Last December, the Episcopal School of Dallas announced the School would be sponsoring a house as part of its continued partnership with Habitat for Humanity. After nearly a year of encouragement, planning, manual labor, and teamwork, the home was dedicated to Rivelino Lopez and his four sons in a special ceremony held on Saturday, March 22.
Several members of the ESD community were in attendance, including Meredyth Cole, members of the men’s varsity basketball team, and dozens of students, alumni, parents, and faculty and staff members. The ceremony was officiated by The Reverend Amy Heller, ESD’s new senior chaplain.
“Helping build the Habitat house every Saturday was a blast,” Kate Robinson, a sophomore at ESD, said. “It’s been a great joy to work alongside Mr. Lopez as we see his dreams become a reality.”
At Saturday’s dedication ceremony, several gifts were presented to the family, including a toolkit, four basketballs for Lopez’s sons, a Bible, and a set of house keys. A loaf of bread and bottle of wine were also given to the Lopez family to symbolize the “many happy meals to be shared together in the home,” and “to celebrate the joy in [their] lives.”
Service to others is one of ESD’s Founding Tenets, and has led to several local, national, and international partnerships with charitable organizations. The School’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity started eight years ago when Middle School students built flower boxes at Wolf Run. Primer students then gathered in the Quarry and filled the hand-made boxes with colorful flowers to present to new Habitat for Humanity homeowners. That tradition continues today in conjunction with the build.
“ESD became more involved in helping the organization by providing the funding for the house through a donation from the Casey family,” Laura Gomez, ESD’s Habitat for Humanity coordinator, explained. “We were responsible for providing the volunteers to build the house from January thru March. Though you had to be at least 16 years old to help build, we appreciated everyone who came out to be part of this amazing opportunity.”
Lower, Middle, and Upper School students not old enough to assist in the building process still found ways to get involved. Scout troops collected supplies for and distributed snack packs to volunteers during the Saturday shifts; other groups set up water stations and lemonade stands to ensure everyone stayed hydrated. Divisions also collected household items and cleaning supplies for the Lopez family. The ESD Alumni Association will also spend a day during Founders’ Weekend this May helping the Lopez family move into their new home.
Construction on the Lopez house started in January with the ESD Booster Club, Dads’ Partnership, Alumni Association, Parents’ Association, Young Men’s Service League, and Upper School faculty and staff supplying volunteers for designated build days. Students and the rest of the community were also encouraged to spend their free Saturdays trussing, decking, roofing, and siding the home. The final weekends were spent painting the exterior and planting flowers in the front yard to prepare the house for the dedication.
“Working alongside members of the ESD community, while helping a family in need, was a truly heart-warming experience,” Meredyth Cole said. “It was very rewarding to interact with students and their families in a new setting and collaborate with them on this hands-on project. We are grateful to the Casey family and all of the volunteers who helped make the Lopez family’s dreams come true.”
To see photos from Saturday’s dedication, please click here.