With much help from the School of the Holy Child, The Fuller Center for Housing of Greater New York City is renovating affordable housing in Yonkers for low- to moderate-income families.
“The Theology of the Hammer is in full swing. On Monday (June 21), I will have Holy Child of Rye, which brings their engineering class out with us many times, and they have a Builders Club! They have been committed to helping,” an enthusiastic Jim Killoran, executive director of the Greater NYC Fuller chapter, told Catholic New York a few days earlier.
“Their stepping up to the plate during this pandemic has been a godsend. We believe that this will be the most important time; we believe this is a great witness to faith in action. There is a housing crisis,” Killoran said.
Holy Child students and their engineering director volunteer one day each month to help The Fuller Center with various projects.
Killoran said the students’ work, joined with others, helps “New Yorkers afford to live here…families, seniors and vets; and for future generations.”
After the Holy Child students’ day of service, Killoran said, “They (15 students who will be seniors in September) helped cut wood, which goes into our planter and bench program. They made a community garden, and they helped to work on sheetrock, to help renovate a unit and the neighborhood...We’re teaching them skills for life.”
The neighborhood was Moquette Row Housing South in southwest Yonkers. “These are row houses, built in the 1880s,” said Killoran, 63, a parishioner of Holy Family in New Rochelle.
“These are units for ownership, interest-free, no down payment. The City of Yonkers partners with us. We’ve also done new construction.”
Outside of Westchester, The Fuller Center has also worked on projects in Rockland County, the Bronx and Queens.
School of the Holy Child is a Catholic independent school in Rye for girls in grades 5-12. The nonprofit, ecumenical Christian Fuller Center chapter is in New Rochelle.
Kristine Budill, engineering director and Builders Club coordinator at School of the Holy Child, told CNY, “They are able to connect their studies in engineering and architecture to the real world, and also give back to the community. Our program is actually titled Engineering, Architecture and Design for the Common Good.”
Brianna Mahon was among the Holy Child students who participated in the June 21 Fuller renovation project as part of the school’s summer engineering program. She’s been involved with Fuller Center service projects since her freshman year. “We installed sheetrock on the ceiling of the basement,” said Brianna in explaining one of her tasks. “It makes you feel like you’re helping out in the greater community and having a bigger impact on the world.”
Another student, Ava Costiglio, noted, “This was my first time. I think it’s really amazing, because you get to see your work in action. Being there, physically building and watching people work together. I’d love to go back. I enjoyed it so much.”
Groups from other area schools, parishes and colleges continue to assist The Fuller Center with renovating and building homes for low- and moderate-income families. They include Iona College, Fordham Prep, and Holy Family parish in New Rochelle, St. Augustine’s and SS. John and Paul, both in Larchmont, and Resurrection in Rye.
The Fuller Center was established in Americus, Ga., in 2005 by Millard and Linda Fuller. Millard, a native of Alabama, died in 2009 at age 74; previously, he served as president of Habitat for Humanity, which he founded with Linda in 1976.
The Greater New York City chapter of The Fuller Center for Housing is one of 76 Fuller Center partners in the United States.
“The Fuller Center for Housing of Greater New York City, faith-driven and Christ-centered, promotes collaborative and innovative partnerships with individuals and organizations in an unrelenting quest to provide adequate shelter for all people in need throughout the New York metropolitan area,” says the chapter in its mission statement.