Things You Learn on a Habitat Build Site

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Skills

I’ve relearned the pleasures and pains of working with my hands. Recently, a group of older volunteers, with different skills, has been rehabbing older homes in the Bath, Maine, area. I have come to appreciate seamless cooperation among us.
— Volunteer Gerry Brookes, Habitat 7 Rivers

 

 

 

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“Get-it-done-ness”

The Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project in Haiti in 2011 was a very challenging environment to work in. And when the Carter Project volunteers came, they brought this enthusiasm, this optimism, this get-it-done-ness.

That’s consistent with my experience with all volunteers, in this country and around the world. Their sense of enthusiasm, their sense of optimism, fuels so much of what we do. That enthusiasm and that optimism is really the driving force for the organization.
— Mark Andrews, Habitat’s VP of volunteer and institutional engagement

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Community

There is one lasting thought I have had over the years and, for the longest time, used as my salutation in closing emails: “In the spirit of building community together.” That really sums up what Habitat is for me. A community of volunteers, of homeowners, of donors, of leadership. A community that has been formed through the years, connecting all projects, volunteers, homeowners and supporters.
— Carter Work Project and Global Village volunteer Lora Fasolino

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How to “live the music”
You get to meet new people and make connections, especially with the homeowner. This is always the most important. I would compare it to playing the piano. Some people play, but they don’t feel the music. They just know the notes. Then, others connect with the music and completely live it. This is what Habitat is: living the music and making human connections.
— Volunteer Bill Grun, Habitat Philadelphia

 

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Giving is receiving
After working side by side with future Habitat homeowners — seeing the sweat on their brows, the hope in their eyes and the gratitude in their souls — I’ve learned that I’m the one who is on the receiving end of things more than anyone else.
— Volunteer Rolf Waller, Twin Cities Habitat and Delta Builds

 

 

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Why we build
When I started, I didn’t realize how big the need was. There are a lot of people in need of decent, affordable housing, but there are a lot of good people in the world that want to help them.
— Volunteer Bob Hesaltine, Sussex County Habitat

Remarkable New Hampshire Women 2014: Game Changers

Congraulations to Elaine Hamel, Founder of Girls at Work in being named by nhmagazine.com and one of 2014’s game changers!  A woman after our own heart!

PHOTO BY PETER J. MCGINNIS

One morning last summer, Elaine Hamel had just taught a group of young girls how to build a picnic table at her workshop in Goffstown. After they ate lunch at their very own table, too many girls piled into the nearby hammock — bringing it tumbling to the ground.

“I went over and said, ‘I guess you’ve got to fix it, don’t you?’” Using the skills they had just learned, the girls worked together to drill a new hole and install the hardware back into the tree where the hammock had been hanging — fixing it as though it had never broken.

“That’s what happens. You get them in this mindset that they can do anything, and it’s so powerful for them. That was one of my favorite moments ever,” says Hamel, the founder of Girls at Work, a nonprofit that partners with other nonprofits in New Hampshire and New England to teach at-risk girls how to use power tools to build everything from pegboards to chairs to picnic tables.

PHOTO COURTESY OF ELAINE HAMEL

Hamel’s goal is not to get girls into the construction trades, but to build up their confidence and show them that they are strong and capable. “We help them tap into their internal power tools,” says Hamel, a general contractor herself who founded Girls at Work in 2000. Since then, more than 6,000 girls have gone through the program.

Hamel has recently become an ambassador for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Manchester, not only teaching woodworking skills to the Big and Little matches but working to recruit more volunteer mentors for the kids in need of those relationships. “It’s so huge for these kids,” says Hamel. “To tell people that they can make such a small commitment and make such an enormous difference, I’m happy to venture into this.”  — Kathleen Callahan

Click here to read about the other remarkable women who won this award, including our own Corinne Rober, owner of Margarita Grill. Remarkable Women 2014 Game Changers

Cranmore Cares

It all started with a chance meeting at one of the Chamber’s After Hours events in the February time frame when Bob Holdsworth, Habitat’s PR chairman struck up a conversation with one of Cranmore Mountain Resort‘s sales staff. Bob asked if Cranmore worked with non-profits and was told yes and that Beth Hutchins, Cranmore’s Human Resources director was in charge of the Cranmore Cares program.

In ensuing conversations Beth asked what sort of activities they would be doing on the build, adding that they had a pretty versatile group. Bob replied that Habitat provides on site construction management to coordinate the work effort. All of the construction management and supervisors are from the industry with extensive experience. Special skills are not required; anyone with an extra pair of hands can be put to work whatever the task may be.

Together Bob and Beth agreed on Saturday, April 12th. Approximately seven volunteers from Cranmore came to 42 North Rd. in Conway and were ready to get their instructions at 8:30am. Their volunteerism is part of the community involvement in helping build simple, decent homes with and for our neighbors in need. Thank you to the Cranmore team!!!!

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