Making Good Season 6 Episode 3 Recap: Hope Renovations 


Kirby’s love of tools and excitement for building brings him to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to spend a week with Hope Renovations, a non-profit that empowers women to pursue living wage jobs in the construction trades and provide repairs allowing seniors to age in place. 

First, Kirby meets Hope Renovations founder and CEO Nora, to get a grasp on the organization's beginnings and ongoing mission. 

As Hope Renovations provides opportunities in the construction industry through hands-on training and community work, their goal is twofold: empower individuals to enter an industry they may have never thought was an option, and letting seniors stay in their homes through safety and accessibility renovations. 

Nora entered the construction industry as DIY’er, learning to do everything herself. From her experience, she knew she wanted to help other women enter the industry. Then, in her final semester of graduate school, she learned about the concept of aging in place. 

“That light bulb came on because I realized these are two problems that we can solve at once. If I have a training program, and I’m helping women learn how to do this stuff, they’re going to need hands-on experience. This is a way for them to get hands-on experience, doing this work for seniors that need it. And that’s kind of the moment Hope Renovations was born,” she tells Kirby. 

Following their launch in 2020, 70 individuals have graduated out of Hope’s training program and the team has completed 225+ projects in the community. Today, both numbers continue to grow. 

Before Nora sends Kirby off to do his skills test, she fills him in on the project he’ll be helping out with: replacing an exterior door for a community woman in urgent need. 

At the Hope Renovations workshop space, he meets Director of Construction Operations Kat, Director of Construction Programs Kate, and construction apprentice Lucy. 

The workshop serves as the trainees’ classroom during their fifteen week program, offering all the tools they need and opportunities for demos, as they spend nine weeks in the classroom and six weeks on the site with crews. 

After a demo from Lucy on how to switch out a sink faucet, the trio puts Kirby to the test with a race against time to complete his skill test. Though it gets down to the wire, he successfully completes the task right in the knick of time. 

Kirby is rewarded with his very own Hope Renovations t-shirt, and a warm welcome to the team from Nora. Kirby, Kat, and Kate head to their job site to meet the homeowner, Kathy, who has been living with an unsafe, rotting back door for 5-7 years now, for their assessment. 

Back at the workshop, Kirby joins his first class to meet more trainees from the cohort and prepare to go to the job site tomorrow. 

“It’s so cool to see such a unique mix of people come together and build these really close relationships with one another as they go through the program,” says Kat.

Kat passes the class over to Construction Site Supervisor Martrisha, who gives the class a lesson in framing doors and windows. After class, Kirby finds some time to sit down with Martrisha and hear her story. 

Martisha actually comes from a construction background, with her dad owning his own construction company as she grew up. 

“I’ve actually discovered a skill that I was told I wasn’t fit for. My dad owned a construction company and there weren’t many women,  she tells Kirby. “We didn’t see women out doing this. So in his mind, that was not a role for his daughter.” 

After deciding to start a business with her brother, Martisha saw an ad for Hope Renovations’ training program and decided to give it a shot. She was in Hope’s first cohort, and actually the first person they interviewed and accepted into the program. 

“Representation matters. Many of us never saw many women in the construction industry or in the trades, so we weren’t encouraged to explore and use the skills that were innate to many of us,” says Martrisha. 

Martisha had enough training and knowledge to go straight to work in her own business after graduating Hope’s program but earlier this year, she decided to come back to Hope Renovations to work full-time with them. Now, she continues to see the program changing lives, seeing women who are low-income, single parents, have gone through domestic or substance abuse issues, all find a place where they’re safe, respected, and trusted, “Several women from my own cohort have either started their own businesses, or they’ve pursed professional licensing in trades. It’s a place to grow, it’s a place to heal, it’s a place to become.” 

The day of Kathy’s renovation has come, and Kirby is working with Caitie, Hope’s Senior Project Manager and one of the most experienced crew members, and trainees Amanda, Sarah, and Beny. The renovation squad heads to the job site, ready to get their hands dirty. 

Caitie sees the rot in the door right away, and is a bit apprehensive as they never know how extensive the rot will be until they take it apart. Once the door and threshold is out, Kirby takes a break to chat with Jess and Beny, who have been training with Hope for fourteen weeks now. 

This project hits home for Beny, as she “was that single mom, with the rotted door” once too. After praying for the skills to complete the repair for Beny, a man fixed her door free of charge. “And I did the same thing- I prayed to God that he would give me the skills to do it for Kathy. There’s children, there’s people that are not living in dignity because their homes need repairing. To gain these skills, I can make my home a dignified home for my children, and I can help others without making them feel like they should be embarrassed.” 

Luckily, the rot is not as bad as it could have been, and the team feels confident about getting the door back on as they begin the rebuild process. Once finished, Martrisha is impressed with Kirby’s hard work and Kathy is beyond grateful for Hope’s help. 

“It was like a real day off. I did my laundry, put it on the line, and just sat in the shade,” smiles Kathy. 

“That is one of the big draws of doing the work we do,” says Martrisha. “We get to see the smile on people’s faces when we complete their job.” 

Kirby concludes the day by dedicating his newly written song "Let Hope In" to the Hope Renovations crew. 

“Something that I never expected when I started this is to watch the camaraderie happen,” says Nora. “You get a group of people that have a lot of different experiences but they all have this shared goal.” 

Martrisha continues, “What we do here has created a new pathway for me, and to see the look in my daughter's eyes and have her ask me for a tool box so she can do this stuff, it’s amazing. It’s creating a new family legacy.”

“Hope has offered me a workplace that I didn’t really know existed before,” expresses Caitie. “I’ve never been on a team that actually felt like a team, that felt like we all have each other's back.”

“The populations that we’re serving and the needs that we’re trying to fill, they exist everywhere,” explains Nora. “There are women who need this opportunity, the construction industry needs workers desperately, and seniors everywhere need this kind of help in their homes. What I want to see one day is Hope Renovations helping everybody everywhere.”  

Stream the episode now, and stay tuned for more brand new episodes of Making Good, premiering Sundays on BYUtv.