Habitat for Humanity build

Build a House: Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity

I may have dropped my hammer off the roof five times, but even so, I had a great day recently volunteering on a Habitat for Humanity build. In addition to lending a hand for a great cause, it was great to just get out of the house and do something different.

Habitat for Humanity build

Hanging onto my hammer tightly so I don’t drop it off the roof… again.

The next morning I felt as though I’d been beaten with a sack of doorknobs. But I suppose that’s to be expected considering I was using muscles I never typically use. It’s amazing how few muscles your body uses clicking a mouse or tapping a keyboard.

Habitat for Humanity build

Tina. She likes cheese.

I’ve been involved with Habitat for Humanity years ago, joining my University’s campus chapter. Of course, my motivation back then revolved around the fact that 90% of the club was comprised of women. But the more I got to know about Habitat, the more I realized just how awesome an organization it is.

After chatting with my friends, Shaun and Tina, a while ago about wanting to do more volunteering, we signed up for a day on a build site in Kitchener. Besides needing my own steel-toed work boots and a willingness to help out, no other requirements or experience were necessary.

Working with a great team of other volunteers from the community, and under the supervision of construction professionals, we had a great day putting the roof on one of the units.

About Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity build

Shaun and I, posing hard.

Habitat’s mission is to “…mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting homeownership as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty…” with a vision of “…a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live.” I’d say those are pretty awesome goals.

Here’s how it works, according to their website:

“Through volunteer labour, efficient management and tax-deductible donations of money and materials, Habitat for Humanity builds and rehabilitates safe, decent and affordable houses with the help of the homeowner (partner) families. Habitat houses are sold to partner families at no profit and are financed with affordable, no-interest mortgages. The homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments go into a revolving fund, which is used to build more homes.

Habitat for Humanity is a hand up, not a hand out. In addition to mortgage payments, each homeowner invests hundreds of hours of their own labour, called “sweat equity”, into the building of their home and the homes of others.”

Check out the Habitat for Humanity website to learn more about volunteering (including links to local affiliates) and other ways you can help.

It’s an awesome way to spend the day. You’re supporting a great cause and learning new skills. And of course you get to point out the finished house to friends and family and tell them, “Yeah, I helped build that. No biggie.”

Habitat for Humanity build

Job well done and no one injured from falling hammers.

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Josh Martin
Josh Martin is the founder and chief blogger at Badge of Awesome. He lives in southwestern Ontario, Canada and is the author of "Misadventure Musings: Lessons learned from life's awesome and absurd moments" and "Going on a Bear Hunt: Five things cancer taught me about overcoming obstacles."

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