Counting Down to RTO Project 2016

Attention All PCSC Members,

As you likely know, this spring the Piedmont Community Service Crew will spend two Saturdays working with Rebuilding Together Oakland (RTO) to help a needy member of our greater Oakland community by improving their living circumstances. Every year, a few members of the crew take time to choose a candidate whose needs we can dependably meet and with a house that provides ample opportunity for crew members to participate and take leadership roles.


This year’s youth project leaders, Maya Guzdar, Eliza Lucas, and Will Reicher, along with Crew Advisor Ken Li, and House Captains Christian Steutz, Steve Schiller and Tom Ramsey, have selected the home of two wonderful women living in East Oakland. Agatha Cosby and her daughter Lina August have lived in this home for over twenty years. Agatha grew up in Texas, and moved to Oakland to give her children a better life. She worked tirelessly to raise all four of her children as a single mother. Now, only Linda and Agatha remain in Linda’s childhood home. Linda has acted as Agatha’s full time nurse ever since Agatha had a stroke and was unable to care for herself. But their house is preventing Agatha from feeling her best. Agatha has limited access to the outside, and the house feels cramped and crowded. Linda needs to update her home in order to care for her ailing mother. She needs our help to make many repairs to give her and Agatha a better life.

We are presently defining the project scope to match the signups.  We will likely be: clearing out junk; cleaning the home from top to bottom; sealing cracks in the interior walls; repainting the interior and exterior; renovating elements of the kitchen, bedrooms, and front room. The scope of work may expand depending on the crew signups by the deadline.


A project with wide variety such as this allows for many leadership opportunities by crew members. Task leaders, who oversee the individual parts of the project such as painting a specific room or completing a certain kitchen repair, are needed, and would spend a few extra hours on the weekend before the actual event being trained in their task or leadership area. These roles are great for those who are looking for a way to ease into crew leadership positions.  If they are unsure, but motivated, the crew is set up to mentor them. However, we need to know who we have interested in these roles by March 27.  It is important for us to know so that we can plan the work efficiently.

As a task leader you would be required to attend a training day on April 17. This is a mandatory event at the site of the project where you will learn the basics in your task field and basic safety procedure. Availability on this date is a necessity if you wish to be a task leader.  Exact times will be announced later, but we will try to be accommodating to interested task leaders.


If your child (and you) just want to show up and work, we still want to know as soon as possible. Based on the popularity of our past RTO projects, we’re expecting around 70 volunteers at each work day.  But to successfully plan for this, we hope to have crew members and parents sign up for the work days now. While we far prefer full-day volunteers, if the only way you can participate is through a half-day commitment, we can work with you to make that happen. We would encourage half-day volunteers to either come early and help with set up or stay late and help with cleanup, if possible. Regardless of how much time you plan on volunteering, we want to know that you are committed to coming on Saturday, April 23 and April 30.

Sign up via our Google form:

A link to this form is also available on the PCSC Facebook group page and at the crew website

HURRY:  Sign up by April 1!  We are space-limited this year, so we may not be able to accommodate late sign ups.  If you are really motivated to help on this project, we want you! However, if you have special concerns or circumstances regarding timely sign up, explain your situation via email to

PCSC has been volunteering with Rebuilding Together Oakland, doing 2 projects each year since 2006.  The RTO projects are the crew’s most popular annual events.  Our crew is proud to have become annual sponsors since 2009.

Help us to reach our $12,000 sponsorship for next year with a tax deductible donation. We want to get a head start on next year’s donations and possibly enable our crew to do a second house in October.

We can make this a great event, but we need the members of the crew to make it happen. We look forward to hearing from you with any questions you may have, or if you have scheduling conflicts, by replying to this email. We are willing to work with you to figure out a way to get you involved in the project if you have conflict. Again, please sign up by Sunday, March 27 if you are interested in being a task leader and the general volunteer deadline is  Friday, April 1.  See you on the work days!!


Eliza Lucas, Youth House Captain
Maya Guzdar, Volunteer Coordinator
Will Reicher, Publicity Administrator
Emma Seevak, Crew President
Sarah Steutz, RTO project mentor
Chris Steutz, Adult House Captain
Ken Li, Crew Advisor

About the author: Skyler Liu

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