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Wednesday, October 13, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 37

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Volunteers will help repair local houses

Student, corporate workers to join forces

By Audrey Warren
Senior Staff Writer 

Renovations of Houston-area homes will begin this weekend in an effort by the UH Students in Construction Related Industry to help the city's less fortunate residents.

The SCRI volunteer organization is collaborating with downtown Houston-based Private Sector Initiative in a humanitarian effort to help rebuild and clean up old houses -- a project similar to those of Habitat for Humanity.

SCRI President Paul Bjork and about 30 volunteers will begin working at Bertha Arellamo's house just north of downtown Houston on Saturday and Sunday.

Arellamo lives in the house with her invalid mother, who is confined to a wheelchair. "My mother's social worker helped to have us picked for the work," Arellamo said.

"We've been trying for the last 10 years to get work done on the house, and we were finally chosen," she said. "I feel very blessed."

SCRI will be at the house between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Volunteers will build a wheelchair ramp for the home, scrape and repair old paint and replace rotten wood, Bjork said.

"They have hundreds of houses being done," he said. "I'm just the project leader on this one."

PSI has donated $50,000 in materials for renovations, and Home Depot and Randalls have also donated to the effort. PSI and SCRI volunteers are joined by volunteers from the Houston office of the Ernst & Young consulting and accounting firm.

Dale Morin is acting as crew leader for the E&Y volunteers. "I organize teams, line out what days people are working and decide who's going to work on what," Morin said.

E&Y is expected to contribute about 20 volunteers for the project.

"What we will do is send interoffice e-mails throughout the consulting services network, and employees will volunteer for the different projects," Morin said.

Morin said volunteers from the firm also help with Habitat for Humanity and various health-related charities.

Work not completed on Arellamo's house this weekend will be finished when the volunteers return Oct. 23.

Arellamo said the fact that this weekend's project will focus on her house has made her want to volunteer for others.

"I would also like to volunteer for any other work that needs to be done since they're doing this for us. It's only fair," she said.
 

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