From Balloons to Birds

December 29th – Noon – the ribbon cutting ceremony opened with blue skies and to a warm community.  Guests were welcomed and asked to take a handful of birdseed and scatter it somewhere out on the property. Emily Niehaus, founder and director, then spoke to the crowd:

“I have been challenged this past semester to more accurately define Community Rebuilds. Are we an affordable housing organization? Are we a natural building school? The answer is vague – we are a mechanism for changing what we build and how we build it.

The construction industry isn’t broken…it is just changing.

Community Rebuilds exists to be a mechanism for change in a way that builds on the strengths of our current construction industry so that we can build better homes and teach others how to do it.   Our goals are affordability and energy-efficiency. BUT because we are a mechanism for change, our attention is turned to the students of our program that will carry our instruction forward. We are passing out birdseed today as a reminder. Our students are like birds and the seed is the knowledge we give them. Thank you for scattering the seed provided in Laurel’s yard in honor of our students.”

Community Rebuilds' student roster

Thanks to Chad Niehaus who baked the hand-cut bird cookies and delicately wrote the name of each CR student on them as well as making bonus 'gingy' cookies to represent the Board and Staff. (a few cookies were eaten prior to the photo - who's missing?)

BIG THANKS to the Community Rebuilds’ Board of Directors: Delite Primus, Gabriel Woytek, Michelle Wiley, Colleen Jarret, Sheri Simmons, and Drake Taylor.

BIG THANKS to our construction funders: USDA Rural Development and Zions Bank.

BIG THANKS to the many organizations, foundations, and individuals who supported our student program with donations for 2012.

BIG THANKS to our building team: Kelly Mathews – natural building instructor/builder, Ben Byrd Construction, and Eric Plourde-builder/instructor/glue.

And now…some pictures of Laurel Hagen’s new home!

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At our last ribbon cutting, we celebrated with balloons. Each balloon represented an individual who made the build possible – students, board, staff, and funders. The metaphor? We needed a whole lotta helium balloons filled to help pick us up of the ground to get us building. This build we celebrate the students who are the mechanism for change. Balloons to Birds.

One more thing – Dave Conine, the State Director for USDA RD, made the trek from Salt Lake to attend our ribbon cutting. He had prepared a statement for the event. After the ribbon was cut by Laurel, everyone rushed inside and left Dave with the following piece of paper in his hand. Sorry we didn’t give you the chance to read it to everyone at the ceremony, Dave! Excuse the was folded. Click  letter from Dave C  to read his thoughts.


Congratulations Laurel!


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