Two military families with children to receive special playhouses

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Encore Capital Group, Inc. and the San Diego Habitat for Humanity (SDHH) partnered with the City of El Cajon to build themed playhouses and construct fences in a vacant lot on El Cajon’s Ballantyne Street. Dozens of volunteers traded in their Saturday morning, April 28, to volunteer on what is the sixth annual Global Volunteer Day for Encore. It was also National Rebuilding Day.

Encore Capital Group, Inc. and the San Diego Habitat for Humanity (SDHH) partnered with the City of El Cajon to build themed playhouses and construct fences in a vacant lot on El Cajon’s Ballantyne Street. Dozens of volunteers traded in their Saturday morning, April 28, to volunteer on what is the sixth annual Global Volunteer Day for Encore. It was also National Rebuilding Day.

“We have partnered with Habitat for Humanity because of what they mean to the community,” said Sheryl Wright, senior vice-president of external affairs for Encore. “It really embodies our values. We have done this for six years.”

Encore’s CEO and president Ashish Masih was on hand and helping build one of those playhouses.

Bridget Strickland, SDHH’s corporate development manager, said that the event embodied values important to the organization.

“Every person deserves a safe, stable home,” she said.

The morning started off with speeches and a certificate for Encore from California State Senator Joel Anderson’s representative Mathew Watkins. One of the certificates also honored volunteer Tracey Williams for outstanding community service for her more than 300 hours of volunteer work.

“San Diego Habitat for Humanity has wonderful relations with local companies,” said Strickland. “Encore is one of our valuable partners. Not only do they volunteer their staff time but make an annual financial commitment to help us.”

Lori Holt Pfeiler, CEO and president of SDHH, said they have received help and direction from many places.

“This land became available for purchase and we checked with the city to see if they wanted to support us,” she said. “The city walked us through the process.”

The land was a vacant lot where two houses were demolished. The playhouses were being built and the dog-eared wood fencing was being constructed.  Two military families and another low-income family will receive the playhouses.

“Each of the volunteers know the family and the kids’ names and what their theme is – garden, pirate, and beach house, of the one they are building,” said Strickland. “The first week of June we will have two homes built on this site.”

The Olayo and Garcia families will move into the approximately 1,300 sq. ft., 3-bedroom homes.

Matt Hallett, construction superintendent for SDHH, went over the projects with the volunteers, safety standards to adhere to and broke down the groups for each project. 

The project kicked off at 8 a.m. and ended with the families picking up completed playhouses around noon. Lunch was served for the volunteers and staff at midday.

“We are very purposeful about our playhouses,” said Strickland. “We introduce the concept of home ownership to the children with the playhouses.”

Encore Capital Group, Inc. is headquartered in San Diego. Five-hundred employees volunteered on April 28 in 16 cities around the world along with the company providing $50,000 in donations to Habitat and other charitable organizations.

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