Staff member helps rebuild homes in Long Beach

For Cal State Long Beach’s Mary Anne Rose, organizing home demolitions is just part of a day at the office.

Rose, director of graduate studies in the College of Education, works as president of the Board of Directors for Rebuilding Together Long Beach (RTLB). Through RTLB, community volunteers rebuild homes for low-income families, the elderly and those with disabilities, according to Teresa Griffith, vice president of RTLB.

In her position as president of the Board of Directors, Rose oversees the workday events and annual budget of the organization, alongside her responsibilities at CSULB.

“For me it comes very easily to balance my time, because I love both,” she said.

Since Rose became President in 2010, the number of homes repaired annually has more than doubled. Under Rose’s leadership, RTLB has also established the Community Stabilization Program, which allows the organization to purchase bank-owned homes to rehabilitate and then sell to low-income individuals, Griffith said.

Since 2010, RTLB has repaired and rehabilitated nearly 300 homes, according to Griffith.

Rose’s involvement in RTLB began in 2005, after she attended an event with CSULB students who had volunteered through National Make a Difference Day.

“It was just amazing to me that in one day, a group of people can go to a home, and from when we got there at 7:30 in the morning till when you left at four in the afternoon, you saw this whole transformation,” she said.

Rose said the most rewarding thing about working with RTLB is seeing the difference someone can make in a person’s life. The organization affects not only those living in dire conditions but also the community around them, she said.

According to Rose, the volunteers and their service are essential to transforming a home for someone in need. The challenge lies, however, in finding the right volunteers and matching them to the right home and the right work.

Griffith, who has worked with Rose throughout the past several years, said that Rose consistently exhibits the spirit of a volunteer.

“I have seen her push fully-loaded wheelbarrows, climb ladders to pain eaves, manage meetings … engage empathetically with homeowners, enthusiastically address large groups of volunteers at work sites, accept awards from other non-profits and even address the Long Beach City Council,” Griffith said.

Rose also received the Staff Community Service Award earlier this year at The Pointe in the Walter Pyramid.

Last year more than 125 skilled workers and 600 unskilled workers volunteered to help RTLB complete at least 30 projects across the city, according to Griffith.

“You don’t have to be the president of an organization to do service. There are little things you can do in your community,” Rose said. “Doing little things all makes a difference.”

Students can volunteer for National Make a Difference Day by signing up through Student Life and Development by Oct. 26. They can also volunteer for RTLB through the organization’s website.

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