The following blog post was written by Kelty Christensen, Learner Engagement Officer at the School of Global Access.
Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity was a bucket list item for me. It was a great experience.
Habitat for Humanity helps build affordable housing for families. As part of the Intercultural Centre's commitment to contributing to the community, our ICan Crew and SABVC partnered to help support a Habitat for Humanity home build. Volunteers spent the day measuring, cutting and installing drywall in a 5-plex townhome in the Calgary community of Bowness.
One of the great things about Habitat for Humanity is that they provide volunteers an opportunity to jump right in and start building regardless of the level of their experience. From safety to building know how, volunteers were provided with all of the equipment and training needed to install drywall under the supervision of an experienced crew leader. Some volunteers had experience in carpentry, while others had never done any kind of construction before. By the end of the day, ICan volunteers were pros at installing drywall! For several of our international volunteers, the kind of building materials used in Canada are very different from that of which is used in their home countries, where the use of cinder blocks, cement and marble are more common materials.
Each volunteer took something different away from the day. According to an international volunteer, “I didn’t know what drywall was! It was a word that I had never heard before. Now I know how to cut it and drill it.”
When asked why one volunteer wanted to be part of the day, she responded, “I grew up poor. I lived in a shelter. If someone else doesn’t have to experience that kind of feeling and I can help a family out, I will. I am grateful that I have a home for my son and myself. I want other families to feel the same.”
Another volunteer exclaimed, “Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity was a bucket list item for me. It was a great experience. For me, today was about leadership and teamwork.”
The IC encourages involvement through service and the awareness of issues that face our community. Students experience the benefits of contributing to their community in a positive way that extends beyond campus life.
Whatever the reason that brought volunteers out, they all agreed that they would love to continue volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. It was a fun day of learning, hard work and fulfillment by all involved. When a home is completed, it is inspiring to think of how many hundreds of hands contributed to making a dream come true for a family.