The fence on the right side of the picture is falling over, there is a wire mesh fence separating everything from the garage on back from the rest of the yard (all unusable), the back gate is completely pathetic and impossible to close, and there is a mostly demolished (and extremely unsafe) shed on the back right. The garage roof also let through regular daylight and puddles.
Not only did the group of Christian youth (and 3 adults) fix our fence and garage roof as discussed, but they also removed several dead bushes and many trees growing too close to the house and power lines, they fixed the swingset so the kids can finally swing again, they weeded the front garden, they emptied the garage of more than half of the junk that has filled it since before I moved in three years ago, the weeded the section of the alley for which I'm responsible, and they salvaged and reused a lot of material in their projects.
See my pretty stripey fence on the right? And the smoothly operating gate in the back? And the non-existent wire partition so that now we have a big backyard? And Sophie is swinging on the left as well. Before they left, they also folded all the laundry on the line and brought it in. Oh, and get this! They Gus-proofed the yard! Gus hasn't escaped once since they left.
The cleaned out enough of the garage that I was able, for the first time, to get one of the back garage doors open. Our yard feels so spacious (it has increased in size by 1/3 at least), the garage has possibilities and will finally free up space in the 2 little closets in the house, and we are all spending more time outside. Thank you to the workers who provided free labor, and thank you to Mom and Dad for paying for the materials. There is no way this little blog post can convey how huge this is for us. HUGE.
The kids were infatuated with these wonderful people and I took lots of pictures of them together, but I won't post the group shots since I don't know if the others want their faces plastered all over the internet.