Building Humanity with Hammer and Nail

There’s a lot of reasons to get involved, but the main reason we should is to build our humanity muscles. When we’re young our parents talk about sharing and caring often, but no one encourages us to give when we get older. And so it becomes something we call “sacrifice.” Our own lives are busy enough and we have our own shit to worry about.

Getting involved in any volunteer opportunity takes up two of the most precious commodities we have, time and money. But there’s a more valuable asset we have that when we share it, we actually get more of it…love and the knowledge that we’re in this together, which is a darn good feeling.

My recent experience on the Habitat for Humanity Women’s Build taught me many things, but most of all that I have more to give than I thought I did. In fact, we all do.

I signed up when one of my neighbors across the street put out a notice on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to join her team for the Women’s Build. I’d always thought it would be fun to work on a Habitat Project and here was one strictly for women. Right up my alley, I thought. So I said yes not knowing at all what it entailed.

The team leader sent me the information packet and it turns out I had to attend a meeting…whoop! I already have a vacation planned during that one. And raising funds is required. Worse than putting up my own money, I hate asking others for theirs. Usually, I just give the money on my own and forget about fundraising. But recently, money has been allocated in other areas of my life and I’ve been living as frugally as possible. Not a good time to give…so I decided to sit with that a while. I’d decide later if coming up with $250 dollars was something I could do.

Months came and went. About five weeks before our actual work date, I get an email from the team leader asking if I was still planning to participate (because I hadn’t raised a penny).

And for some strange reason, I knew I had to make myself do it. I’m just going to ask…anyone and everyone, I thought. I was determined to make it happen. I sent out about a dozen emails to family and close friends and then I asked you, my blog followers, to consider giving $5. I figured if enough people responded, no one would have to break the bank.

And wow! Everyone really came through! Not only did I reach my goal, the minimum, I more than doubled it…well, you all more than doubled it for me. We raised $572.00!! Through this experience, it was easy for me to see how much people support me in having the life experiences that I want to have. When I want to help others, then others show up to help. Altogether our Women’s Build team raised $172,000 which is the most raised by a non-corporate group in the Indy Habitat history!! So thank you so much to all of you who gave a little or a lot.

I also gained a lot of new respect for the Habitat for Humanity process and all the homeowner has to go through to purchase their new home. Yes, I said purchase. A lot of people have the misconception that the homeowner just shows up and walks through the front door once it’s ready. But that’s not the case. They have to complete a lengthy homeowner training, put in 300 hours of sweat equity, so they’re right there on the building site working alongside all the volunteers, and then they pay the appraised value on the home with a no-interest loan through Habitat. It’s actually much harder than you’d imagine and takes a lot of dedication.

Getting involved in any volunteer opportunity takes up two of the most precious commodities we have, time and money. But there's a more valuable asset we have that when we share it, we actually get more of and the knowledge that we're in this together, which is a darn good feeling.This Saturday, Daisy will get the keys to her new home and she and her two children will start a new life with a lot of new friends and the knowledge that humans, in the end, are basically good, that humanity is alive and well in the world. Sadly, I didn’t get to swing a hammer as I’d wanted to, but they did give me a paintbrush and I’m pretty good with one of those too.

Getting involved does take a little time and oftentimes some money too, but the reward gained in terms of love, friendship, and the camaraderie are priceless. I hope you get an opportunity to share and care with others soon.

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