My name is Madison Kissel, and I initially got involved with Extreme Community Makeover four years ago, when I volunteered for the annual Real Estate Work Day with my brokerage.
Right off the bat, I loved how easy and organized the day ran. We were given a project and headed straight to the site. We completely changed the way the home looked within only a few hours, and the homeowners were all so thankful to us for lending a helping hand.
Being a realtor, my entire job is driving all over the city, learning the neighborhoods, and essentially selling the physical real estate within them. But this organization allowed me to dive so much deeper into the neighborhoods and serve the people in these communities in a way I never thought possible.
Two years ago, I recruited my entire team to do a Work Day with me. We helped a resident named Sally that lives in the Barnum neighborhood. Sally has her lawn taken care of annually by the ECM volunteers, so I was excited to meet her. She is legally blind but takes so much pride in her beautiful lawn, which truly is a backyard oasis where she can escape the noisy world around her. We helped pull weeds, trim bushes, and did some exterior painting. But she graciously welcomed our company, gave us a tour of her entire home, showed us the paintings she made back in the day, talked about her beloved husband who had recently passed, and even sat down to have lunch with us.
It’s those types of days that really take you out of your own day to day routine and help slow things down, creating a new perspective you wouldn’t otherwise have had the chance to see. It makes us remember that taking a day out of your normal life can make such a monumental impact on someone else. It’s the little things that connect us, and that’s why I am so proud and honored to now sit on the Board of Directors for this awesome organization.
During this challenging and uneasy time, it’s imperative for us to have that connection. We are all experiencing the effects of this virus together, and our “social distancing” makes us feel even less attached. Reaching out – even just a phone call – can change someone’s entire day right now and it costs you nothing but a few moments of your time. We need community now more than ever.