Nicole is a long-time volunteer on Habitat's homebuilding projects. Here she shares her reasons for lending so much time to Habitat. Thanks, Nicole!
-How long have you been volunteering with Habitat Philadelphia? How did you first get involved?
I first signed up for Habitat Philadelphia in the spring of 2011. I had just moved to the Philly area and was looking for an opportunity to become involved in my new city and its communities. This past winter I started volunteering at the Restore in addition to the build sites, and I have loved every minute!
-What are some of the reasons you come out to support this organization?
Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to provide affordable housing in communities around the globe. To many people, this would seem like a basic human right and need that should be met. However, in many areas of our own city, residents are not able to secure affordable and dependable housing. I have always been very fortunate in my life to have all of my basic needs met, so I love being a part of an organization that helps this to become a reality for families in my city that might otherwise not have this opportunity. Habitat Philadelphia really encourages anybody, regardless of age, physical ability, or level of expertise to unite in order to support this mission. The Habitat Philadelphia organization has become my home away from home and a constant reminder that we are all able to contribute in order to ensure decent shelter for our fellow Philadelphians.
-What's your favorite aspect of volunteering at Habitat?
It is hard to pick one favorite aspect of volunteering at Habitat. As a young professional, I appreciate the flexibility that Habitat Philadelphia provides. I have volunteered many times on the construction sites, but also work at the ReStore to get a different volunteering experience while still contributing to the Habitat mission. My favorite aspect of volunteering with Habitat, though, is the people. Fellow crew members, staff, and partner families welcome everyone with open arms and an upbeat environment. Each time I volunteer I look forward to seeing those same friendly faces and know that it will be a great day at Habitat Philadelphia! I have never volunteered with an organization that truly values everything that its volunteers and staff do. Whenever I leave a construction site or the ReStore, I feel like I have given back in some small way and that I am a better person for having the privilege to work with the organization and everyone involved.
-What's a particularly good memory you have from a work day with us? Or perhaps one of the best days you've had at Habitat Philadelphia?
To me, every day is a good day with Habitat Philadelphia! Whether it’s working on a build site or volunteering at the ReStore, each experience is a positive one. I have not been to a dedication yet, but am very much looking forward to the dedication of 1448 Marston Street as I have worked quite a few days on that house seeing it transform from a shell with no roof to a home.
-What kind of advice would you like for volunteers to know on their first day working with us?
Relax and have fun! It doesn’t matter if you have never used a nail gun (definitely was a little gun shy of using the power tools in the beginning), framed walls, put up siding, or even swung a hammer. The staff will take care of you, make sure that you feel comfortable throughout the work day, and provide any necessary instruction. Get out there and please come back! Nothing is more rewarding than giving back to your neighbors and your city. Even if you feel like you are only doing something small, you are a part of something much greater, transforming lives and communities.