CICOA volunteers give Indy woman a safer, tidier home

POSTED: September 11, 2019

CICOA had a challenge on its hands. It’s the kind of challenge every nonprofit would love to have: too many volunteers. In 2018, Dan Amonett, certified aging in place specialist, was coordinating the work of more than 150 volunteers to improve safety at 20 homes in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood during CICOA’s ninth annual Safe at Home event. Then something extraordinary happened; more than two dozen CICOA employees asked if they could be a part of the day, too.

Dan had enough volunteers for the Safe at Home work assignments, but he wasn’t going to turn away extra help. Instead, he suggested a special project just for CICOA employees. CICOA case manager Joshua Holland had the perfect candidate in 80-year-old Augustine.

Overdue home maintenance & piles of papers

Augustine, a long-time CICOA client, likes to open her front door and keep an eye on the neighborhood. Unfortunately, her screen door was broken, which had allowed bugs and rodents to find their way inside. Weeds and overgrown bushes were out of control in the yard, and she was overwhelmed by piles of papers she wasn’t sure whether she needed to keep.

As soon as Dan heard about Augustine’s story and the unsafe conditions inside her home, he knew this was exactly the kind of project CICOA employees could tackle.

“It looked like her yard hadn’t been touched in years, and the house needed obvious repairs,” Dan said. “It just seemed like we could make a really big impact through CICOA’s Safe at Home day of service.”

Augustine was skeptical when she heard so many people would be at her house to clean and make repairs. After Dan explained she could direct the work, she agreed and was glad that she did.

A transformation for Augustine’s home

The team of CICOA employees removed about 40 industrial-sized trash bags full of lawn clippings, as well as unwanted and unusable items from inside the house. Volunteers helped Augustine get rid of clothing she no longer could wear and shredded documents she didn’t need. They installed shelves in her kitchen to store food and keep it off the floor, repaired a plumbing leak, and replaced the screen door.

“Now she can sit in her doorway more comfortably and securely,” Dan said, adding how impressed he was that so many employees gave up their Saturday to help. Doing so changed the quality of life for a woman in need.

“This wouldn’t have been possible without their help,” he said. “CICOA has an unbelievable group of caring employees who really do go above and beyond.”

Celebrating 10 years of safer homes

A special project house will be repeated during CICOA’s 10th annual Safe at Home Event on Sept. 28, during which nearly 200 volunteers will pitch in to make homes and yards safe and accessible for low-income, older adults in the Midtown neighborhoods of Indianapolis.

You can help make needed home repairs for clients like Augustine with a gift today.

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