In our lives, we will experience many events. Some minimal, but others, when opportunity strikes, becomes an eye opening experience. For the month of July 1996, I was able to participate with Habitat For Humanity’s Disaster and Humanitarian Relief project in the Greater San Francisco Area. Like many people, I’ve always heard the name. I’ve even donated from time to time. But it wasn’t until I actually invested myself in the program that I realized the genuine impactful work that Habitat For Humanity does for the community. If you are still contemplating whether or not you should volunteer, take a look at the following points.
What is Habitat For Humanity?
This general question has been asked numerous times. In fact, it was the very question I asked right before I signed up. Many people understand that the organization builds houses, but the overall purpose is much more than that. Habitat For Humanity is an international non-profit organization founded in 1976. It addresses the issues of poverty and environmental disasters by building simple, decent, and affordable housing for individuals who have experienced these inopportune lifestyles. Habitat looks to enlist, educate, and mobilize their volunteers in making an immediate impact for a family or an entire community.
No matter how you look at it, the world is in need of your help. Currently, we are experiencing a global housing crisis. Worldwide there are about 827.6 million people living in urban slums. This number is rising at a higher rate year after year that can have some serious ramifications on our environment such as contaminated water and unhealthy living conditions. Even in our own backyards, the United States is said to have about 48.5 million people living in poverty.
The philosophy behind Habitat is to create affordable housing. Providing a stable housing does more than simply putting a roof over someone’s head. It impacts the family mentally while also providing them a sense steadiness in their lives. Think about it. A house will give you an environment to keep an entire family safe, healthy, and secure. But the idea of owning a house creates a sense of pride and self-importance in their lives. They are no longer seeing a bleak future of pain and loss. Rather they see a brighter one with a career, a family, and a newly owned house.
My time with Habitat For Humanity has strengthened my movement in social equity. The idea that I was building a house for people not just to live in, but to grow in too was incredibly powerful and transformational. Every decision that we made for the house was that for our bold vision. The investment that we had in every aspect of the process was unlike any work that I have done before. It was then when I realized why Habitat needs our help. Yes funding plays a large aspect, but the maximized collective labor and effort from its volunteers is something that is a necessity for its goal. If you are still contemplating about joining, think not about the finished house you are going to build, but the long-term change you are going to create for an entire family.