844-1876
219.844.1876
A nonprofit, community development corporation dedicated to improving Calumet Region neighborhoods.

programs > operation restoration

First Baptist Church student volunteers paint the home
of an elderly resident in New Addition, East  Chicago.

Operation Restoration (OR) is Neighborhoods Inc.’s umbrella designation for its volunteer labor program in which elderly, handicapped or other needful persons are assisted with small repairs, exterior painting and clean-out projects. Neighborhoods where work projects are coordinated also benefit as the volunteers often times walk through parks, alleys and other empty lots picking up trash and other debris.

Background
In 2003, Neighborhoods Inc. (NI) organized the first Operation Restoration program using volunteers to do neighborhood clean-ups and paint homes of elderly and/or disabled homeowners. Since that time OR has evolved in its approach has improved over 130 Calumet Region homes, cleaned up dozens upon dozens of empty lots and parks and miles of alleys.

Volunteers for OR have hailed from all over the country, although more recently the majority are from the region themselves. NI has worked with hundreds of youth volunteers and supervisors from the national organizations Impact Zone, World Changers and Group WorkCamp in 2003-2006. On the local front, other large groups have stepped up from First Baptist Church (FBC) of Hammond schools located in Hammond and Schererville in 2006, 2007 and 2009. Skilled volunteers from BP’s Whiting facility and members of the St. Joseph the Carpenter Workers from St. John the Evangelist Church in St. John, IN were the driving forces in 2008 and adult volunteers also from FBC assisted in 2010 and 2011.

The targeted audience, seniors, handicapped, veterans and other needful homeowners often lack the resources to keep up the appearance of their homes and accumulate items that are no longer needed but cannot physically remove on their own.

Donors
Projects of this scale can not be coordinated by NI without the financial support of the community. NI would like to recognize the following businesses, organizations and individuals who see the value in the continued improvement of the Calumet Region:

American Legion Allied Post 369
American Savings FSB
American Trust Investment Services
Ameristar Casino
Baxter Printing
Boilermakers Local 374
Boss’ Lounge
BP
Calumet Breweries
Calumet City Chamber of Commerce
Calvin & Catherine Bellamy
Centier Bank
Citizens Savings Foundation
City of Calumet City
Councilman Anthony Higgs – City of Hammond
Daniel Mizerski
Downtown Hammond Council
First Financial Bank
First Midwest Bank
Foundations of East Chicago
Hammond Chiropractic Life Center
Horizon Bank
Jane & Vincent Elias
Kevin Speaks
Kimberly Pieszchala
Kvaerner North American Construction Inc.
Laborers’ Local 41
Lake County Commissioner Frances Dupey
Liberty Savings Bank
Mantis Dentistry
Margaret Evans
Maria Mizerski
MB Financial Bank
Meier’s Landscaping and Lawn Service
Meyer’s Heating and Cooling
Millwright and Machinery Erectors Local 1043
Morton Roofing and Engineering
PNC Bank
Northlake Auto Recyclers
Oil Express ~ Calumet City
Peoples Bank
Pepsi Americas
Professional Land Surveying
Quality Insurance Providers
Salvador Polito
Shirley and William Kowalisyn
Sisters of St. Francis
State Farm – Edwin de Jesus
The Dance Connection
The Home Depot Foundation
Transportation Support Group
Tri-State Industries
Twin City Uniform Outlet
Vidimos, Inc.

Calumet Region project locations:
Hammond
East Chicago
Calumet City

 

2004
In early 2004 NI was contacted by Pastor Bill Whitford of the First Baptist Church of Calumet City with the opportunity to work with hundreds of youth volunteers through Georgia-based Impact Zone and World Changers organizations. On the week of May 24th hundreds of volunteers descended on Hammond to improve the homes of 8 elderly and/or disabled homeowners. NI partnered with Hammond’s Department of Planning and Development to identify clients, provide materials and other assistance to complete this project which utilized nearly 90 volunteers, contributing over 1,100 hours of labor.

2005
In 2005, NI implemented a three-phase project for Operation Restoration. The first phase of the project, May 23-27, saw about 40 volunteers from Impact Zone tackle two large homes in the Harrison Park area. Volunteers performed painting, roofing and other tasks with instructions and planning from NI and supervision from their organization. The homes on the 100 blocks of Detroit and Carroll streets were drastically improved.

The second phase, July 4-8, saw nearly 400 World Changer senior high school students and their chaperones from 14 states travel to the Region. Some 15 homes in the Harrison Park and South Hammond neighborhoods were improved with coats of paint and other construction-related projects.

The third phase welcomed volunteers from Group Workcamp, locally organized by Woodmar United Methodist Church, from July 25-29. Some 44 Hammond homes were improved as NI partnered with the City of Hammond and contributed $4,000, the use of many ladders and other in-kind donations.

2006
Like NI’s 2004 OR program, the project had three phases with the third one focusing on Hammond. 70 youth volunteers from First Baptist Church of Hammond’s City Baptist School painted the exterior of 4 seniors’ and disabled-owned homes. Each household received free paint through the Hammond Department of Planning and Development’s “Project Pride Paint Program”.

 

CALUMET CITY

2004
In early 2004 NI was contacted by Pastor Bill Whitford of the First Baptist Church of Calumet City with the opportunity to work with hundreds of youth volunteers through Georgia-based Impact Zone and World Changers organizations. On the week of May 24th volunteers came to Calumet City to improve the homes of 3 elderly and/or disabled homeowners. NI partnered with the City of Calumet City to identify clients, provide materials and other assistance to complete this project which utilized nearly 90 volunteers who contributed over 1,110 hours of time.

2005
From July 4 – 8, nearly 400 senior high school students and their chaperones from 14 different states descended on the Calumet Region through World Changers, sponsored by the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in Alpharetta, Georgia. Some students were deployed into Calumet City to improve the curb appeal, functionality and safety of three homes. Projects included exterior painting and roof installations. First Baptist Church of Calumet City was instrumental in providing food and lodging for these hardworking volunteers.

2006
Operation Restoration marked its third year with a successful three-phase improvement project that began in the weekend of May 5-6 in Calumet City. A new partnership between NI and First Baptist Church of Hammond brought over 400 students volunteers and supervisors from City Baptist School and Hammond Baptist School in Schererville to Memorial Park. They and Calumet City residents conducted a massive clean-up and landscaping effort that covered two-square miles. Hundreds of bags of garbage were collected from empty lots, alleys, street and parks. Volunteers also raked, edged and beautified overgrown areas. Mayor Michelle Qualkinbush, Alderman Gerry Tarka, Treasurer Mike Zimmerman, Calumet City municipal employees and NI board directors were there to volunteer.

2007
On April 24th NI brought dozens of volunteers from FBC’S Hammond Baptist School in Schererville to the 5th ward for a massive spring clean-up. Trash and debris were collected from 10 miles of alleys and 19 empty lots. Nearly 36 tons of garbage was collected in all.

 

East Chicago

2005
From July 4 – 8, nearly 400 senior high school students and their chaperones from 14 different states descended on the Calumet Region through the World Changers organization, sponsored by the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in Alpharetta, Georgia.

This was the third phase of NI’s Operation Restoration program and the first time volunteers marched into the Twin City to lend a hand. Student volunteers went to the North Harbor and Marktown neighborhoods to improve the curb appeal, functionality and safety of 16 homes. NI worked closely with East Chicago’s Redevelopment Commission to coordinate these projects. The approximate value of these improvements was $42,600.

2006
The second phase of NI’s Operation Restoration 2005 effort took place in the Harbor and consisted of mainly roofing and painting projects. This effort was primarily coordinated by East Chicago’s Redevelopment Commission and World Changers staff. NI contributed to pay for 350 volunteers’ lunches for their weeklong stay in the Twin City.

2007
On October 18 & 19 nearly 100 student volunteers and their supervisors were welcomed into the New Addition neighborhood to paint the homes of 5 elderly and/or disabled homeowners. The homes, all within walking distance of the Bessie Owens Community Center, which sits in the center of this neighborhood, gave a noticeable facelift to the entire four square-block area. Owens Center staff welcomed volunteers to use the facility to rest, eat and wash up during their two days of labor.

2008
On August 22, NI’s Operation Restoration coincided with United Way’s Day of Caring event in which hundreds of volunteers donated their time and talents all over Lake, Porter and LaPorte Counties to strengthen their communities. NI coordinated this project with volunteer staff from BP Whiting. Six homes on the 3900 blocks of Alexander, Kennedy and Melville Avenues and 4000 block of McCook Avenue were a part of the Day of Caring event with BP volunteers. Projects ranged from replacing siding and repairing handicapped ramps to securing railings and hanging gutters.

2009
On October 22 NI brought over 70 student volunteers and their supervisors from FBC to the New Addition and North Harbor area of East Chicago. This year Operation Restoration consisted of cleaning out tons of items from homes and yards of seven elderly and/or disabled households and also cleaning up litter in the empty lots and park around New Addition. With help from Councilman Lenny Franciski of the East Chicago Sanitation Department, volunteers placed the items to be disposed on parkways so sanitation workers could remove the waste efficiently and safely. Several neighbors commented on the positive dispositions of the young men, whose behavior was upbeat and cheerful.

2010
The focus this year was on helping homeowners in New Addition and the Harbor to clean out unwanted debris from their homes or garages and to help them with minor landscaping tasks. NI was able to help five homeowners through our partnership with volunteers provided by First Baptist Church of Hammond coordinated by George Ranft.

2011
NI sent volunteers to assist elderly and handicapped residents to clean out large volumes of heavy and unwieldy unwanted items and debris from homes and garages. Several Washington Park and Sunnyside residents participated in this effort and FBC supplied adult volunteers to handle these tasks in sometimes inclement weather.

NI came to the rescue of several dozen East Chicagoans last December when a water main break left the city without running water. Staff called hundreds of residents to tell them they could fill up 10 gallons of fresh water at our office on Kennedy Avenue. Close to 50 East Chicagoans took over 250 gallons of water back to their homes. The East Chicago Water Department board thanked NI for its efforts.