Laying new foundation for families

Marissa Montgomery’s house now feels more like a home thanks to the efforts of the New Paradigm Foundation and BB&T Bank in Englewood.

“They did a great job,” Montgomery said. “The place was nice before, but now it’s beautiful.”

Montgomery is engaged and has a 4-year-old girl and an 8-month-old boy.

“Without the landscaping, the yard looked bare,” she said. “I definitely love it.”

Volunteers from New Paradigm Foundation and BB&T replaced the landscaping of three homes Saturday in Gulf Cove with a grant supplied from BB&T’s Lighthouse Project.

“We’ve been wanting to do it for a while,” said Kathy Nelson, founder of the foundation. “We submitted a request three months ago. We’ve had the houses for two years, but never had funding to do landscaping.”

The foundation runs 14 transitional homes, formerly bank foreclosed, for families with children.

“We applied for grants for landscaping for other homes,” Nelson said. “We’re grateful for everyone’s help.”

Volunteers from Symbiont Service Corp. picked up the landscaping supplies from Home Depot and brought them to the sites. There were 13 volunteers who came, according to Nelson.

Volunteers worked on the site from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.

“Taking out the sod to replace anew was probably the most difficult thing to do (when we were there),” said Caroline McCarron, vice president of the financial center at Englewood’s BB&T.

BB&T took submissions between Feb. 18 to March 22 to begin projects in May.

“We started the lighthouse project in 2009 and since then, across the country, more than 4,400 projects completed with 200,000 volunteers and more than 6.7 million people’s lives changed,” McCarron said. “It provides BB&T associates a chance to make a difference in the community. BB&T also pays their employees when they volunteer.”

McCarron said Charlotte County branch of BB&T received eight submissions and they’re working on three projects.

For more information on BB&T Lighthouse Project, go to http://www.bbt.  com/bbtdotcom/about/lighthouse/default.page

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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