When the cast and crew of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” come to help, hope is on the way.
Since its premiere in November 2003, the ABC reality show has been on a rescue mission of sorts, offering aid to people who have come face-to-face with adversity.
In its endeavor to rebuild homes (and schools) for those in need, the show has been instrumental in helping many people realize the American Dream. Families are given the chance to make their lives a whole lot better. The opportunity to enjoy prosperity and success is reborn by the efforts of the cast and crew, as well as the innumerable volunteers.
Sometimes those in need are individuals with illnesses or disabilities. Others have been victimized by floods, fires, tornadoes or hurricanes. And there are also those who must endure the merciless ramifications of accidents, or occasionally, man’s own inhumanity to others.
So too, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (EM:HE) has had far-reaching effects in bettering the conditions of thousands of other people, too. In its partnership with ABC’s “A Better Community,” viewers of EM:HE are highly encouraged to join in the effort to help others, whether by volunteering or donating.
EM:HE started its ninth season last night with an episode that visits the White House and features First Lady Michelle Obama and recording artist Rihanna in the show’s benevolent activities. Its focus is the Marshall Family and Jubilee House, located in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Jubilee House was started by Barbara Marshall, a U.S. Navy veteran and single mother. Realizing the plight of other female veterans who were homeless, Marshall dedicated herself to assisting these women by providing them with a home, as well as other support services to help them improve their lives.
Marshall funded Jubilee House with her own money, but soon realized financial limitations that prevented her from carrying out her mission of ending homelessness among female veterans.
Then in stepped the EM:HE team, creating a welcome whirlwind of positive change.
As is customary, while the team works on the residence in question, the host family is treated to a vacation; this time, Marshall and her family were whisked away to Walt Disney World. Here, a military-themed parade, made up of more than a hundred military personnel, paid tribute to the Marshalls. Marshall’s joy was further multiplied when her daughter, an active duty soldier, arrived on the scene.
With the unveiling of the new and improved Jubilee House, Mrs. Obama’s appearance was a great honor for Marshall, as well as for all the other dedicated workers who made the home renovation possible.
The new Marshall residence, designed in American Heritage style, proved awesome and came complete with a White House playhouse and a greenhouse, too.
In keeping with this altruistic mindset, a live event celebrating the show’s cast, crew and staff was held at Vibiana last evening, in downtown Los Angeles. Yet the exclusive industry party also had its own philanthropic slant, since it was geared toward raising money for the American Cancer Society, as well.
Celebrities and other Hollywood heavyweights, along with the show’s production personnel and their families, dined, danced, drank and mingled, while the season premiere was screened for all to see.
Originally the city of Los Angeles’ first Catholic cathedral, St. Vibiana was built in 1876, and remained a vital place of worship, until it was damaged in the 1994 earthquake, and later replaced by the new Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels. The old cathedral, which was purchased by developers and renovated, now serves as a venue for private parties and performing arts events. With its ornate architecture, and outdoor garden areas, the site appropriately complemented the delectable food and “decadent” desserts that attendees at Sunday night’s event enjoyed.
Sometimes overlooked, those people behind the scenes are the nuts and bolts of any production. Having worked on the show for eight years, Eric Wiese, lead cameraman on the show’s vacation scenes, is a proponent for what EM:HE does. Besides witnessing great changes in the lives of the people whose homes are renovated, he says that the sense of community in the surrounding neighborhood is obviously strengthened.
“It’s fun to see how happy the people are,” he said, “and to realize how much can be accomplished when people work together.”
Indeed, EM:HE relies on countless volunteers in order to achieve all that they continue to accomplish. To date, more than a half-million volunteers have provided support to the show, ensuring that communities become even better places to live, work, play and worship.
It’s no small wonder that “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” has garnered the Parents Television Council’s prestigious “Seal of Approval” for being a “family-friendly show promoting responsible themes and traditional values,” which is designated suitable for children of all ages.
Sunday nights get the green light for gathering the family around the TV set, watching EM:HE and sharing a glimpse of the American Dream. According to researchers Sandra L. Hanson and John Zogby, recent United States public opinion polls have “consistently reported that the American Dream (for themselves and their family) is more about spiritual happiness than material goods.”
With this in mind, the American Dream is alive and well, because spiritual happiness is abundant when people are of service to others — and that’s something that EM:HE, and its thousands of volunteers, know how to do so well.
(Check your local listings for the next episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” which airs Sunday, October 2 on ABC.)