VIDEO: WCDA Provides ‘Home Makeover’ to Casper Family
To know Alannah, or to even just see Alannah, even for a moment, is to be absolutely enchanted by her smile. It's a smile that lights up her whole face. Her eyes widen, her cheeks flush, and she makes you feel like you just made her entire day.
That smile was on full display on the day that the Wyoming Community Development Authority (WCDA) revealed a 'Home Makeover' to Alannah and her two children. The 'Home Makeover' was part of WCDA's desire to "give back" to the community of Casper, and boy did they.
In previous years, the give-backs consisted of giving their homebuyers a gift card for themselves, and one for them to give to someone else. This year, they decided to do something else entirely.
"Every year, WCDA does a Pay It Forward event," said Kassidy Sibrel, the Business Development and Marketing Manager for WCDA. "This year, we decided it might be fun to switch things up and do a Home Makeover. It was definitely a trial run, but it turned out amazing."
It happened like this:
WCDA ran a campaign that took place on social media and via Survey Monkey. Participants in the contest submitted their stories and answered a few questions about their homes and the improvements they thought they would benefit from.
"We did the contest and we had over 150 submissions," Sibrel stated. "The only requirement was that they did need to live in the Casper area, since we were using our employees to complete this project. We went through each submission very thoroughly, and we chose Alannah."
"When I realized that I had won, it was just shocking at first," Alannah stated. "It took me a little bit for it to set in but, oh my gosh, I'm so grateful."
The makeover itself was made possible through a variety of community donations, as well as through hours of work that WCDA employees volunteered.
"A lot of what we were able to get done with the house was through donations from community partners, which was amazing," Sibrel beamed. "Aside from that, WCDA gives our employees eight volunteer hours throughout the year to use however they choose. So we actually used the morning half of our staff retreat day and had all of our employees work on the house, which was super cool. I think it made even more of an impact knowing that we didn't hire out any help. It was all done from our team members here in the office."
The WCDA team, with help from the community, transformed Alannah's house in a variety of ways. They stripped the house and replaced many of the boards. They repainted the house and added shutters to the windows. They performed lawn treatment, which was donated by a local landscaper. They spruced up the curb appeal, adding a ton of plants and flowers, as well as a bench and some lawn lights. They repaired and replaced light fixtures within the house. They installed a new storm door and a new mailbox. And so much more. This was truly an all-hands-on-deck project for the employees of WCDA and various community members.
The majority of the work was done in a single day, but Sibrel said a construction crew made sure that everything was looking and working as it should, which took an extra day or so.
While the repairs were going on, WCDA put up Alannah and her family in a hotel so that they could return to a brand new (looking) home.
When the day of the big reveal took place, the family was blindfolded and brought in front of their house. While the entire WCDA staff and various community partners looked on, Alannah and her kiddos removed their blindfolds and their eyes told the story.
"Oh, wow!" her son uttered.
"I'm going to cry," her daughter said.
But it was Alannah herself who summed up the events of that day, as well as her overall experience with WCDA, perfectly.
"I am just so thankful for WCDA," she stated, holding back tears. "They made it easy. I didn't even know that we could even qualify for a home so just speaking of that I was grateful. And then just to have this - an opportunity and everything they're doing for us - it's just fantastic."
The Home Makeover would not have been possible without the countless number of people who donated their time, money, and resources to the project. Many of these people did not have to do anything. They wanted to, because they believed in the project, they believed in WCDA, and they believed that little things can make a big difference in peoples' lives.
"Community is one of our cultural values here at WCDA," Sibrel stated. "So it was really nice to be able to play on that and act on it. It was great being able to involve all of our staff members, along with all of our community members that were willing to donate and come over and help us. It means a lot to WCDA; being able to actually get out there in the community and make a difference."
WCDA strives to make a difference every day for the people of Casper and beyond, by providing low-interest single-family mortgages and education to help their customers buy and rent homes. What they do goes beyond just offering home loans, however. They provide homes to families who need them. They give chances to people who thought they had none. In short, they change lives. This day proved that. The turn out of the community proved that.
More than anything, the smile on Alannah's face proved that.
Video of the Home Makeover, produced by The Bark Firm, can be seen below.