MAD DADS fix homes for elderly owners
May 16, 2001
The Palm Beach Post
Delray Beach, FL
At 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning, groups of volunteers from MAD DADS and the community met outside two Delray Beach homes dressed and ready to get dirty.
They came carrying paint, brushes, buckets, ladders and all the supplies needed to re-paint a house.
The Maintaining the Village Project came out of a group of study circles done by MAD DADS, a Delray Beach community redevelopment organization.
"One of the areas we were concerned with and decided to focus on, was elder issues," said Cynthia Ridley of MAD DADS.
The organization began focusing on senior citizens living in the area who needed help fixing up their homes.
"We realized that these folks didn't have the financial resources or physical stamina to do the minor work on their homes that needed to be done," Ridley said. "Things such as fixing the air conditioning, railings on stairs, some roofing, painting and window repairs."
Six homes will be done by the end of the year.
"We will do two homes every other month," Ridley said. "Right now, we are in the process of choosing the other four homes."
The houses are recommended by various people throughout the community.
"Neighborhood associations recommend people to us, the police department has given us names of people they know could use the help," Ridley said. "It's a community effort. People are looking out for one another."
For these first two homes, the city donated paint for the project and Home Depot provided the group with paint brushes and primer.
After the volunteers started working on the two homes, they realized that the houses were too big to paint at once. They joined forces and began with the home of Cecelia Quince, 89, at 34 SW 10th Avenue.
"It was just easier to do one at time, we decided," Ridley said. "With everyone working together at once, it just made more sense. We got it done much quicker."
The house was primed and painted a light green.
"We're here to help our neighbors," said Beatrice Tyson, a member of the community chats. "To help those that are unfortunate live a little more comfortable and secure."
After the house was painted, everyone enjoyed a lunch and short break before heading over to 317 SW 12th Avenue, where they began work on the home of R.J. Johnson.
"One day we will all need help with things like this," said Bernard Quince, an original member of the MAD DADS street patrol. "For our youth to see us setting an example like this, maybe they will continue it, and in turn help us as we get older."
His house was also primed and painted white with a trim.
"It was wonderful to see his reaction when we finished," Ridley said. "He was so grateful and went right away to call his nephew and family. He wanted to share the news of his newly painted house."
When the painting was completed, the group headed over to the Cinco de Mayo festivities that were held at Old School Square.
"We finished around 1:30 p.m. and then met up later at the festival to kick back and celebrate the day," Ridley said. "But to really celebrate what we were able to get done, we had a big party and barbecue this past Saturday, May 12."
But even with their accomplishments, Ridley and the others still left a little unsatisfied.
"These homes need so much work - much more than just a paint job. Work that they can't do by themselves," Ridley said. "For example, Mr. Johnson's house needs windows and doors. And that still wouldn't cover it all."
Her goal is to eventually get help from contractors.
"I would like to see local workers like electricians and plumbers become a part of the project," Ridley said. "It would be great to have the same workers to rely on, who could continually check on the residents to see how everything was working. It would get their name out and help their elders as well.
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