Organization: San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity
Activity: Home Build
I’ve never had to worry about having a roof over my head and truly can’t imagine what it must feel like to have that concern. Yes, there were times early in my career when I was in New York City truly living paycheck to paycheck and had to make choices between going out and paying rent, or incurring debt, which was more often the case. But, I always had a safety net I could turn to, my family. I don’t remember ever having to make the call for financial help, but just knowing I could eased my mind.
But, I know that’s not a reality many are blessed to have. And, while affordable housing has always been an issue, it seems a bigger issue than ever — at least in my lifetime. Without a safe and secure place to live how can anyone be expected to flourish, much less contribute to society? That is why I love Habitat for Humanity — they are all about building, renovating and providing affordable housing solutions for those in need.
Perhaps what I like most about Habitat is that the homeowners themselves are required to work on the construction of their future homes, something called “sweat equity.” There are a few reasons I think this is so important. First and foremost, for the most part I am not a big fan of handouts. While they are necessary and appropriate in dealing with some issues, I tend to think they are bandaids not solutions. So, by requiring that the homeowners actively participate in the process they become emotionally and physically engaged, which leads to a bigger sense of pride and is likely to lead to a more positive longterm result. Second, when you volunteer on a Habitat build, you get to work alongside the homeowner and you realize just how needed and appreciated you are as a volunteer — always good to feel appreciated. And, third, there is a community-building element when everyone comes together to work towards a common goal. Can’t we all use a greater sense of community?
I have worked on this San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity build twice and loved it both times! It’s hard work, but so rewarding. I am no carpenter, so you don’t have to either.
Have a look and learn more about my day and see the beautiful complex some great homeowners will soon call home.