Bobby Harrelson was the founding donor of the Harrelson Center. He is also the developer behind the private retirement community, Compass Pointe. This weekend, the public is invited to view the Compass Pointe community and support the Harrelson Center at Home Fest, an event from the Wilmington Cape Fear Home Builders Association (WCFHBA).
Home Fest actually begins on Thursday with the L.A. Open Golf Tournament at Compass Pointe. Registration begins at 7:30am, with a shotgun start at 9:00am. The family-friendly activities are on Saturday & Sunday, 11:00am-5:00pm. Staff and volunteers from the Harrelson Center will be selling raffle tickets for a playhouse built by First Source Builders. Tickets are available online and at the event.
Listen to Meade Van Pelt, Executive Director of the Harrelson Center, and Cameron Moore, Executive Officer of WCFHBA, above. Read the extended conversation below.
Cameron: So the Homebuilders Association is an advocacy organization. Its main mission is to advance the education and of our members and all of our builders. We have over a thousand members here in the region. We take in the Wilmington region, New Hanover, County Pender, Brunswick County and Bladen County. We've been here for 52 years and of course we hope that will be here for another fifty two years. But I mean essentially we serve as an advocacy organization for our membership. We provide a lot of educational tools a lot of membership value as far as events and other things that we do for them throughout the year. Our biggest event is the Parade of Homes. A lot of folks recognize that we put that on in the spring. We've been running that for 30 plus years. And then of course we're here today at our home fest and that's our kind of our second big event that we're coming into our second year old.
Gina: And when you talk about education, what kind of things do people who are a member of your organization- what kind of education do you provide to them?
Cameron: When we build houses, obviously safety is paramount. With safety a lot of the regulations, a lot of the code, a lot of the policies and requirements. We make sure that we're doing a lot of different things to keep them abreast of the latest changes make sure they're abreast of the latest code changes, whether it be anything from dealing with the inside of the house the outside of the house. But at the same time, also new technology. You have a lot of different products out there. Some of the ways we used to build 10 years ago are different than how we build today. And so it's always keeping abreast of the latest technology to make sure that they're building not only to the standards of the code, the building code, but at the same time using the latest innovative techniques.
Gina: Is there or is there any way that someone who is not a builder would interact with your organization?
Cameron: Sure. I mean we have the associate side, so we have builder members and we have our associate members. The way I always tell folks is you have a development, you have the development turned lots into a buildable lot. Builders come in, built on a lot and then from there when you buy a house. The home buying process- you've got mortgage, insurance, realtor involvement, real estate involvement. So there's a lot of different members, our membership is pretty broad in that sense. Title insurance, insurance, mortgage insurance all the way down from the real estate transaction. All of that coincide with our membership.
Gina: So people who own a home or build a home or deal with land, all those people could find something of value in your organization.
Cameron: Certainly. And we also serve as a consumer advocate as well in the sense of that if a consumer calls and says Hey I'm building a house, or I have a lot I would like to know we're trying to build on this price point. Generally we can kind of filter through our members and say, these are the builders that build in that price point. Or if they have a general question of the home buying or building process we can typically walk them through that process as well.
Gina: Made me tell me tell me about the Harreleson Center.
Meade: The Jo Ann Carter Harrelson center is a campus for nonprofit organizations that provide humanitarian services that create hope and opportunity and empowerment for people in our community.
Gina: Could you be more specific about some of the services, and if somebody needs help, what kind of help could they get?
Meade: Well, for someone in need a lot of the basic needs we try to meet first so very often some might be in crisis. And so we want to try to get them stable, so we have the help hub which can be a first point of entry to the Harrelson center and that is supported by volunteers in our community who want to assist with emergency assistance. So it's sort of short term assistance, but they will spend about a half hour speaking with someone who is in need or in crisis and determining what the most important thing to solve is that day. So they will speak to them and when they can get them beyond that sort of emergency situation they can refer them to other partners in the building. And we have 13 nonprofit organizations in the building who all meet some sort of basic needs like affordable housing, food, clothing, employment. We have a group that protects and advocates for those who have been sex trafficked. So we have all kinds of opportunities for people to receive whatever their core issue is.
And I think that we all work together as well, so we may find that someone starts with one nonprofit organization. They might need diapers. We have a diaper bank in the building with Catholic Charities, and they'll then refer them to someone else say, if they're looking for a higher wage or better employment or just there may be a gap in employment, they might refer them from there to Phoenix Home Town Hires. Find out if they have kids, where they're enrolled in school, and then maybe engage them as communities in schools. So there are all types of programs, even if it's addiction or recovery we have resources in the building and then we also have partnerships outthought the building so we have our full partners here on campus. And then we have our associate partners and friends of the center, who we often refer people in need to also.
Gina: What about prisoners who are having a hard time finding employment. Could they come to you and you could refer them to someone? When I say prisoners what I mean is formerly convicted.
Meade: Yes. We often see that people who've been incarcerated have a gap in employment history. And often they don't look good on paper. So it's very important to spend time with someone rebuilding their confidence, really identifying what their skills are, bringing new skills. We have a program on campus with Phoenix Hometown Hires as one of our nonprofits and then they work directly with another nonprofit in the building, Philippians 3 Ministry, who has a clothing ministry, professional clothing. So they'll spend an appointment part of their jobs week and go down on and try on clothes and they'll get outfitted for job interviews, and then once they get a job they can get two weeks worth of clothing, and once they are there the job for six months they can come back and upgrade their clothing. So there's a little incentive. And we like to have reasons for people to return to us, not because they're in the crisis situation, but we love to see people return who are have sort of taken some control back in their life and feeling good about where they are. And very often people return who want to give back and they want to give someone else the opportunity that they've been given.
Gina: Let's talk about the Home Fest. Wilmington Cape Fear Builders Association is a nonprofit and that group is actually sharing proceeds from the from the Home Fest with the Harrelson Center. How did that happen?
Cameron: So it's really simple. So this year is our second year with Home Fest, and so what I like to tell folks what Home Fest is-- you know as I mentioned when the spring, we do the Parade of Homes which is our largest event. And then this is our second year doing Home Fest. Last year, we were in a community of River Bluffs; this year and we're in the community of Compass Pointe. To kind of put the vision- if you take a little bit of Parade of Homes, you take a little bit of Azalea festival, and take a little bit of Riverfest and put them all together you get Home Fest. And so part of Home Fest is we wanted it to be different than the Parade of Homes really in its entirety. It is a single site tour, where the Parade of Homes is a scattered site tour, the consumer gets in their car. They go out and view different price points, different homes, what have you, whereas Home Fest is just in one site, a single site tour.
The way the Harrelson Center got involved this year was essentially that we settled on Compass Pointe being a fantastic venue this year to hold Home Fest. It's got all the amenities, it's got the complete package of what we're looking for, has builder row in there so it has essentially eight different types of builders. And so it really works well for us as part of that.
So we last year partnered with Lump to Laughter, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, that really made sense so we worked with the development partner to kind of come to that conclusion of what charity. This year with the Harrelson Center and Compass Point it really made sense, with the developer Bobby Harrelson, who is obviously very much a part of the reason that the Harrelson center exists.
So we have a great partnership not only with the Harrelson Center, but we've got some great partnerships with the Brunswick County Association of Realtors and also the North Brunswick Chamber of commerce. And of course the development community of Compass Pointe and the builder teams are involved as well.
Gina: And what do you hope for the public to learn about when they come to this?
Cameron: Really it's a festival, they're going to have tours available, so we have eight model homes will be open from eight different builders and essentially will we have them as being our guest. They're going to come out Saturday and Sunday. We kickoff on Thursday of this week with a golf tournament with our partner North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce. Then we work into Friday evening with a sneak peak preview of all the homes for industry partners and then we get into Saturday and Sunday and that's really where the festival atmosphere comes in. We want folks to come out. Family friendly atmosphere. We have a kid’s zone, bouncy houses, we have food, food trucks will be on site and we also have alcohol and beverages and stuff as that. But really it's to come out to view Compass Pointe.
If you've never really been behind the gates of Compass Pointe, it's really intriguing what's happening there. There's a lot of construction but it's a beautiful neighborhood and it's one of those things until you see it, I don't think you can really grasp the overall beauty of what's happening. And so it's a great opportunity to showcase the development showcase. And at the same showcase all the builders that are involved and really what they do on a daily basis, different price points, different styles of building. You'll be able to see a lot of different things. But it really provides a unique perspective.
Gina: Sure. Meade, I know that people from the Harrelson Center are going to be there actually doing some volunteer work at the festival.
Meade: So the festival is Saturday and Sunday from 11 to 5, and the Haralson center will be set up around the playhouse. It's a house that was constructed by First Source Builders, and is painted this lovely spa blue. And it's sort of a children's playhouse that in the future can be converted to a more of a storage unit. And so we're selling raffle tickets to that. The proceeds from the raffle will go to the Harrelson Center. And so we will be on site telling people about the Harrelson Center, bringing awareness to the Center and selling those tickets. Tickets are one for $10 or three for $25 and you can already buy those online at the Harrelson Center and the Wilmington Home Builders website. So we're excited to be there. It's a great opportunity to bring awareness to their center and to this great partnership and have little be a beautiful day and we'll just be out there in the pumpkin patches and bouncy houses and the food trucks and having a good time.
Gina: And is it free?
Cameron. It's all free.