Habitat Blog

Caring for Bayview - Guest Blog: Kristine Leja

When AirBnB approached Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco about a new and exciting pilot they were working on called Social Impact Experiences, I was intrigued. I knew it was a way for Habitat to expand our reach for our newest program: Neighborhood Revitalization. What I didn’t bargain for was just how interesting Laura Ealy, our Social Impact Experience Hosts, passion is for volunteerism, giving back and making community connections.   


Meet Laura Ealy, Habitat Greater San Francisco's Neighborhood Revitalization Senior Program Coordinator


A lover of giving back, Laura started her career in New Orleans at the St. Bernard project. She was just out of college and signed up for a year as an AmeriCorps member. She worked with hundreds of volunteers to rebuild homes for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. It was here that she realized her love for working with volunteers, the diversity of people she met and how it was up to her to make the connection between the homeowners they were helping and the volunteers. She became a story-teller, a connector, a convener of people.


Today, Laura works for Habitat Greater San Francisco and her role has her building connections in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco. She knew this was the role for her because she could take all that she learned in New Orleans and transfer that to her work in a new neighborhood. Laura is passionate about sharing this food-oriented, friendly place with everyone. She spends her days meeting local residents, learning their stories. Her work directly impacts long-time Bayview residents that have often been in their home for 30+ years so that Habitat can provide much needed critical home repairs so they can remain in their community.


 Laura meeting a Bayview family


If you want to experience the Bayview in a unique way and give back while doing it, sign up for “Caring for Bayview” in 2017. 


Here’s what to expect:

Day 1 (2 hours): Get to know the Bayview neighborhood by taking a walking tour of 3rd Street and beyond. Meet at iconic Trouble Coffee, visit some of the best parks in the city. Have lunch at Butcher Town Cafe and learn about the great culinary delights of the Bayview and end your day surrounded by greenery and art at a local community garden.


Day 2 (6 hours): Spend the day giving back by helping to complete a critical home repair in the Bayview. The Bayview district of San Francisco has the highest rates of homeownership in the city. Owning a home leads to stability and opportunity for hard-working families and Habitat’s home repair program keeps long-time residents on a fixed income in place. You will work on critical safety and accessibility repairs that may include rebuilding staircases, fences, decks, siding, roofing or painting. You will also meet the homeowner and hear about their experience calling the Bayview home. Many of our homeowners have lived in the Bayview their entire lives. Their stories are inspirational and will leave you with new found knowledge of a part of San Francisco that isn’t covered in guide books. Armed with knowledge from your walking tour the day before, share a meal with your fellow travelers and choose a lunch spot nearby.


Volunteers hard at work at a home repair project


End your day with your fellow travelers over a craft beer. Laura will take you to Laughing Monk, a local brewery that brings together brewing traditions from Belgium and California. Enjoy Bayview Gold made from chamomile grown locally in a community garden. Laughing Monk is committed to using local, seasonal ingredients in their brews and partners with six local community gardens.


What are you waiting for, sign up today!


-Kristine Leja, Chief Development Officer for Habitat Greater San Francisco