Project Homecoming would like to thank Christina Drake, better known as the Construction Goddess, for all of her hard work over the years with the rebuilding efforts in New Orleans. When Katrina hit Christina got a calling to come to New Orleans to assist with the recovery. She was not confident in her construction skills at the time, but she was confident in her decision. Over the years, Christina grew into one of Project Homecoming’s most talented Worksite Managers. She will not be forgotten by anyone she meets, just ask her homeowners and volunteers.
As you know, many of the homeowners Project Homecoming works with have been taken advantage of by contractors. Christina knew the power in care and patience. When Christina was assigned a new project, the first thing she would do is go spend time getting to know the homeowner. She would listen to their story and assure them she and Project Homecoming would do right by them. She was able to ease the stress and make an at times scary situation more comfortable for the homeowners she works with.
Christina’s care and patience came in handy when working with volunteers as well. Many of Project Homecoming’s volunteers come in with little to no construction training, just as she did many years ago. One of the first things she would tell them Monday morning is, “Every mistake you will make this week, I have made myself”. Not only was she honest about her experience, but she comforted the fears of those nervous about their abilities on site. Lunch time was a favorite for many of Christina’s volunteers. At every lunch break there was a “Question of the Day”. At the beginning of the week the questions would start out simple, but as the week went on they would dig deeper into the volunteer’s experience. One of the final questions was “What surprised you about yourself this week”, that always invoked a powerful response.
This past year, Christina took over as the AmeriCorps Director for Project Homecoming. The AmeriCorps Director position was no easy task. It became clear to Project Homecoming, that Christina was not only talented on the work site, but in the office as well. Many hours were spent making sure that we are in compliance, (I know that is now Christina’s favorite phrase…!). We are appreciative for her precision and dedication to keeping us on track.
If you are ever lucky enough to sit next to Christina on an airplane or visit with her for lunch, you will be able to hear some of the countless stories of her experience rebuilding in New Orleans. Due to the recent devastating floods in parts of Southern Louisiana, Christina is taking her many talents to the recovery efforts. As you can imagine, she is being highly sought after. We look forward to seeing what she will be able to accomplish for our neighbors in friends in Southern Louisiana. Christina, we wish you the best!
Love, Project Homecoming