A few months after making his pledge of 50 hours in 2015, Greg Beuerman is about halfway done. As a former NOAHH board member and current board member of RHINO (Rebuilding Hope in New Orleans), he is experienced and involved in the fight against substandard housing in New Orleans, and ten years after Hurricane Katrina, he has pledged 50 hours to building homes with NOAHH as part of a large, worldwide campaign by his company.
Two co-workers at his firm, Beuerman Miller Fitzgerald (BMF), wanted to find a way to make a social impact using social media. They developed a program, My Pledge 2015, that would encourage employees, friends and peers to make a difference in their communities. Since the campaign began, it has generated over 330,000 impressions, resulting in over 140 pledges from 12 different countries, including Beuerman’s pledge of 50 hours on NOAHH’s work sites. Like many social media campaigns, it will continue to inspire community involvement around the world as word spreads.
“The whole My Pledge concept was good for me on a personal level. It encouraged me to do what I should be doing all along: being a volunteer in my own community,” Beuerman said. Since starting his pledge, in the spirit of the campaign, he has encouraged family members and friends from church to volunteer as well.
Beuerman first became involved with NOAHH shortly after Hurricane Katrina, when he joined NOAHH’s board and helped the affiliate secure funding from Shell for the elder friendly doubles in Musicians’ Village. Though his time limitations do not allow him to become a core volunteer, he continues to be active with the affiliate in many ways even when he’s not building houses. His presence as a regular volunteer has led him to appreciate the work of the AmeriCorps members who are an essenital part of NOAHH’s construction crew.
“The AmeriCorps and site leaders are very personable, very helpful, and very patient,” he said. “In addition to working with the homeowners, they make the work rewarding.”
He also joined the board at RHINO, one of NOAHH’s biggest partners. RHINO, formed by St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church, and for ten years, they have been coordinating volunteers from around the country to help local nonprofits, including over 7,000 volunteers who have helped NOAHH. Because of their year-round volunteering and community engagement, RHINO has been crucial to NOAHH’s success. Their work helped build 14 homes on Ferry Place, transforming empty, blighted lots into a thriving neighborhood, and 24 other homes throughout the New Orleans area have been built with volunteers from their programs.
The program has expanded to other areas of the country as well. In 2011, he joined RHINO as a volunteer in Tuscaloosa, helping groups rebuild after the devastating tornadoes there, reciprocating some of the support New Orleans has received during the years after Hurricane Katrina. He has also joined RHINO in New York after Hurricane Sandy, in Oklahoma after tornadoes severely damaged towns there, and in Nashville after the flooding in 2010. Along with their expansion around the country, they have also expanded their programs locally, branching out to new partnerships throughout the city. Still, they remain one of NOAHH’s most significant partnerships. RHINO volunteers were integral to the early stages of Musicians’ Village, to the continued growth of the affiliate, and especially to our work in the Carrollton area.
Though his 50 hours with My Pledge 2015 will soon be finished, Beuerman’s impact and the impact of My Pledge 2015 and RHINO will continue.