Approximately 50 members of the Rotary Clubs of South Pasadena and San Marino, along with friends and family, recently crossed the border into Mexico and headed to the Village of Serro Azul, approximately 10 miles south of the border town of Tecate.
The Rotarians teamed up with the non-profit organization, Corazon, Inc, to build a house in a day for a Mexican family.
Corazon provides services to residents of Tecate and Tijuana. They include job training, coaching, education scholarships, and are most famous for coordinating the construction of homes for families that have donated hundreds of hours of community service to qualify for a home. They partner with service clubs like Rotary, churches, schools, and others. The partner provides the funds for the building materials and 30 to 50 volunteers who are supervised by experienced Corazon “lead builders.”
The Rotarians met in Chula Vista at 6 am where they were briefed by the Corazon leaders. After a safety briefing, the group caravanned across the border and on to the site. There they found a 16 by 20 foot concrete slab, piles of lumber, windows, a door, roofing material, nails, and lots of paint. They also met the Rodriguez-Sanchez family, the recipients of the new home.
The house is standard construction with 2X4 framing, plywood siding, a gable roof, windows and a front door. It includes a loft and ladder and a kitchen counter and a bathroom. The houses do not include electricity or plumbing, but they can be added later.
Construction started at 8:30 a.m. and was completed in the late afternoon. A lunch break included a meal provided by the Rodriguez-Sanchez family. The day concluded with a short but meaningful ceremony where the keys to their new home were handed over to the Rodriguez-Sanchez family. Many hugs were given and the volunteers returned to Chula Vista for a celebratory dinner.
South Pasadena Rotary Vice President and Project Coordinator Dan Watson said, “South Pasadena has done several of these projects before and this year we wanted to team up with our neighbors in San Marino for a joint effort. We had several teenagers along, including members of the Interact Club. Building a house in a day and experiencing the rewards of hands-on service along witnessing the impact on less fortunate people can be a life-changing experience, not only for the receiving family, but for the volunteers as well.”