An Interview with Restoring Hope Chair, Diane Salks

The 2015 Build winners, the Landis family, breaks the good news to this year's recipient, Christian Yarosz and his family.

The 2015 Build winners, the Landis family, breaks the good news to this year’s recipient, Christian Yarosz and his family.

We sat down with Riverview President and HBA Restoring Hope Foundation Chair, Diane Salks, to talk about the foundation and the 2016 build.

Tell me about the HBA Restoring Hope Foundation, how did it start?

Diane: The Foundation was started after the television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition remodeled a Berks County home. Many of the contractors who helped with the show really enjoyed giving back to their community and decided that they would like to continue to work on home makeovers on a smaller scale. Thus the HBA Restoring Hope Foundation was formed. It is a nonprofit with 501c3 status, its own board and a staff of volunteers. The Home Builder’s Association allows the foundation to use their offices for meetings, they donate staff support and in those ways we are partnered. In fact, the current HBA President, Jim Gavin, has been really wonderful and has connected us to many groups who have helped us to raise funds for the foundation. But they are two separate organizations.

What does Restoring Hope do? What is the process like?

Diane: First the foundation accepts applications from the community. These are usually working class families that have a special need or a special circumstance. Then the board interviews the applicants and chooses finalists. They go to visit the finalists’ homes and then they choose a winner. This year’s winner is Christian Yarosz, who is a single father with eight children.

What does the foundation do for the winners?

Diane: The winners get a one week home makeover. The work that is performed varies depending on the individual’s needs. However, the foundation always strives to go above and beyond what the applicant requested. We pick the family up in a limousine and we put them up in a hotel for the week. Then we bring them back to the house when it is finished for the reveal.

Who does all of the work for the build?

Diane: We use a lot of local businesses who donate their time and materials. Some businesses have been donating for over four consecutive years. We don’t use grants. We have 80-100 businesses who donate staff, product or both. You can visit the Restoring Hope website to see a list of local contributors.

How are you and Riverview involved in the Restoring Hope Foundation?

Diane: Riverview has been the lead landscaper for the foundation since it’s first build in 2011. Riverview isn’t the only landscaper that helps, there are many, but they do lead the landscaping effort. Riverview donates plants and labor toward removing current landscaping, where necessary, and replacing it with a new design. Sometimes we install patios, walls and other hardscaping. Additionally, this is my third year chairing the restoring hope foundation.

What does that entail? What’s it like the chair the restoring hope foundation?

Diane: I was asked to chair the foundation and originally I turned it down because I am not a builder. However the next time I was asked, I decided to do it because I realized that my expertise as a business owner could be really helpful. Now, we’ve restructured the foundation into four committees: the build committee, the design committee, the marketing committee and the fund raising committee. We’ve changed the logo and we’ve involved other organizations to help us fund raise.

Any closing remarks?

Diane: Yes, this year’s reveal is on Saturday, September 17th 2016. From 11:30AM to 12:30 PM the community is invited to tour the house and see what we’ve done. At 1PM the family arrives for the reveal. The house is at 404 Gregg St, Shillington. Or you can visit the website, www.hbarestoringhope.org, or our Facebook Page. If you’d like to volunteer for next year’s build you can email Diane at Info@HBARestoringHope.org. Additionally, we are taking applications for the 2017 build. To apply click here. To donate to the HBA Restoring Hope Foundation click here.