“God got a hold of a little piece of my
heart and he wasn’t about to let go.”
In 2010, Carmen experienced a crucial life change after reading Radical by David Platt. He was in the process of discovering a genuine faith in Christ, waking him to Jesus' concern for the poor. During this time, he learned of a year-round tent city of people who were homeless, living less than five miles from his auto-repair business. In 2011, he and two friends began befriending residents of the Jungle (name given to the tent community).
Carmen first bought campers to create housing for the men. When it became clear this was not a good long term solution, he and his friends conceived of a community of energy-efficient cottages called Second Wind. Carmen takes a lead role on many aspects of the project, from communicating with architects and engineers, to installing the plumbing. He speaks to audiences about Second Wind, from local youth groups to CBS TV. He continues to learn a lot from social services, addiction recovery services, and the men themselves.
Growing up in the Ithaca/Newfield area, Carmen now runs a collision repair shop in Newfield. Guidi’s Collision holds a reputation for excellent service for over 30 years. Carmen shares his life with his wife and their six children.
“I've seen amazingly good things happen when people who are homeless get the chance to tell their stories. You should see someone's face when they realize another person actually wants to listen to them.”
“Through volunteering with Second Wind,
I’ve observed God's power in transforming
lives and that there’s no limit to his grace.”
Deb first connected with Second Wind at their annual Pork BBQ fundraiser where she met Carmen, the board and staff, and many residents. The impressions of that day stayed with her, leading her to be a volunteer with SW and visiting the Jungle. Currently, Deb is the Homeless Crisis Alleviation Coordinator where she’s a friend and advocate to individuals residing in Ithaca’s Jungle. She works collaboratively with local organizations, community members, and social service agencies to assist in coordinating services and building a bridge to safe, permanent housing.
She and her husband have three teens at home and a grown daughter and son-in-law. Deb enjoys time at the lake, visiting her parents, and completing home improvement projects in her free time. She especially loves sunflowers and the beauty of the Finger Lakes.
"My parents sacrificial love and work ethic, the unexpected loss of my brother, and my faith in God have influenced my life and guided me to where I am today. I hope to leave a positive impact through loving and serving others as the Homeless Crisis Alleviation Coordinator."
“I’ve been able to help construct many
cottages in different stages and also
have friendships with residents of Second
Wind. I use SW as an example in my
coursework of God-led-community improvement.”
In 2014, Lucas arrived in Ithaca to study Urban and Regional planning at Cornell and play football. After an injury kept him out of the game in his sophomore year, he had the opportunity to volunteer with Second Wind. Lucas fell in love with the community and volunteered whenever possible. He was encouraged and mentored by J.W. Betts, and getting to know Carmen kept him coming back to be a part of God’s work. Lucas has also worked with Friends of Stewart Park and the Cayuga Waterfront Trail. He was able to use the skills he learned as a SW volunteer on the community built playground at Stewart Park.
Currently, Lucas is working at Thoma Development Consultants in Cortland as a planner and grant writer/program manager. He and his wife, Anna, live in Dryden where they are active in the Second Wind Dryden House project planning.
“I’m thankful for this incredible opportunity to work alongside the organization that has inspired my desire and passion for housing solutions in urban areas!”
“Everyone has got their own beauty, it’s
not always easy to spot, but it’s always
worth looking for.”
In 2013, Sarah came to Second Wind through Community Faith Partners, a non-profit that helped facilitate the first six cottages. She first joined the construction team, bringing a knack for organizing the materials. Her background in construction and business, alongside a deep love of people, led her to join the board and spend time with the residents. Over the years, she’s worn a lot of hats. Currently she’s board secretary, part of the residential support staff, and is helping build a chicken coop for a flock of Second Wind hens.
If Sarah is not at Second Wind, she may be found working hands-on managing several local properties or involved in any sort of outdoor activity. As a ‘people person’ she loves to connect with others, and is inspired by the resilience of the people around her. She shares her life with her husband Jon, their three children and her mother. She loves God’s holy humor, which can be seen in baby critters and penguins and anybody that doesn’t take themselves too seriously.
At Second Wind, Sarah has seen ‘the horizontality of us’ and that there is no ‘fixer and fixee’. She carries a deep love for Jesus and this relationship inspires her life and brings hope. “The more I follow him, the more I see him in the people around me. Healing happens when we meet people exactly where they are.”
“Our God has got this, so carry on.”
When Second Wind was needing a business advisor, Jeff was led to offer his skills. As a retiree, he brought expertise from a career in sales, marketing and operations in the medical devices industry. He holds a lot of respect and admiration for Second Wind’s mission to build long lasting relationships and help people feel like they always have a place to call home. Jeff is interested in assisting the organization to be organizationally and financially sustainable in the long term.
He and his wife, Ann, now live in South Carolina, where they moved to be closer to their two children and five grandchildren. They enjoy sharing adventures with their Boxer/Labrador pup and extensively travel the World. Their most recent trip was to Saint Lucia.
Jeff is also on the committee for the Dryden House project and is involved in a similar tiny home project in South Carolina called ‘Dream Centers’.
If you want to make Jeff laugh, share an elephant joke!