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"Economic Stimulus Begins At Home"

The Web Page of the

Charity for Economic Empowerment of the North Country


Thank You Honor Roll

All the members of the Plattsburgh Noontime Rotary Club


Student Volunteers:

Steven Stansbury       Kristy Martin
Shelli Lunna
Stephanie Maynard MAYN1469@MAIL.PLATTSBURGH.EDU 

Community and Faculty Volunteers:

Colin Read
Stan Supinski
Ron Whitson
Kevin Killeen                         The YMCA Handyman
John Parmelee                   Bob Perkins

Pro-Bono Service Providers:

David Price - energy audits

Major Donors:

Alison Guile
Curtis Lumber (Marty) (518) 561-2691


Maria Alexander - Senior Citizens Council of Clinton County
Bruce Garcia of Joint Council for Economic Opportunity
Crystal Carter, Clinton County
Council for the Aged
Steve Frederick, Clinton Community College Dean of Development and Instiutional Advancement           Sally Garvey   Jenny Monty of the Rural Preservation Company of Clinton County

Board of Directors:

Colin Read 
John Masella
Bruce Delventhal
Paul Grasso
Jeff Wagner
Herb Carpenter


Tammy Bell
CIMA Vicki Brooks

Press Contacts:

Jeremiah S. Papineau, Editor, Clinton County Free Trader Today and the North Countryman
Bob Grady, Press Republican

"This web page is for those who volunteered to be part of our effort to make a real difference for some elderly homeowners who are unable to perform interior home repairs. We strive to help those who cannot easily help themselves while stimulating our local economy and community."

In these times, the North Country comes together to help those who are struggling. At the same time, we stimulate a flagging economy through spending here in our community. A number of community members, especially those involved with the Plattsburgh Noontime Rotary International Club , believe the best economic stimulus plan is one that mobilizes local effort and stimulates local purchases. We can help the entire community by helping others. If you would like to volunteer your time to help out with painting and minor interior home repairs for the elderly and disadvantaged in these local alternative spring break activities, please e-mail the project organizer, Colin Read, at


Projects from 2010

This year, we took on five projects. On Monday, March 15, two teams of Rotaract students and Rotarians helped with painting projects for elderly folk in Ellenberg and in Chazy. Another team helped a great-grandmother with moving and with her computer.

On Tuesday, Bob Perkins will help with some plumbing  issues in Ellenberg Depot.

We are also contemplating a major deck/railing project in Standish, near Lyon Mountain. And, on Wednesday Rotarians and student Rotaract members will clean up Centennial Park in preparation for the Rotary Gazebo ribbon cutting.

News from 2009:

Thursday, March 19 - Well, it was a very late day yesterday, but all projects were completed, except for Walter's doors in Peru. His house is very solid and well built, but his doors are an inch or two too small. We want him to have a good, solid, and well insulated door because so we will have to have one custom built. Stan and Dave volunteered to complete the installation when it is done.

Meanwhile, Kevin, John, Shelli, and Steve finished up the West Chazy home. We'd fixed her door and stoop, installed stairs for her back door, and redid the floors in her kitchen and bathroom. They looked great! Thank you!

Ron is nursing an injury so he handed the baton to me to finish Wall Street. The bathroom, hall, and kitchen floors are done, the ceiling in the bathroom is fixed and primed, the yard construction debris has been removed, and the cabinets look great! I thank all those that worked on that project. Shirley was most appreciative.

Our group takes on the homes for the elderly for a few reasons. First, they often live on pensions or social security that does not seem to keep pace with costs. Second, they have given seventy or eighty years of service to society and to others, and it has to be their time to receive from others now. And third, children, the elderly, and the disabled are not able to keep up with the maintenance that others take for granted. Of course, children (hopefully) have parents to care for them. We must all care for the elderly.

I sincerely thank yiou for all your efforts. You really made a difference in the lives of a few most deserving people. We will do this again, perhaps as early as the April High School spring break, if we can find some students willing to help out.

Wednesday, March 18 - Everything is starting to wrap up. Today Ron worked on the kitchen on Wall Street (it is looking great) and a bunch of people worked to tile the bathroom and get the kitchen ready to tile for the Chazy home.

I'm going to return to Wall Street and finish off the floor and install a new laundry tomorrow. John, Kevin, and perhaps Steven are going to West Chazy to finish off the kitchen floor there. And I'm going to order a custom door for Stan so we can finish up the Peru home when the door arrives.

Thank you all for your help! You have made a 76 year old and a 78 year old woman, and an 84 year old man very happy! Take care,

Tuesday, March 17 - One more great day! We are almost finished the Wall Street home, and started leveling the front door on the Miner Farm Road home.

Tomorrow (Wednesday), Ron and I will finish the bathroom and the floor at Wall Street. First I can meet anybody free to help out at Miner Farm Road at 9a. To get there, go north on the Northway to exit 41, turn right as you come off the exit, and go down a block or two. It is on the left - you will see the activity. We will be repainting and reflooring a bathroom and kitchen for Leona.

Meanwhile, Stan and Dave are going to replace two doors at Walter's place on Union Road (right hand side, a couple of miles down where Union turns south) in Peru. He needs a front door and a back door, and that job should go pretty smoothly. They did a great job with a front door and back stairs at the Miner Farm Road home.

Monday, March 16 - Two crews worked on Wall Street today to replace floors, a kitchen cabinets, bathroom ceiling, and laundry. Ron's crew and John's crew will continue tomorrow (Tuesday) while Stan's crew will make their way up to the next project on 767 Miner Farm Road.

Shirley was most happy and grateful, and could not hold back the tears each time she thought of the surprise on her husband's face when he comes home from the hospital

The State of New York has approved the incorporation of our charity! Insurance for volunteers is in place, and paperwork for the IRS 501c3 has been completed.

So far, more than thirty people have stepped forward, to help with projects, find elderly or disadvantaged homeowners who need our assistance, enable insurance, etc. All your support is most appreciated.

This March, we have identified three homes of the elderly who very much appreciate your help.  We have also been in touch with Sally Garvey about some possible  April high school Alternative Spring Break projects.

A very kind donor has offered to cover much of the materials costs for this upcoming week and our April effort! We are a long way toward making a lasting contribution to a number of very deserving elderly folk. Thank you!

And Curtis Lumber has offered us an account and a discount on our building materials. Thank you!

Tentative Schedule for Alternative Spring Break, Monday through Thursday, March 16 to 19, 2009

Crew One - Colin (except Wednesday), Ron, John (except Tuesday afternoon, Thursday), Stephanie, and Matthew (Monday only)

Crew Two - Stan (except Tuesday after 2p), Bob, Kevin and his helper, Steven, Corey and  Kristy (except Tuesday, Wednesday afternoon, Thursday morning), Shelli (Wednesday only)

All locations - David Price for energy audits

Monday, March 16, 9a - Both crews begin on home number 1 in South Plattsburgh. One crew can begin preparing the back door for replacement while the other crew works to remove the bathroom floor, ceiling, and cabinets. Crew two then moves to home in Chazy to do a door, and floors.

Tuesday, March 17, 9a - Crew one continues painting and repairs at home 1 in South Plattsburgh. 

Tuesday, March 17, 10a - Crew two continues at home 2 in Chazy while crew 1 completes home 1. 

Wednesday, March 18, 9a, - Crew 1 begins at home 3 in Peru and crew two continues at home 2

Thursday, March 19, 9a - Crews one and two complete home 3.

Supplies - 5 gallons primer, 2 gallons paint, approximately 200 sq. ft. 12x12 adhesive tiles, trim, joint compound, a variety of putty knives,two 36" left hing 9 pane exterior doors, two 30" left hinge doors, one 30" right hinge door, 50" bathroom cabinet, bathroom ceiling tile, 24" by 22" window, shower safety bar.

Project News for College Spring Break, 2009

Project house #1: Shirley  is a wonderful woman who lives on Wall Street (near the Bombardier plant) in South Plattsburgh. Unfortunately, her husband has been hospitalized since Christmas and she recently broke her arm and shoulder. She very much needs a new bathroom window (22" by 24") and back door (30" standard, left hinge). She also needs a new bathroom floor, ceiling, paint, bathroom cabinet (50" wide) and safety rail for the bathtub for when her husband can come home from the hospital. I'd like to see if we can spruce up her kitchen too. I also hope we can get her a new washer/dryer because she has to pay $12 each week at the laundromat ever since her washer/dryer broke almost two years ago.

Project house #2: A woman named Leona needs some weatherizing and improvements. She is 76 years old and while it is difficult for her to get around, she is still a volunteer dynamo! She needs a new bathroom and kitchen floor, and paint in the bathroom and kitchen. She also needs a 30" door, right hinge, and a bit of work leveling her front stoop to stop it from sagging.

Project house #3: Walter in Peru needs a new 9 pane front door, 36" left hinge, and a screen. He also needs a 36" left hinge door for the back where he keeps the supply of wood to heat his home. He has lived in the same house for almost forty years, and is a sweet man.

Related Stories

link to column:Economic Recovery Begins at Home


Colin's Recent Alternative Spring Break Activity in Louisiana with Students from Massachusetts - courtesy of "The Foxboro Reporter" - February 26, 2009

It's hard work, not just Big Easy, for FHS students

TAKIN’ IT EASY -- During a stop in New Orleans, New England Patriot Jarvis Green, standing in center in back, poses with the Foxboro High School students and teachers who helped rebuild homes in his hometown of Donaldsonville, La., during their february vacation. The group includes, from left: back row, Pat Mitchell, Martin Golemme, Leah MacCallum, Green, and John Peterson; middle row, Amanda Sosnowski, National Honor Society co-advisors Kelly Shaughnessy and Cailtin Annicelli; front row, Stephanie Storere, Caelan Pacelli, Anthony Bassagnani, Vincent Golemme, Seana Peterson and Blair Read. (Submitted photo)

Patriots, teens travel to Louisiana during vacation week to help hurricane victims

By Scott Barboza
Published: Thursday, February 26, 2009 2:42 PM EST
On a Tuesday afternoon -- Mardi Gras to be more precise -- a group of seniors at Foxboro High School sat around a table in an otherwise sleepy library after school. A couple of these National Honor Society students had festive purple, green and gold Mardi Gras beads draped around their necks.

After giving up a week of February vacation -- that very well could have been used for catching up on homework, college paperwork, or even sitting in front of the TV with Xbox, or simply sleeping -- the group reflected and shared stories on their recently-completed whirlwind tour to the Louisiana Gulf Coast with New England Patriots defensive lineman Jarvis Green to work and pitch in to the seemingly never-ending process of restoring the hurricane-ravaged region.

The students, festooned with the beads, the quintessential New Orleans keepsake, said that their hearts remained in the Big Easy on its most special day one week later.

"When you drive down the street, a lot of the houses look fine," Blair Read said. "But when you go inside, you realize that it's a disaster -- still."

Unusual vacation

Anthony Bassignani, Martin and Vincent Golemme, Leah MacCallum, Pat Mitchell, Caelan Pacelli, Seana Peterson, Andrea Sosnowski, Stephanie Storer and Read wanted to do something different.

And they did.

They spent their February vacation in Green's hometown of Donaldsonville, La., which was just one of countless communities devastated in Hurricane Katrina's wake.

In the planning stages, it was apparent that the trip would need some serious financial backing. The students were planning to have everyone on the trip raise $300 each to finance their own way to Louisiana.

"We had already been planning on giving up Christmas presents," Peterson quipped.

They stillhad their doubts, even as Green stepped in to assist with financing for the trip and setting the group up with deserving projects to work on in the area.

"Words can't describe it," said NHS co-advisor Caitlin Annicelli, who accompanied the students on their trip along with fellow advisor Kelly Shaughnessy.

"I can't say enough about this group and how much time they put into it, to do it, to organize it, and we put it all on their shoulders. They took it on. And they didn't stop even when we told them that this was going to be hard."

Not anywhere near the hardships the Louisiana residents had endured.

"Everybody there was grateful and generous to us," McCallum said. "They said, 'Oh, you're giving up your February vacation to help us.' We weren't really doing all that much. They were the ones who lost everything. Compared to that, what they've lost, it's nothing."

Despite the hardships the locals have endured, the Foxboro group was struck by how upbeat and friendly everybody they met seemed.

"It gives you a whole different appreciation for the term Southern Hospitality," Vincent Golemme said of his experience. "You get nothing but smiles in the Big Easy. When you think of everything these people have gone through and how cheerful they are, it's amazing."

The amazing Ms. Johnson

That was particularly true of "Ms. Johnson," a 90-year-old Donaldsonville resident whom Green selected for the NHS members to help. Throughout the week, the group completed the process of rebuilding Ms. Johnson's kitchen, using sledgehammers to bring down drywall and then rebuilding the space from the floor up.

No small project indeed, but those are the type of projects that have gone largely untouched in the recovery from the disaster that have severely affected the quality of life across the region, particularly for the elderly.

Plus, the students didn't mind putting in a little sweat equity.

"I'm keeping my hard hat in my locker," Sosnowski said.

The project also came with a little bit of friendly competition and it came down to the very end as the students were trying to wrap up painting on Ms. Johnson's kitchen with just two hours remaining before they were supposed to leave for their flight home.

"The boys were trying to race the girls in completing projects," Anicelli said. "We had some fun with that throughout the week, but it was nice because everybody came together at the end of the week when we realized we had to get this done and we were literally painting up until the point that we had to leave to catch our flight."

While some turpentine might have been in order to clean up for the journey home, the feeling of their accomplishments will reverberate with the group for years to come.

"Just when Ms. Johnson came in and saw her new kitchen and she was so overwhelmed," Read said. "I think we all had that feeling that we made that happen. That was great. I think that's something we'll take with us to college and for the rest of our lives."

There will be other memories, too.

"I don't think Jarvis [Green] is your typical pro athlete," Martin Golemme said. "He was there, working with us. One time, he pulled out his Super Bowl rings and said, 'Here you go. Try them on. Have fun with them.' That was pretty cool."

All the work was certainly worth the while.

"Definitely Blair [Read] and Seana [Peterson] were the driving forces behind this," said Mitchell, who serves as president of the NHS chapter. "Everybody would say, 'This is only a few months away, I don't know how feasible this is.' And they just said, 'We're doing this.' And we did."

Originally, they had planned field trips into the itinerary. But as the group set goals for the amount of work they wanted to get done during their time on the bayou, those plans were scrapped in order to spend more time on the tasks at hand.

"That would have been nice, but I think we're all happy with the work that we put in," Mitchell added. "That's much more rewarding."

"I just need to catch up on some sleep now," Storer added.

But there's always April vacation for that.

Legal Information

Charitable Corporation Papers Submitted for State Approval

Insurance Policy

The Things You Gotta' Do to Start a Nonprofit Organization