Editor’s Note: This is part of a special series, Moms Who Wow Us, where we partnered with , , and the show to honor everyday heroes ahead of Mother’s Day. You can read about all the moms we’re celebrating here.
Growing up in rural Alabama, Lisa Jones often helped her parents with repairs around their tiny cinder-block and tin-roof house. Though her memories of days spent plastering walls and replacing handrails are special, they don’t end with a picture-perfect makeover. “My dad was the ultimate handyman, but he was 60 when I was born, already a senior,” says Lisa, “and some projects were too hard for him and my mom,” while others were just too costly. So the repairs went undone. “I know what it feels like to live in a house that’s not the best and not have the means to do anything about it.”
Today Lisa lives in Atlanta, where an increasing number of elderly homeowners are in the same predicament. As executive director of the nonprofit , she’s now fully equipped to help them solve it.
Billions of dollars in building development have caused property values in some areas, and tax bills, to skyrocket. “Folks who have lived in their homes for decades can’t save enough money to maintain them,” Lisa, 43, explains. “It’s a scary time for those who want to stay in the place they love.” HouseProud Atlanta makes that possible by providing free repairs to low-income homeowners, from plumbing to roofing to wheelchair-ramp installations. “We help them be a part of the changes in their neighborhood, not pushed out by them.”
Since 2004, HouseProud, with the help of thousands of volunteers and a trusted roster of local contractors, has served more than 1,000 clients. It’s no surprise that many of them have become extended family to the mom of three boys — her middle son, Khalil, 7, is even named after a beloved client’s favorite poet.
“Lisa’s like a daughter to me,” says Tinnie Baugh, a 63-year-old widow whose hot water had been out for months when she heard about HouseProud. “My home insurance policy had been canceled, so I had no idea how I was going to fix my pipes. Lisa sent people to take care of my plumbing, and they’ve painted my house and still help me out when I need it. She was there when no one else was.”
It’s a role that Lisa has been comfortable with from the time she was playing apprentice to her dad. “These seniors just need compassion and someone to show them that everything can be better if they have support," she says.
For info on how to donate or coordinate a group volunteer project, visit .
GET MORE INSPIRATION! In the series “Amazing Moms Today,” airing the week of May 7 on NBC’s Today, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb will highlight moms making positive changes in their communities.
Giving back is part of 's DNA, which is why they're applauding these inspiring moms by providing roundtrip flights for their appearance on NBC's Today.
This article was originally published in the May 2018 issue of Landcruisers.