Student Volunteers Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County Florida to help build houses for familiesBy Patricia Eugene, Tampa Bay Managing Editor
Homeownership is an American dream which represents family success and freedom. Often times individuals are not granted the same opportunities. Whether it is a death in the family or a physical disability, there are many obstacles that hinder the less fortunate from being able to purchase a home on their own. For over 25 years, Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County Florida, Inc has been helping families receive the joy of homeownership. The international mission principles for Habitat for Humanity are to: Demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ, focus on shelter, advocate for affordable housing, promote dignity and hope, and to support sustainable and transformational development. The Hillsborough County division, in particular, focuses "on showing the love of God to first-time homebuyers and families...by giving them a hand-up, not a handout." Habitat homebuyers must donate 300 hours to be able to assist with closing cost and make monthly mortgage payments. The homes are sold to homeowners at no profit with a no- interest mortgage. In a sense, volunteers are the heart of Habitat for Humanity because it is through their generosity that many families are able to call themselves homeowners when they otherwise could not.
I was honored to work with such a group of positive bright spirits when I volunteered for the WomenBuild Day. WomenBuild is a week where Habitat for Humanity partnered up with Lowes home improvement. Over 500 Lowes stores throughout the country donated tools, equipment, and most valuably, their times to help mothers and daughters come out and construct homes. The work is not easy. Hammering, lifting, and power tools can be scary and dangerous. However, equipped with a hard hat, gloves, and other safety precautions, I felt empowered after the experience. It was especially rewarding to see the lessons the young ladies learned about women empowerment in the male dominated field of construction.
Anyone interested in volunteering with Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County Florida, Inc should contact Yvonne Meredith. She is the Volunteer Services Manager. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also donate furniture at the Restore located at 3736 E. Hillsborough Avenue or visit the website, to get a list of upcoming events and information www.habitathillsborough.com.