Building Community by Fostering Friendships

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Building Community by Fostering Friendships


thebestfamJoel and Louan have been volunteering with Extreme Community Makeover from the first year it started, since 2008. ECM came to their neighborhood that year and helped them with their yard work, and they’ve been hooked ever since.

The happy couple lives in Villa Park and they attend church in Barnum – two of the eight Denver neighborhoods Extreme Community Makeover serves in. According to the husband and wife team, Villa Park and Barnum have seen huge transformation these past few years. They believe ECM has been a huge conduit for positive change. Joel and Louan credit Extreme Community Makeover for helping them to foster friendships with the people in their community. “When you have friendships with neighbors, you feel more secure. If you feel more secure, you are more likely to step out and be involved in your community,” says Joel.

The crime rate has gone down in their neighborhood as well, due to people feeling more connected to their neighbors. “We are all looking out for each other. We know the neighborhood kids and we all take care of them, and keep a close eye on them. We make sure our neighbor’s kids are safe and that they keep out of trouble,” explains Louan.

thecoupleOne of the couple’s most favorite events to volunteer for is Extreme Community Makeover’s annual fundraiser, Art is in the Air. Each year, they help out with the raffle tickets sales. They always have a blast and their sons have helped out from time-to-time with the event as well. “We always get something at the fundraiser. This year, we got the prints from all the different neighborhoods. My favorite experience was winning the helicopter ride. We got that the first year of the fundraiser. Louan surprised me with it for our anniversary,” Joel enthusiastically shares.

Louan and Joel are truly living community. “Since we started with ECM, community has become tangible to us. To some people community can be just a word, but it’s a way of living and a way of being for us,” reveals Louan. The couple have always had a vision to experience community and Extreme Community Makeover has helped to make their dream a reality.

Joel and Louan believe that talk is cheap. They passionately encourage others to take initiative. “If a person is community oriented, they need take a leap and pick a way to give back. Even if someone does not have the time or skills to volunteer, they can give money to help support the cause they believe in,” exclaims Louan. Giving back and making a positive difference is what it is truly all about. ECM helps others to truly experience living in community by providing a way for people to serve their communities, and by fostering friendships and relationships within that community.