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Annual fundraiser helps build better lives in Jamaica
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CUBA CITY—A local non-profit organization will hold its second annual fundraiser to continue supporting an improvement project in Jamaica.

In 2015, Joe Biba of rural Cuba City established Creators of Hope, an organization that builds and repairs homes in rural communities in Jamaica each winter and educates the people there about improving their living situations. Local volunteers have been traveling to the island for nearly two decades to offer help.

On Friday, Oct. 20, Creators of Hope will be raising funds for the winter 2018 building projects with Trivingo, a combination of trivia and bingo, as well as a silent auction and live auction. The event will begin at 6 p.m. at Banfield’s Swiss Haus south of Cuba City. Tickets are $25 per person and includes pizza.

“This is our largest fundraiser,” Biba said. “The proceeds will be used to purchase the supplies to build and repair homes in Jamaica during our two trips in January 2018. Hope is a tipping point. It’s easy to see how building homes helps people on an individual level.”

Biba said Father Baylon from Jamaica plans to attend the fundraising event. Baylon helps with the application process for those seeking help from Creators of Hope.

“We are very excited to have him with us for this,” Biba said.

With approximately 10-12 volunteers on each trip, the organization is able to build 12-foot by 14-foot homes for the elderly, families with children and single parents in the rural communities in central Jamaica. They also repair homes and roofs of structures to create better living conditions for the people.

“They have to have a little skin in the game,” Biba said. “They have to have the concrete poured for their base before we will build their home. It gives them some responsibility in the process.”

The amount of work that can be completed changes with each trip, based on the number of people involved and the funding available for supplies.

Biba said he coordinates the projects with locals in Jamaica, who accept the applications for upcoming projects as well as order the materials needed for those projects. Biba uses lumber, zinc, a variety of fasteners, doors and windows purchased on the island. Volunteers take their own battery-powered tools for the construction project.

Biba said having a home and ongoing support gives recipients an unprecedented opportunity to reach a sustainable, productive quality of life — allowing them to transcend the vicious poverty cycle. The number of people the organization is able to impact is limited only by funding and volunteers.

Creators of Hope currently has two mission trips a year to Jamaica and Biba anticipates growing it to run several crews each week throughout each year to build homes all over the world. Volunteers can be anyone willing to help, not just those handy with a hammer. They can assist with the construction project or educational opportunities such as job-related and self care training.

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About Creators of Hope

Creators of Hope is a nonprofit dedicated to building and renewing lives one home at a time. We imagine a world where no one ever has to choose between shelter and survival. We build, renovate and repair houses in rural Jamaica using volunteer labor and donations. We welcome all people to work with us in partnership.

Creators of Hope brings clean, dry housing to Jamaica’s most vulnerable populations—children, the elderly, and single mothers—in the most poverty-stricken rural areas around Porus, and beyond.

We collaborate closely with a whole suite of local programs to support these folks… So in addition to receiving a house, each recipient is equipped with the tools to keep and maintain it.

- Entrepreneurial and business programs

- Money management training

- Tuition assistance to keep children in school

Creators of Hope is not a handout program. Partner families are carefully screened in the application program, as willing to participate in improving their situation and be responsible for ongoing improvements. Creators’ homeowners sometimes even invest hours of their own labor, working alongside volunteers.

Families in need of affordable, stable shelter apply with Father Baylon in Porus. Creators of Hope homeowners are chosen based on three criteria:

- The family’s level of need.

- Their demonstration of a sense of personal responsibility and motivation—essentially, their willingness to meet us halfway.

- Their willingness to become partners in ongoing local education and entrepreneurship programs.

Religion is not a factor in choosing Creators of Hope’s home recipients.

There are three ways to get involved: donate, connect, volunteer.