The years do fly by. Jim and Diana have been volunteering with Extreme Community Makeover for 8 years now, since the nonprofit started. They own Cottman Transmission and enjoy balancing their time between work, volunteering, family and travel. Stepping out of their comfort zone to serve others is an important value to the active couple and they live by it. As empty nesters, they moved out of their Highlands Ranch residence into a home that brings them closer to the communities they volunteer in. They now live in Sloans Lake located in the northwest side of Denver, which shows their true desire to live near the people they feel called to serve.
Building community relationships is at the center of the couple’s core values. “We are so wound up in ourselves that we don’t see the world around us. We are caught up in fears and busyness. Until you break out of that, you don’t realize everyone is just human. What I tell others is that volunteering allows us to truly help ourselves by getting a chance to look at our lives and re-evaluate our priorities, “ explains Jim.
Oftentimes, people can get too busy with their own schedules that they don’t even get a chance to meet and visit with their neighbors. Extreme Community Makeover gets people out of their shells and helps people to get in touch with their communities.
Jim and Diana are living out their calling. They are drawn to strengthening Denver communities by fostering relationship building through their volunteerism. “Building relationships is what we were made to do. To be truly human is to be in relationship. In the end, you realize we are all just one big family,” passionately explains Jim.
The couple will never forget one of their first experiences with volunteering for ECM. Their group helped out a Globeville resident. The homeowner was a little hesitant at first. She did not know what to think about having strangers come to her house to help with overdue home improvement projects. To her surprise, the volunteer group showed up early and ready to work. There were volunteers of every age group, from senior citizens to kids as young as six years old. The group helped with the weeds in her front yard, cleared her gutters out, and trimmed her trees. Not too long into the project, everyone was laughing and having fun. The homeowner even got a chance to meet neighbors she had never met before. The following summer, the grateful homeowner payed it forward and volunteered with ECM to help out a fellow Denver resident.
The happy couple treasures the opportunity to be living in community and they embrace their calling to serve Denver neighborhoods. “We don’t think we have enough time to do for ourselves, and in helping others, we find time for ourselves,” Jim says with a hint of irony. ECM truly is making a difference in the hearts of the volunteers and in the hearts of Denver residents.