I am so excited to be able to add ‘roofer’ to my resume! Yep, it’s the second year in a row of what I hope with be an annual event — taking part in a Habitat for Humanity build.
Why take a precious day or days out of your already short summer? Why get dirty and sweaty and possibly work harder than you do at your real job?
Here are a few reasons that I hope will get you jazzed about signing up:
• Seeing the faces and hearing the stories of the people for whom you will be building the houses. Working side by side with them, watching them watch their house being built after years of anticipation and wait. It’s very different than writing a cheque to a cause. It’s very humanizing and humbling indeed;
• Learning new skills — not only do you help with the build but the patient leaders explain why things are to be done a certain way, the names of the tools and gadgets and how to work them, along with other little trade secrets;
• Experiential learning — After stepping into the shoes of people who do outdoor manual labour I have a new respect for those folks;
• To be inspired by the hundreds of volunteers and their reasons behind volunteering. Everyone from the kitchen personnel to the cleaners. With most everyone having their days full to the brim seeing so many people take a full day out of their busy lives is pretty ‘Wow!’;
• To show gratitude. When we give back it is a way of saying thank you for all the gifts and blessings we have received. When we give back, we say thanks to our own lives;
As an added bonus this year, I met Walter. His family hosted a unique family reunion by co-ordinating a day to do a family build.
Inspired by their Oma, they called their group Oma’s Tribe and they all gathered — from the professionals to the 80-year-old uncle — to work together for a cause. Walter talked about how different it was from a typical reunion; how people had conversations and learned things about others they normally wouldn’t have spent time with; how working side-by side created a great bond.
It gave me the idea that a ‘Birthday Build’ would be a cool idea. Instead of gathering for a potluck party, what about gathering with the intention of doing good for someone else?
What a great way to express gratitude for getting to take another spin around the sun.
Stephanie Staples is a community correspondent for St. Vital. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org