My first experience volunteering with Habitat for Humanity was in 2017 when a small group of Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce members volunteered on an unusually chilly spring Saturday. We spent the day working on the roof and insulating the packed dirt crawl space of a rehab home in Independence – on the same street as my first home as a baby. I learned a few new skills, got really dirty, and enjoyed wearing the most hideous safety glasses I could find. More importantly, however, I strengthened connections with the people who volunteered that day. In the process of giving time and energy to our neighbors in need, we were able to connect with one another on a level that I didn’t anticipate. Something about that teamwork and accomplishment brought me closer to everyone on that worksite.
But this isn’t about what I receive from volunteering; that’s simply a bonus. The greatest result of our day of work is that it was a tiny step toward helping a deserving family become homeowners. Habitat homeowners help build or repair their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable zero-interest mortgage or repair loan. This allows homeowners to achieve the strength, stability, and independence they need to build a better life and future for themselves and for their families. This is a crucial element of strong and healthy communities.
In learning more about Habitat’s mission and operations in eastern Jackson County, I wanted to include some of their volunteers in my Local Focus community portrait project. From there, I was given the opportunity to document the 2018 Women Build Week. I captured some highlights of the event with candid photos, portraits, and a short video as well. I met some incredible women from local trade organizations – most of them from the Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 2, young ladies studying skilled trades at local high schools, and volunteers from Lowe’s and many other local corporations that allowed their employees to take time off to serve their community. It was a great group of kind-hearted individuals coming together to rehabilitate an existing home and to build walls for a new home. It was amazing to see the progress made during this week!
Women Build Week Kickoff Event with Future Homeowners
Wall Construction for Future HomeRehab Work at Existing Home
Check out the highlight video here!