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Local police posing with volunteers during rock the block

Doty Island Rock the Block

Posted on October 4, 2023

Doty Island Rock the Block:

Rock the Block brings together residents, municipalities and community partners to complete home repairs for low-income homeowners as well as community-based projects such as parks and nature trails, enhancing them with landscaping, mulch, gravel, and more. We held our Rock the Block event across Doty Island in Neenah/Menasha from September 21st through the 23rd.

While many homeowners may be able to cover their mortgage and household bills, the homeowners we partner with through Rock the Block often struggle to maintain their homes. This is usually due to a combination of lack of funds and an inability to physically tackle the projects. Rock the Block gives homeowners the opportunity to address health and safety repairs on their homes that they likely wouldn’t have been able to handle on their own.

Over 300 volunteers dedicated nearly 2,000 hours across 50 projects, all within the two and a half day event! We are continuously blown away by the support and dedication we receive from our donors, volunteers, sponsor-employees, homeowners, and the community as a whole. We will continue to partner with homeowners in Doty Island over the next year, and are so thankful to all who support our efforts.

Watch the video below for a recap of Doty Island Rock the Block!

Beautifying the Community

Some of the main projects took place in community spaces throughout the island including the YMCA, Doty Park, Cook Park, and the River Walk Landing in Neenah. Volunteers tasks include cleaning up branches and landscaping, painting the gym walls at the YMCA, prepping and painting the river landing railings, mulching the playground at Doty Park, cleaning up the landscaping at Cook Park, and more!

“It’s community. If you could narrow this event down to one word, it’s community. It’s neighbors helping neighbors. It’s people coming together to see others as people and just pitching in and helping out. It is creating this impact that spurs on an opportunity to create a better feeling in the neighborhood.”

– Michael Kading
Director of Neenah Parks and Recreation

Michael Kading and Brad Schmidt at Cook Park

Feeling Relieved

Yolanda Brant has owned her home on Doty Island for the past 13 years. Her home needed a variety of repairs from a leak in her basement to porches that were in such poor condition that it was unsafe for anyone to walk on. Yolanda is ecstatic and relieved that Rock the Block was able to provide a long-term solution to the water issue in her basement and that she can now sit on her porch without the fear of her (or guests) falling through.

“When I saw the Fox Cities Habitat Rock the Block program was coming to my neighborhood, and found out that I had been accepted, it was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.

It’s great to know that if you need help, people in the community will be more than willing to help you out. They take time out of their busy days and schedules just to help out a neighbor. It’s amazing.”

– Yolanda Brant, Doty Island Homeowner

Yolanda in her back yard

A Forever Home

Mary Ann has lived on Doty Island for the past 10 years and knows that her house is her forever home. Over time, Mary Ann’s home has needed some repairs. During the event volunteers were able to spruce up her front porch with a fresh coat of paint and replace her entire back porch that was becoming a safety hazard.

The repairs and enhancements carried out during Rock the Block contribute to maintaining the youthful appearance of homes and support the safety of homeowners.

“It’s because of Rock the Block, Habitat, that allows me to stay in my forever home. My house is 120 years old, and like everything that is old, it gets a lot of wear and tear and starts to break down.

I don’t know what I’m going to look like at 123, but if I look as good as my house.. I’m going to look fantastic!”

– Mary Ann Schaefer, Doty Island Homeowner

Mary Ann speaking in front of her home during repair work

We would never be able to complete such extensive projects and events without our sponsors — thank you for making Doty Island Rock the Block possible!

Bergstrom Corporation Community First Credit Union
Faith Technologies Inc. – Corporate Office
Miron Construction Co.
The Theda and Tamblin Clark Smith Foundation, Inc.
Great Northern Corporation
J. J. Keller Foundation
United Way Fox Cities
Community Foundation
Robert & Lynne Keller
We Energies Foundation
Air Wisconsin Airlines
Jeweler’s Mutual
City of Neenah
William Shepard & Shannon Kennedy
City of Menasha
Amusement Devices Inc.
The Boldt Company
Capital Credit Union
Menasha Corporation Foundation
Oshkosh Corporation Foundation
Prospera Credit Union
The Seifert Family Fund*
Milton & Trudy Staskal
U.S. Venture/Schmidt Family Foundation, Inc.
Wow We-Care Charity
Mike & Stephanie Vrabec
Bob & Jan Fahrbach Family*
Charlie & Beverly Goff
Green Bay Packers Foundation
Peter & Kate Kelly
Menasha Utilities
Nathan & Holly Van Zeeland Family Foundation
North Star Asset Management, Inc

*within the Community Foundation of the Fox Valley Region