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Volunteers renovate home for children in crisis


Special to The Miami Herald
On game day, University of Miami football fan Luis Quinones usually grills up burgers and gets ready to root for the Canes with friends and family.

But on a recent Saturday, when the Hurricanes hit the field against the Ohio State Buckeyes, Quinones decided to put those in need first.

“It is all about priorities,” said Quinones, who along with his daughter, Emmi, 6, joined more than a 100 members, family and friends of the Builders Association of South Florida who volunteered to repair and renovate a cottage and the administrative building at His House Children’s Home in Opa-locka.

Wearing a Hurricanes’ cap, he and his daughter painted the walls of the administrative building of the Christian nonprofit.

“It’s about life and these life lessons,” he said. “This is our form of tailgating.”

His House Children’s Home is dedicated to helping children and families in crisis through residential, foster and adoption services.

More than 30 gallons of paint, furniture, televisions and appliances were donated by the group. Participants also installed a new kitchen with a granite countertop, flooring and cabinets and changed lighting inside a cottage where 12 foster children and two house parents live. The 3,650-square-foot cottage includes four bathrooms, six bedrooms, a dining room and a kitchen. Walls were painted in green, red and light blue. The Builders Association of South Florida, which represents the building industry, helped collect funding for the project through events such as an auction and a golf tournament.

The volunteer effort took place on Sept. 11, a day declared by President Barack Obama as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

Fernando Martinez, president of the Builders Association of South Florida president, said the effort was inspirational.

“Anytime that we can help there is nothing more satisfying,” he said.

His House was founded more than 20 years ago by Jean Caceres-Gonzalez, who lives next door to the re-modeled cottage. The nonprofit was designated as a reception center for Haitian orphans affected by the earthquake.

The Opa-locka campus has 11 cottages and houses about 88 children, from newborn to teens. Volunteers worked on the project for the last three months. The children were moved to a nearby cottage for two weeks while the volunteers painted and installed flooring.

“It is bright and cheery,” Caceres-Gonzalez said. “Kids walk in here thinking it is a mansion. They feel special.

For Emmi Quinones, who worked alongside her dad, the day was a learning experience.

“You are lucky to have parents who love you,” she said.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/09/21/1834450/volunteers-renovate-home-for-children.html#ixzz10M3fn7n5

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