helping to build a house seemed like a big first step. But at the end of the day I was worried for no reason. The folks that put these projects together have so much experience that even with a large group of newbies like me it was all smooth sailing.

 I’m not saying there weren’t snags along the way, like cutting the wrong piece of lumber or having to repaint using the ‘right’ color, but they handled everything without a problem. To be honest, I’ve seen more confusion during campus cleanup (don’t take this comment as a reason to not to show up for campus clean-up  ). 

Now the amazing part. Helping build a house so a family so they could have their first home was amazing!! Meeting all these great people, some local, some in our church group and many others who do this 40-60 times a year, amazing!   However, as much effort as I put into it, what we were given to do was really not that hard considering we were building a house, someone’s home.   I feel like I got a lot more out of this experience than I put in. I really felt fulfilled and overjoyed when they handed the keys to the family we were building for, a multi-generational family of 8. Imagine that feeling when you give the gift to someone that could only dream of having, without any need or expectation of reward, it is amazing. So amazing you want to do it again, so I hope St. James will continue participating in this for many years to come and that I have more opportunities to experience that feeling again. I would encourage people to become involved, it is an experience you will never forget.

Thank you all for your contribution of time, talent and treasure!  St James’ intends to participate again next year, and it would be wonderful to have more people from help build the home.  Keep watch for more information next Spring.

~Elaine Miller