Sunday, July 29, 2018 | 2 a.m.
When interior designer Mandy Telleria started renovating a shelter for homeless teenage mothers in 2014, it wasn’t just a matter of making her community a better place.
It was personal. Telleria, the product of a single-parent household that struggled financially, had watched her mother skip meals so Telleria and her brother could eat. Now, four years after she started on the shelter project, she wants to expand her efforts to homes like the one where she grew up.
Telleria, the founder of the nonprofit organization the Good Deed Project, is looking to start its next project, helping single-parent families in Las Vegas with housing issues. But it needs community support.
This fall, the Good Deed Project is looking to start its next project, helping single-parent families in Las Vegas with housing issues, but it needs community support.
Since its start, the nonprofit renovated Living Grace, a shelter for homeless teenage mothers, and finished Safe House, a nonprofit that serves domestic abuse survivors and their children, earlier this year.
“We’re currently in the planning and fundraising stage of our next endeavor, which will be renovations for single parents who have fallen behind on maintaining their homes because they’re focused on keeping the lights on, and keeping food on the table,” Telleria said. “Sometimes that means [not fixing] the plumbing or there’s a leak that didn’t get properly taken care of or the roof may have issues.”
Telleria grew up in Elko in a working-poor family. She described how money was so tight that the family would go for weeks without a refrigerator, having to instead use ice chests or do without cold food.
“My brother and I were raised by my mother, who most of the time worked two jobs to help keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. Even with the two jobs it still was day-to-day, not even paycheck to paycheck,” Telleria said. “But that’s why I decided to work on projects more directly with families this time around.”
While the Good Deed Project will continue helping other nonprofits, Telleria would like to assist at least five single-parent families by making necessary repairs to their homes.
“Our initial plan is to do five homes at once, however, our funding isn’t quite there,” she said.
Even if the Good Deed Project can’t renovate five homes, they hope to do at least three because asking vendors for donations like carpet, paint and hardware are easier in bulk.
Telleria started her community service work in Las Vegas with the renovation of the shelter for teenage mothers, operated by Living Grace. She went to renovate Safe House, a domestic violence shelter. That renovation took over three years because volunteers had to be thoroughly vetted and the project was dependent on donated resources and labor. Another challenge was to do the renovations while the shelter remained open, working around the women, children and families.
Donated resources and labor are also needed this time around. The public can help the Good Deed Project by donating money, a storage facility for donated items and a pickup truck to help deliver supplies and furniture to the places being renovated, Telleria said.
“We’ve been contacted by Caesars because they’re renovating the Flamingo and they would like to donate the furniture to us, which would be an amazing resource,” she said. “And I’m like, 'Oh my gosh, we really need a warehouse now.'”
As the head of a nonprofit that is made up entirely of unpaid volunteers, Telleria will alone determine which projects the organization will take on. She said she wants to help households that need significant renovations, more than just a coat of paint or a decor redo.
“We just want to ensure that they’re a productive member of society, that they have a family they’ve been trying to take care of, but they’ve just fallen behind on some of their home,” Telleria said. “I feel that everyone deserves a comfortable, safe and decent place to live — whether that’s a transitional space they’re living in, whether they’re homeless or fleeing violence or whatever the case may be.”
Email: [email protected]
To see the renovations as they unfold follow @TheGOODDEEDproject100 on Facebook.