Community Rebuilds as a Community Resource

As Community Rebuilds continues to grow, we strive to find more ways to act as a resource for the communities we serve. We do this primarily through organizational transparency and our ever-expanding alumni network.

So what do we mean by organizational transparency? Simply put, we freely share what we do, and we allow others the opportunity to learn from our model. One such individual who is doing this is Colleen Thompson. By engaging with Community Rebuilds, Colleen and her brother, Eric, are now building a straw bale home in beautiful Castle Valley with guidance from the original architectural and engineering plans from Community Rebuilds. Colleen has modified her floor plan and design, adding clearstory windows and altering some other aesthetic elements, but having access to our plans has given her a solid foundation to build from (no pun intended).

Additionally, she is able to join our group of student interns for further education on some of the build aspects where she and her brother have less experience. She has been regularly volunteering with the Moab crews since February of 2016, bolstering her skills in areas such as foundation formwork, adobe floors, and plastering.

When asked how her involvement with Community Rebuilds has helped her, Colleen said I’m grateful to CR for having been so generous with advice and access through this whole process. Reading and Internet research are all well and good, but seeing stuff actually being done is invaluable. For the last year, I visited four job sites, every few days, taking lots of pictures and trying to stay out of the way. When we get stuck with some detail on our project, going back through the pictures can usually answer whatever question has come up. The instructors and students are a delight. It’s uplifting to see these groups of cheerful young people engaging in worthwhile service while learning valuable skills.”


Colleen’s home in progress. Projected finish date is Summer 2017.

But Community Rebuilds offers more than just access to our plans and methods in exchange for donations. With 23 homes built thus far, we have an alumni network teeming with talented, skilled builders. If you have future or existing projects that you need assistance with, we are happy to play matchmaker between you and past Community Rebuilds participants. Through this recent initiative, we have already helped several alumni find new opportunities and provided a source of quality labor to those who need it. Tell us more about your project and we will advertise it to our alumni network of over 200 former interns.


Community Rebuilds intern, Chloe, helping unload straw at Colleen’s home.

We can all be a part of building more sustainable communities. Here’s Colleen’s advice to anyone considering delving in the world of natural building. “If you enjoy problem-solving, you will enjoy building with bales. Every build is different. There’s no one right way to do things… and people who live in straw houses are especially generous in sharing their experiences.” As part of our mission to provide education, we believe in paying it forward as others have done for us by serving as a resource for natural building expertise. Ask. Learn. Build. Now.

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