Volunteer Spotlight - Brianna Chakalis
Meet Brianna Chakalis, one of RTP’s enthusiastic and (extremely) Skilled Leaders. Three years ago, Brianna started working at Bellweather Construction, a home improvement contracting company. After being invited to a Block Build by Bellweather’s founder and General Manager, Will Geisey, she had a chance to experience what RTP had to offer.
Brianna describes her first impression of an RTP Block Build as “hectic and chaotic but there was control and organization in the chaos.” Two years later, Brianna has participated in five Block Builds and RTP’s MLK Day of Service Project. Despite the many Builds she has under her belt, Brianna continues to be impressed by how much can be accomplished in just two days.
As a Skilled Leader, Brianna leads other volunteers during project days. For example, some of the SheBuilds volunteers that she works with may not have experience using tools or doing other repairs. But by lunch time “they’re laying flooring and taking over small tasks throughout the day.” Brianna also enjoys handing in a completed worklist at the end of the second day of the Block Build.
As a [Re]Builder, not only does Brianna get to utilize skills that she accumulated in her ten years of working in the construction industry and give back to the community but she also has the opportunity to meet the families impacted by her work. She recounts one of her favorite memories: “During the 2019 Parkside Block Build, I worked in the home of a woman who was in her 80s. She lived in her home for over 50 years and raised eight children there. She couldn’t pay for home repairs out of pocket. The house next door was abandoned because the family who lived there couldn’t afford repairs. At the end of the Block Build when the work was finished, she was so happy that she and her family would be able to stay in the house.” Brianna adds that “the work that RTP does is important and it makes a difference in the community.”
Readers may be surprised to learn that Brianna used to work on a goat dairy farm! “I managed herds, milked goats and learned how to grow my own food. I loved it!”
When she isn’t volunteering or using power tools, you can catch Brianna kayaking, snowboarding, cheering on the Eagles or indulging in her favorite cheeses!
Thank you for everything you do, Brianna!