We’re so lucky at NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley to have a staff of hardworking, committed team-players who work tirelessly at our mission of building affordable housing and enriching community life.
In this series, you’ll get to know the people behind the work.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Stanley Eason! I grew up in the Fairmount neighborhood that NeighborWorks has been so invested in rehabilitating. NWBRV has provided such great housing for Woonsocket residents over the years. At one point I was an out of work union iron worker. I had suffered from a fall and was injured and I stumbled across NeighborWorks. An opportunity arose in 1994 for me to get in with the company as an AmeriCorps member, which was an open door I took a chance on! My nickname, The Bulldog, comes from my days playing kickball in school. It still holds true today!
What do you do at NWBRV?
My current title is Construction Supervisor and Asset Manager. I have also assisted the Real Estate division of the company. Now that we have close to 400 units and own over 100 buildings, I work more with the asset side of NeighborWorks. But if new construction projects come up within the organization, I help out there as well!
How long have you been working with NWBRV, and how did you start working with the organization?
I’ve been with the company for…let’s just say a few years! I started as a LISC AmeriCorps member in 1994, so I’ve been with the company for about 27 years. It was wonderful to find a nonprofit housing development corporation that was looking to tackle these monstrous, abandoned, triple-decker homes and rehab these neighborhoods. I guess you can say I found my niche here. I went from being involved in the more commercial side of construction, like building bridges and buildings, to helping rehabilitate Woonnsocket’s homes and neighborhoods. I’ve been able to help give people a sense of purpose, and clean lead-free homes. Woonsocket residents now have easier access to better buildings, nicer play areas and other various things like that. It was a pleasure finding NeighborWorks and the company has just kept growing!
What inspires you to do this work?
It’s been a great opportunity to rebuild the neighborhood I grew up in. In the 1980s and early 1990s, the neighborhood was riddled with boarded up and abandoned houses. I’m a father of three and my children were attending the same neighborhood schools and growing up where I did. And I wanted them to have the same great experience of growing up in a wonderful area like I did. I wanted them to be able to enjoy nice parks and attend good schools. Being here as a NeighborWorks employee gives me joy. And we get joy out of what we’ve been able to do for the people in the neighborhood. You’re not doing it for yourself. You’re here to serve.
What is your proudest accomplishment working with NWBRV?
There are so many! One project I’m very proud of was my childhood elementary school, The Hope Street School, which became abandoned. We had been looking at the building, since about 1998, as a project that we wanted to tackle. We finally took possession of the building in the early 2000s. And we were able to take it on, rehab it and turn it into what it is now–the home of Connecting for Children and Families.
Another project that we did was across the street from the school. I would say it’s the next dearest to my heart. We built a playground in a vacant lot for the neighborhood kids. There were a lot of community leaders in the neighborhood who had done a lot of groundwork for it. Lo and behold, they named that little playground, Stan “The Bulldog” Eason Park!
I feel so appreciative to have had the opportunity to restore and rebuild a neighborhood that means so much to me, and to help people who are just as appreciative for our work.