Lorine Ventrella beamed as a horde of volunteers painted her house on Sept. 13, bringing new life to the southeast Littleton home Ventrella has lived in since 1960, when the view off the back porch …
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Lorine Ventrella beamed as a horde of volunteers painted her house on Sept. 13, bringing new life to the southeast Littleton home Ventrella has lived in since 1960, when the view off the back porch was of horse pastures stretching into the distance.
Ventrella, 89, was one of the dozens of recipients of home upgrade projects this year arranged by Brothers Redevelopment, a housing-focused nonprofit. Nearly 40 volunteers from Consolidated Investment Group and the Merage Foundations mobbed Ventrella’s home on two mornings in September, painting the house and carport and trimming overgrown cottonwoods hanging over the roof.
“It just does my heart good to see this old place looking so fresh again,” Ventrella said, surveying the crew’s work. “Not only that, but it’s just good having these folks here. They’re all so nice.”
Helping take care of elderly residents’ homes does a lot to improve their morale, said Emilio Taltique, a volunteer with Brothers Redevelopment.
“It helps them feel better about their homes,” Taltique said. “They feel more connected to neighbors. The volunteers are from the neighborhood, too, so it’s not just some folks who descend one day and you never see them again.”
Brothers provides a variety of services, Taltique said, including modifying homes with wheelchair ramps and other devices to help the elderly stay in their homes longer.
“We know people stay healthier, live longer, and are happier when they’re able to stay in their own homes, and even small things can really facilitate that,” Taltique said.
One of the barriers to projects like painting Ventrella’s home, Taltique said, is that older residents may think the group is a scam when they come knocking with an offer to paint the home for free.
“I assure you, we’re the real deal,” Taltique said.
The volunteers got something out of the deal too, said Katie Lunde, a spokesperson for Merage: the joy of giving back.
“The best part for me was when Ms. Ventrella stepped outside, and her face just lit up as she told us how beautiful it all looked,” Lunde said.
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