I started volunteering last year purely to help out a friend. She was working with a group of women to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity on a Saturday in February 2014. I came along because she needed more bodies for her crew. Sure I was intrigued about what I would get to do as my only other experience volunteering with Habitat was when I was 15 in SC and was pretty much a gofer… “Gofer this, gofer that.” So I didn’t have a really clear idea of what I would be expected to do or know as a 31 year old nurse with no construction background beyond hanging up some pictures and lots of arts and crafts.
I showed up dressed in old clothes and comfy shoes and got to experience one of the most amazing things. I was greeted by several smiling faces. I met Madeline, the Volunteer Coordinator, who I soon learned would be my guide into the wide world of Habitat volunteering, with her easy smile and genuine concern for the families. I dutifully handed over my paperwork, signed in for my first volunteer day, found out what group I was suppose to be representing (I still don’t remember to this day) and stood back to wait. I was given a program outlining why we were there.
This day we were doing a wall-raising. Coming into it, I thought we would raise a few walls, set a few things up and leave the rest to be done at a later time. We were introduced to an incredibly sweet family who had been working hard to stay afloat like so many of us but couldn’t seem to get ahead. We prayed together, listened to some heartfelt words of thanks from the family waiting to start on this new path to a better life. When we started it was a flat slab of con