ALBANY, N.Y. -- As summer began to break this June, one of Horizon House’s elderly neighbors began lining her porch with paint cans, brushes, and other tools, as she prepared to make improvements to her small front porch.

While on a quick break, Program Supervisor Juan Reyes-Diaz observed her across the street, initiating the process of scrapping years’ worth of paint from her railings. Realizing that the project would likely require some assistance, and indeed might be beyond her solo capability, Mr. Reyes-Diaz approached our neighbor and offered to complete the work for her.

This offer was gratefully accepted. Mr. Reyes-Diaz, along with three gracious volunteer residents from the Horizon House community spent a very hot afternoon completing the scraping, painting, and staining of the railings and front porch. In addition, the group repaired an alleyway gate that runs adjacent to her home.  In the end, Mr. Reyes-Diaz and his crew of residents did a fantastic job, made a tangible contribution to our neighborhood, and created a delighted neighbor in the process.

In another effort to improve the neighborhood, residents and staff at Horizon House cleared an overgrown plot of land in the back of the house and planted a garden. Mr. Reyes-Diaz led an effort of five residents to plant tomatoes, peppers, cantaloupe, watermelon, radishes, a variety of herbs, and seasonal flowers in three-raised bed gardens. The residents of the Horizon House will collaborate with the staff to maintain the garden. As they ripen, the fruits and vegetables will compliment the meals offered by the program and be provided to the facility’s neighbors as a showing of gratitude.