By John Peterson
When the call came in from Kim Kelley at New Entra Casa that she needed help with some maintenance issues at the Pershing Street home for female ex-offenders, once again, Grantville-Allied Gardens Kiwanis answered the call.
The most pressing problem was that a state of California inspector had cited the facility for some chipped paint in the kitchen and that the kitchen must be re-painted by March 1. Our Grantville-Allied Gardens Kiwanis Community Service committee volunteered to do the job.
GAG Kiwanis has been helping New Entra Casa for several years and we have had been involved in several major projects there.
Last year we converted a “Tuff Shed” into an office installing insulation, dry wall, paint, carpeting and helping install electrical lighting and outlets. Two years ago, we installed a new floor in the kitchen. About eight years ago, under the guidance of long-time Kiwanian Jim Mac Donald and financial assistance from Chandler Packaging, we installed a new bathroom, a new roof, rebuilt the veranda and painted the house.
As you can see, we have a long history of support for New Entra Casa.
I sent out an email asking members for help and several members volunteered. I was particularly struck by the response from Tony Haas:
“Hello, John Pete.
Yes, I am raising my hand and saying ‘I can help,’ yes, I WILL help. Kiwanis is a service organization and this looks like a service project.”
Dave Erlanson was there from start to finish, all four days, Kevin Tostado was a big help, John Chandler (even though he was recovering from surgery) did what he could. Haas was an all-star worker; Yuki Ochi was a sanding and spackling whiz; three of the ladies in the home, Melissa, Sarah and Alejandra were a great help — and I was the cheerleader.
Kiwanis volunteers worked about 90 total hours sanding, spackling, priming and finishing the walls and stripping, sanding, priming, re-installing and painting the cabinets. It was a lot of work, but all for a wonderful cause.
New Entra Casa has been rehabilitating women who have been in prison for 45 years and has a great record of success. The home was built in 1924 and like any home almost 100 years old requires a lot of maintenance and tender, loving care. While we were there we discovered a plumbing leak in the upstairs bathroom and I am sure that we will be called upon for help again — and we will answer the call again.
—John Peterson has been a member of the Grantville-Allied Gardens Kiwanis for over 50 years. To reach the GAG Kiwanis, visit alliedgardenskiwanis.org.