When someone is blessed with a thriving business that they created themselves, nothing feels better than earning money, except for paying it forward. Husband and wife business partners, Vinny and Gina Centauro, are the owners of Truly Unique Designs – Home Remodeling and are also the co-founders of Rescuing Families, a non-profit organization that improves the homes of people with disabilities, veterans and financial struggles. They provide free labor to renovate and remodel homes and raise money for materials and resources through donations and sponsorships. They fully renovate homes and financially help struggling families get back on track.
(Gina Centauro, Vinny Centauro and Michael Cantone)
Having family members who are veterans and disabled, they know the daily struggles and hardships that they face. “We saw a need in our community, a need that wasn’t being addressed. Too many families have a disabled family member living in horrendous conditions. As contractors we had the ability to help so we are,” said Gina Centauro.
Gina Centauro gave Living Local an exclusive interview, read on and learn more about Rescuing Families.
How long does it take to build/improve the homes you’re working on?
It varies, the project we just completed (our first) took a solid year! It was an entire house inside and out renovation. The entire home required demo and completely rebuilt from the inside out.
How can someone donate to the yard sale?
If people would like to donate they can drop items off at 1010 Lewiston Street Franklin Square between the hours of 10am-7pm 7 days a week! We can provide receipts for their donation. Our garage sales are once a month from April through November.
Besides yard sales and BBQ’s how else have you raised money?
We hold two fundraising events a year, usually a comedy night, paint night or a barbecue. We are looking to hold another event towards the end of the year.
We also hold raffles on Facebook twice a month. People and companies donate items, gift certificates and event tickets that we raffle off. We are currently raffling off Long Island Ducks tickets that were donated to us. The winner will be announced live on Facebook on Friday, August 27th at 8pm. If anyone would like to enter, they can donate $2 to our page and they will be automatically entered into the raffle.
How many houses have you built/improved through the Rescuing Families?
We just completed our first rescue and reveal date on June 25th! We are currently in the process of selecting our next family.
How can a family qualify or be eligible to get their house improved?
We have an application process; we speak with the family and pre-qualify them first. The criterion includes their financial situation, severity of disrepair to their home, if there are young children, elderly and how severe is disability is. Then we send out our application and set up a home visit. Currently, there is a waiting list but depending on the family’s situation they can be moved up or down on our list.
Are any interior designers involved with Rescuing Families?
Yes! Me! I do all of the design work (interior, exterior and landscape) as well as the actual construction which helps us a lot because I not only have the design experience but the practical building experience.
What has been the most fulfilling moment for you so far?
Being able to make a beautiful space and restore the family’s home life. Seeing the look on the family’s faces when they see their home for the first time is priceless!
What’s next for Rescuing Families?
We have so many exciting things going on! There are so many families to help. We are looking to get as many people as we can on board to help us with our mission and help as many families as we can here on Long Island! We’re looking to move forward with our next family and a larger team of volunteers!
Gina is sending a positive and powerful message and is inspiring and encouraging others to get involved and make a difference in the community. For more information about Rescuing Families, click here.