Child Support Services group volunteers with Habitat for Humanity

CSS-habitatIt only took Heather Rego a couple of attempts to slice through a dense piece of fire board before she realized that her little X-Acto knife literally wasn’t going to cut it. 

So Rego went looking for something with a little more oomph, finding it in the form of an electric hand saw. Now wielding the power tool like an extra on an episode of "Extreme Makover: Home Edition," it didn’t take long for her to be covered in a satisfying layer of dust as she worked her way through a pile of insulation

“I was the only person that was sawing, which was kind of scary,” Rego said. “I was more nervous about not cutting straight than anything else.”

Rego was part of a group of Child Support Services employees and their families who volunteered with Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver on Dec. 15, helping build affordable housing at the Sheridan Square development near Hampden Avenue and Federal Boulevard.

The group, known as CSS Cares, does volunteer work several times a year, choosing Habitat for Humanity as their event for the last quarter of 2018.

Sheridan Square is the largest development in Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver’s history, featuring 63 energy-efficient homes on 4.35 acres of land southeast of Knox Court and Kenyon Avenue on the old Fort Logan Elementary School location. It is expected to create permanent affordable housing solutions for 355 people, including 225 children.

When CSS Cares showed up at the site, they were given hard hats, safety instructions and a variety of projects.

Amanda Terkildsen installed foam flame retardant between the duplexes, and then helped put up drywall in the eaves of the homes.

Rego said Habitat for Humanity did a great job utilizing everyone who volunteered, no matter what their skill level or limitations were. And once they handed out assignments and instructions, Rego said the Habitat leadership got out of the way and let people get to work. 

“One thing I appreciated is they didn’t babysit you too much,” Rego said. “They were getting in there getting their hands dirty, too. As soon as they showed you what you’re supposed to do, they started working and doing their own thing.”

Even with all the freedom the Habitat leadership afforded the CSS Cares crew, there were no discernible injuries suffered, although Mike Auran did earn the nickname Liability Mike. 

“I’m assuming that’s an accounting term, and not a reflection on my construction skills,” said Auran, who does financing for the division. 

Rego said the crew worked from 9 a.m. until past 3 p.m., with the 11 members in the CSS Cares group putting in more than 84 hours of combined work.

“It was a full day,” Rego said. “It was fun.”

Although Rego said she would like for CSS Cares to volunteer at a different organization each time, she thinks Habitat for Humanity may be on the agenda again in the future. 

“Everybody had so much fun on Saturday, they’re already asking me, ‘Are you going organize another Habitat for Humanity event?’” Rego said. “So I will, but it may just be something extra we do, not necessarily the next planned event.”

Volunteers from CSS Cares included Mike Auran, Souzan Auran, Wis Jacquecin, Heidi Osman, Sue Goffi, Michael Moore, Tasia Giovanni, Gene Ramirez, Heather Rego, Tim Rego and Amanda Terkildsen.

Above: Members of CSS Cares, a volunteer group made up of Child Support Services employees and their families, pose in front of a home they worked on with Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver on Saturday, Dec. 15.