Canyon Charter Elementary Of L.A.U.S.D. is First School in Nation to Fund & Build A Habitat Home On Campus For Hurricane Relief

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Canyon Charter Elementary School is the first U.S. school to partner with Habitat for Humanity's Operation Home Delivery to fund and build a new home on its campus for hurricane relief. The home will be built by parents, faculty, and community volunteers on Monday, February 13th.

Canyon Charter Elementary School, a Los Angeles Unified School, has partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles (http://www.habitatla.org) to support Operation Home Delivery, making it the first school in the U.S. to fully fund and build a home on a school campus. Operation Home Delivery is a home-in-a-box program that allows volunteers across the nation to build homes for families devastated by recent hurricanes. In the days leading up to the build, the 350 students, who cannot participate in the actual build, will be invited to sign their names to the framing lumber used to build the home. On Monday, February 13th parents, teachers, the school’s principal, faculty and representatives from the Los Angeles Unified School District will come together to build the new home, which will be disassembled the next day and shipped to Immokalee, Florida. Once in Florida, more volunteers will finish the home for its new homeowners.

The Canyon Charter School’s commitment to community service - an integral component to its charter – inspired the community to do something more than donate money for the hurricane relief effort. They wanted a memorable experience that would relate core values such as community service, care and concern for others, and provide an opportunity to make a difference in the world. In partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles they are able to change the life of a family who has lost everything and see tangible results for their efforts.    The Canyon Charter School community is fully funding the $85,000 to build the home through fundraising efforts by students and private donations.

“Our partnership with Habitat for Humanity truly celebrates the generous spirit of giving in this community,” says Carol Henderson, Canyon Charter School Principal. “The opportunity to build a home for a family in need is a remarkable honor. Giving is contagious and we hope that our home will inspire other schools to help…one home at a time.”

Fundraising efforts by students included a Halloween candy drive in which a sponsor bought back the candy for $.10 per piece; the Count Your Lucky Stars© program where the children did extra chores to earn money for the build; and an art program that asked each student to draw the original early 20th Century one-room schoolhouse on campus (now the library,) which was then reproduced onto stationary and sold to family members. The build is a community-wide effort involving teachers, parents, faculty, district officials and local business that have donated food, beverages and snacks for the build.

“It is remarkable what the students and members of this community have done to be able to support Habitat for Humanity’s rebuilding efforts in the Gulf,” says Erin Rank, President/CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles. “This partnership is a wonderful example of what can happen when like-minded, good-hearted people are moved into action.”

The build kicks off Friday, February 10th at 8:15 am with a school assembly as the lumber arrives for the build. The students will be invited to sign their names to the framing lumber in their classrooms throughout the day. On Monday, February 13th the building begins at 8:00 am with lunch at noon and building concludes at 4:00 pm. On Tuesday, February 14th, the home will be disassembled, packaged with additional materials and tools and shipped to Immokalee, Florida, where local volunteers will fully construct the home in partnership with its new owners. Canyon Charter Elementary is located at 421 Entrada Drive, Santa Monica, California 90402 / Tel: 310-454-7510.

This first-of-its-kind build would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Canyon Charter Elementary students, teacher and faculty and most notably: Carol Henderson, Canyon Charter School Principal; Karen Parcell, parent; Veronica Whithorne, parent; and Dorothy Miyake, a retired teacher of 30 years who led the students in their fundraising efforts.

About Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles:

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles is a non-profit, ecumenical housing ministry that seeks to eliminate poverty housing by providing simple, decent and affordable homes for low-income families through volunteer labor and charitable donations. HFH GLA has built a total of 169 homes and plans to complete an additional 18 homes by June 2006. http://www.habitatla.org

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Angela Moore

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