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  • Helena Kyle

Volunteering Series: Building Hope


Featuring, Habitat for Humanity of Martin County

By Helena Kyle

Previously published in the Pineapple Post

helenakyle [@] outlook.com


There is no place like home. Whether you are a globe trekker, or returning home from an exhausting workday, doesn’t it revive your heart just thinking about returning to the place you can shed your shoes, put your feet up, take a deep breath, and bask in the refreshment of relaxation? Throughout Martin County, fellow citizens are working to the best of their ability toward purchasing a house they can call home, but with ever increasing costs of rent, food, and other essentials, they have a tough time exiting substandard living conditions. Thanks to Habitat for Humanity, homeownership is no longer a dream, but a reality for low income workers, by offering a no-interest loan to those willing to invest sweat-equity in lieu of down payment on building their own home.


Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 by Linda, and her late husband, Millard Fuller. Linda Fuller, a woman of faith, summed up the mission of Habitat for Humanity: ‘To families in seemingly impossible situations, Habitat for Humanity becomes a friend and partner. And, by their own labor and with God’s grace, they become owners of a decent home.”


Families dedicate a minimum of 300 hours of sweat-equity by completion of their home. If the family has children attending school, students can contribute by applying each “A” earned at school, toward one hour of the sweat-equity. Throughout the building process, prospective homeowners are offered tremendous support from the Habitat for Humanity team: Continuous mentorship and encouragement, classes covering skills helpful for responsible homeownership, such as budgeting for property taxes, home maintenance, and smart shopping tips to minimize expenses. Positive outcomes of homeownership through Habitat for Humanity include, breaking the cycle of poverty and reliance on social services, improved school attendance, a healthful home environment free of mold, and free of the stress associated with rent hikes, or having to move. The new homeowners value their sweat equity investment, and they care about the condition of their neighborhood by promoting crime prevention; they do not take homeownership for granted.



You do not need to be a carpenter or contractor to volunteer. Those with skills and experience teach new volunteers, on the job. If basic carpentry is not your forte, there is much more to volunteering than hitting the nail on the head. Donating $5.00 gift cards to purchase sub sandwiches for the work crew would be much appreciated. Volunteer Coordinator, Nancy Prywitowski, introduced me to 4 volunteers who master the art of fun-with-a-purpose: Lowell and Linda, snowbirds from Wisconsin, and their friends, Rosemary and Bob, snowbirds from West Virginia. Collectively, they have been volunteering for over 16 years. They enthusiastically volunteer with the Habitat for Humanity’s RV Care-A-Vanners. Detailed information is on the website, but suffice it to say, over 2,000 RV’ers, volunteer to travel throughout the country building homes and friendships; they are enjoying purpose-driven retirement to the hilt. Lowell pointed out that each state is different, and every job is different, which makes it interesting. He also mentioned that, across the board, safety is of primary importance – OSHA standards are adhered to.


The ReStore, the Habitat for Humanity thrift store, could use help to arrange displays, stock donated items, do minor repairs to appliances and manage large or heavy donations. The ReStore proceeds cover all administrative costs of the organization. Donations are tax-deductible. If donating furniture or large items, call to schedule pick-up service in advance.


The Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge offers college or university students, age 16 on up, the opportunity to volunteer during their school breaks, at a U.S. Habitat for Humanity affiliate of their choice; in Florida, for spring break, they volunteer Monday through Thursday, and typically end the adventure with a beach party on Friday. The website highlights volunteer opportunities for youth groups and high school students as well.



Women Build is a Habitat for Humanity international program, offering women and girls the opportunity to learn construction skills. Around the world, women crews have built thousands of homes, which consequently serve to improve communities. Women and children are typically the population more likely to be affected by poor living conditions. An increasingly popular live auction to benefit Women Build, Mr. Studfinder Charity Auction, is Friday, March 23rd, from 6:00 P.M. – 10:00 P.M. Women and girls have the opportunity to learn how to use a variety of tools at the upcoming Women Build Workshop, Saturday, April 14th at Lowe’s in Jensen Beach, from 10:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. Also, volunteers are invited to help build a house on Women Build Day, coming up Saturday, May 12th, at 1490 SW Carter Ln, Indiantown, FL. Additionally, all are welcome to attend the following 2018 home dedications in Indiantown: March, 3rd, April 21st, May 12th and June 16th.


It is a labor of love to build a Habitat for Humanity house, but the outcomes are well worth the effort, and at the end of the day, families can relax and unwind in their own special place to call home.


For more information:

Nancy Prywitowski

Volunteer Coordinator

Se Hable Espanol: 772-223-9940, ext.226

volunteer@habitatmartin.org

habitatmartin.volunteerhub.com