Rising Senior, Sabyne Pierre arrived at Habitat in June and began her summer working alongside the Habitat Development Team. The 21-year old from Newark, New Jersey learned first-hand about Philadelphia’s housing crisis and what Habitat is doing to empower families through shelter.
“I had no idea how widespread housing issues have impacted residents. Seeing that first-hand has been very eye-opening, but also optimistic, in a way because I’ve been able to also see and hear from the other cohort members about all the nonprofits that they are working with to address those issues. It’s been pretty cool to see that because it provides hope.”
Sabyne is one of six students from Dartmouth College who interned this summer at nonprofits in Philadelphia. It is through the school’s Center for Social Impact that they had this opportunity. Each student went through an interview process and was matched to a nonprofit that fit his or her interests.
This is not Sabyne’s first internship with a nonprofit. Through this same program, she traveled to San Francisco in her first year of college to intern with Lava Mae, an organization that provides mobile showers to people moving in and out of homelessness in the city.
“I’ve done this same cohort in San Francisco… I loved the physical aspect of it. Being somewhere, and having to really put in the work. I also love meeting people all the time!
With Habitat for Humanity, they have construction sites and the ReStore… it’s really fun. I get to move furniture and meet people every single day— I also meet a lot of residents, so it’s pretty cool that they matched me with exactly what I was interested in.”
Habitat for Humanity offers a wide variety of ways to get involved. Sabyne volunteered in each of our departments that focus on different areas of each of our programs. She had the chance to see the diversity of how we empower Philadelphians to build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter.
Throughout the summer, Sabyne guided volunteer groups at our new construction site, Oxford Green—helping run one of our largest build days to date. She eagerly assisted staff in unloading new merchandise to sell at the ReStore.
In our neighborhood revitalization efforts, Sabyne surveyed residents to see how Habitat can better serve our target community. With her warm personality, Sabyne interviewed families in our Homeownership and Repair Programs to assist in sharing Habitat stories. She made the most of her 10-week program—she provided hope for countless families through her energetic spirit and dedication.
“I’ve always been interested in community service work. Coming into college, I didn’t know how it was going to look for me. I knew I was interested in working in cities because I come from a city, and I’ve seen it myself.”
“I’ve also been a part of a lot of different programs that have allowed me and my family to eat. My mom went to a food pantry in East Orange growing up. We were familiar with food assistance programs.”
“For me, I was interested in gaining more experience being on the other side of the table and being able to provide any assistance that people needed. So, I got into it because of my mom. She was involved in church, and so I just continued that in college. Then, I went to the Center for Social Impact [at Dartmouth] and told them I was interested. Ever since then, they’ve been continuously supporting me and my goals.”
Sabyne has one year left at Dartmouth. As she finishes up her studies as a Political Science major, she plans to use her experiences at Habitat to help guide her in her next steps in life.
“I’d love to go into public interest law and see how my interests in homelessness and my interest in law somehow come together. I’m not sure how that’s going to work, and I’m leaving it deliberately open because I know there are so many different routes, but I’d love to somehow bring the two together.”
Though Sabyne’s summer at Habitat has ended, her service has left a lasting impact within the Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia office. Sabyne shares our core values of being driven by accountability and defined by stick-to-it-ivness, and she is on a mission to use her education and experiences to create equity in our world!