Monday, October 2, 2023

Members in Action

AIA Connecticut is excited to share all the ways that our members are
volunteering in Connecticut communities!

Whether it’s cleaning up hiking trails, maintaining campsites, working on non-profit housing, or planting flowers in public spaces, volunteering is a valuable service to the community!

Hoffmann Architects Volunteers with Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven

As part of the Hoffmann Architects Diversity & Inclusion Committee’s initiative to create team-building opportunities that meaningfully contribute to the community, 10 staff members spent the day on Tuesday, October 18th as volunteers with Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven. Our project: help rehabilitate a 1907 house in Fair Haven Heights to create an energy-efficient, high-quality affordable home for a low-income family who would not otherwise be able to afford home ownership.

When we arrived at the site, we donned respirator masks, safety glasses, and hard hats and began clearing away mountains of old mineral wool insulation and rubble to prep for reconstruction. Our team spent several hours sweeping, hand brushing, shoveling, and hauling debris. We also ripped out and cut wiring for recycling, pulled up old carpeting and ceiling boards, cleared fiberglass batting in the cellar, and, finally, left covered in dirt but feeling accomplished.

With some employees joining the firm during the height of the pandemic and nearly everyone working remotely, this was the first chance some team members had to meet in person. The connection everyone felt while knowing their efforts would go toward bringing a deserving family closer to their own home made for an impactful experience none will soon forget.

Pictured (L-R): Chelsea Doyle (Finance Assoc.); Russ Sanders, AIA (President); Dave Obrizzo (CAD/IT Coord.); Alison Hoffmann (Communications Mgr.); Avi Kamrat (CFO); Kelsey Greenleaf, Assoc. AIA (Project Coord.); Debbie Costantini, AIA (Senior Architect); Senada Dushaj, Assoc. AIA (Project Rep.); and Cindy Lattanzio (HR Mgr.). Bob Delagrange (Senior BD Mgr.) also joined for the day but missed the group photo.

QA+M Architecture Partners with Habitat for Humanity to Restore a Historic Home for a Veteran Family

On a sweltering day in July, Farmington-based QA+M Architecture, a leader in the field of historic preservation, was honored to lend their team’s talents (and muscles) to Hartford Habitat for Humanity’s first-ever restoration of a historic house providing a future home for a veteran family in need.

In 2020, QA+M Architecture began offering pro-bono design services to Hartford Habitat for Humanity. Associate Principal, Kent McCoy, AIA served as project architect and worked with fellow team members Dinea Frasca and Joann Picone to begin the field dimensioning of the house.  Once the existing conditions were fully understood they began designing a new single-family residence within the historic structure. Scheduled for completion in the Spring of 2023, the house will contain 5 bedrooms, 2-1/2 bathrooms, a study area, living room, and an open concept kitchen-dining room.

Based on the success of this project, Habitat for Humanity Project Manager, Len Turpin said that the organization will continue to seek opportunities to reuse and restore more historic houses.

Huestis Tucker Architects Supports Massaro Community Farm

Massaro Community Farm is a 501c3 nonprofit organization which was formed in 2008 to manage an old farm property that had been given to the town of Woodbridge, CT.  The land is owned by the town and is leased to the organization, which runs a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program on 10 acres and also provides educational and community programs.  The farm is certified organic with 10 acres under cultivation and works to spread the word about organic farming practices.  MCF donates 10% of the produce to local food banks.  They also host children and adults for educational events, summer camp and after school programs.  The property encompasses 57 total acres, most of which is wooded and wetlands, with many nature trails that the farm also maintains.

Huestis Tucker Architects has been providing pro bono design services to MCF since 2013, and Bob Tucker has been a board member since 2015.  Over that time we have been involved in many projects, including a sustainable permeable parking area, a wash station addition to the old barn, an equipment shed, and various renovation projects in the barn.  Last year we designed an open-air pavilion for the Learning Garden, which is now being built by students from the local state technical high school.  The pavilion will serve as an outdoor classroom and meeting space, will provide shade and shelter for farm staff, and will also contain restrooms with composting toilets.  Completion is expected by spring of 2023.

Bruce Bockstael, FAIA Emeritus -
Town of Wethersfield Architectural Review Board

This will be Bruce's 28th year Serving on the Town of Wethersfield Architectural Review Board.  He is also an Advisory Board Member and Chairman of the Building & Ground Committee for the Wethersfield Historical Society.

River clean-up by Lindsay Suter Architects' office in North Branford, with Trout Unlimited and the Choate school

Lindsay Suter Architects has worked with many local and national organizations (like Sierra Club,  Save the Sound, and the North Branford Land Conservation Trust) for years, restoring ecologically sensitive areas and protecting them for the future. We organize local residents and high school students for hands-on work days, clean-ups , and advocacy for the ‘greening’ of Connecticut.  In 2020, we even installed a ‘fish ladder’ – migratory fish passage – at the dam by our office, a 14 year project!

Pat Munger Construction Company, Inc.
participates in Take a Vet Fishing

Recently Pat Munger Construction Company, Inc. employees Joe Pierandi, John DeSarbo, and Nick Esposito participated in a great event to support our veterans, Take a Vet Fishing. This program day put on by the Branford Yacht Club provides opportunities to thank our veterans for their service by providing them with a fun day on the water.  Thank you to Joe, John, and Nick for living out Munger’s Core Value – It’s Not Just Business – It’s People.

Pickard Chilton team members pitched in for Rock-to-Rock Service Day

They spent the morning cleaning up the playground, trails, and removing invasive vines in East Rock Park. It was a great way to celebrate Earth Month and give back to the City of New Haven.

CCPC provide free materials, labor, and services to Habitat for Humanity North Central Connecticut

AIA Allied Member Connecticut Concrete Promotion Council (CCPC) was proud to provide free materials, labor and services to build a concrete home for Habitat for Humanity North Central Connecticut (Hartford) at 132 Cleveland Avenue, Hartford. The National Ready Mixed Concrete’s (NRMCA) initiative with Habitat International which began in 2021, is “50 in 5”- to build 50 concrete homes over a five year span. The Hartford property broke ground in June of 2021 and keys to the finished home were handed over this past June, 2022.

CCPC Executive Director Dominic DiCenzo, NRMCA’s Doug O’Neill, Nudura’s Ken Lynch and Zack Davidson, provided time and labor to train volunteers and also assisted in the building of the home. TIlconCT went the extra mile and supplied additional concrete to provide a new concrete driveway and sidewalks for the homeowner.

The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s Chief Communications Officer, Gregg Lewis AIA, was on hand to give the keys to the new homeowner at the June ceremony dedicating their new concrete home. The NRMCA’s national program with Habitat for Humanity International, the American Concrete Pumping Association and the Insulating Concrete Form Manufacturers Association is helping to build energy efficient, sustainable, and affordable homes for communities across the country.

Hoffmann Architects team members donate hundreds of school supplies for the United Way

Hoffmann Architects’ Diversity & Inclusion Committee organized a school supply drive in August to collect donations for the United Way. The firm reimbursed employees for the first $20+ of supplies each person purchased and organized contributions to cover a broad range of materials, from backpacks, binders, and classroom necessities to personal care items.

Donations went to the United Way of Greater New Haven back-to-school drive to support approximately 120 children living in two temporary shelters, which were set up to house families displaced during the pandemic. Hoffmann Architects also contributed to the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut “Stuff the Bus” drive organized by AIA Connecticut to stock classrooms in low-income school districts in the greater Hartford area.

Hoffmann Architects collected more than 500 items for children and teachers, working together to check everything – from pink butterfly backpacks and mega-packs of glue sticks to shampoo bundles and a months-long supply of toothpaste – off the back-to-school shopping list.


Svigals + Partners volunteers with Babbidge and the YMCA

To help deliver amazing experiences to children this summer, the YMCA/Svigals/Babbidge team constructed and installed archery shooting platforms that allow the expansion of the archery activity to more campers of differing age groups. We also repaired a much-loved footbridge and added code compliant guard rails; painted, repaired, and expanded existing seating in the Council Ring; and painted graphic signs featuring the organization’s core values. Leaving no stone unturned, folks planted and mulched a flower garden, constructed yard games, and assembled furniture for several camp buildings.

These tasks required a variety of skills from mixing concrete to carpentry to painting. Diligent preparation and planning ensured we harnessed our member’s skillsets to deliver the highest quality workmanship possible to this great cause.

A total of 28 Svigals volunteers attended this year’s community service event, representing over 90% of our total staff. Honored to be recipients of the 2022 Adult Volunteers of the Year Award by Hamden/North Haven YMCA, we eagerly anticipate the opportunity to contribute again next year.

J Geiger and the New York Elevation Church Love Week Outreach Team

J Geiger serves year round with Helping Hand Rescue Mission in Huntington Station, Long Island, NY. This is from their LOVE Week 2021 which is always the 3rd week in July.  J Geiger will be serving them again in a much greater capacity this year.

As a witness to the love of God, the Helping Hand Rescue Mission seeks to improve the spiritual and temporal conditions of the children, families, and people of the communities they serve by providing excellent service to all who come, whether they be rich or poor, high or low social status. They are here to love, to serve, and to give.

J Geiger volunteering with Lighthouse Mission in Bellport, Long Island, NY

This photo is also from the Elevation Church LOVE Week 2021.

The Lighthouse Mission exists to feed the hungry and help the homeless by sharing God's love with people in need in practical ways. Their commitment is to feed the poor, but the goal is to empower people to overcome poverty and live purpose-filled lives.

Hoffmann Architects team members volunteered to beautify Guilford Food Bank during the United Way of Greater New Haven 2022 Week of Action

Food insecurity is a big issue in greater New Haven and has only gotten worse since COVID began. On June 23, volunteers worked to provide a welcoming space where those in need can obtain assistance.

Kelsey Greenleaf, Assoc. AIA, Project Coordinator with Hoffmann Architects, and Chelsea Doyle, Finance Associate, worked alongside other volunteers to improve the vitality of the property. Ranging in age from schoolkids to retirees, volunteers trimmed overgrown bushes, raked debris, restored garden beds, and added potted plants. Kelsey and Chelsea worked on a team that cleared space along the street-side elevation to create a garden. They removed existing debris and weeds, edged, laid weed barrier, planted perennials, and mulched.

The hope is that people who enter the revitalized food bank will be able to enjoy the attractive gardens, making the visit more enjoyable. The renewed grounds will hopefully allow those in need to feel valued and appreciated. With the property well-maintained, the Food Bank can focus on feeding the hungry.

Are you looking for opportunities to volunteer?
Become a Member in Action by participating in any of these
volunteer opportunities we have gathered for you:

Connecticut Foodshare
Fairfield, Hartford, New Haven,
New London, and Tolland

United Way
Opportunities available across Connecticut

EHI Equestrian & Therapeutic Center
Looking for help in the design/build of a new Mary Fields Museum 
This one of a kind urban riding center serves the youth, families, adults and veterans through
equine-assisted psychotherapy, therapeutic riding, and a variety of youth programs.
Contact Patricia Kelly, President/CEO

Keep checking back here for more volunteer opportunities as they come our way!

If you or your firm/organization participates in volunteer activities,
AIA Connecticut wants to showcase it on this webpage!

  • Simply send 2-3 photos and a short blurb (no more than 250 words) about the community service projects that your firm/organization has worked on or is planning on starting this year to
  • We will add it to this webpage to demonstrate the importance of community and hopefully inspire others along the way!