Last summer the Field Team became a house sponsor for the Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity. The entire team was excited to participate in something that would make a positive effect on the community. This wasn’t just about sending another check; it was about our team getting out there and rolling up our sleeves, putting in the work, and getting it done. While many of the team members signed up to volunteer to learn new home building skills, or to teach someone a skill that they already knew, strange things started happening to our team. While our entire team knew that we were building a house for ‘someone,’ when the family showed up to help and we worked side by side, it suddenly became real. It was no longer just a house we were building; it was a home for a family that we knew. And while all the realness of the build set in, other things started happening to the team as well.
During the build, team members worked with others they rarely got to work with; we saw team members face new challenges and learn how to overcome them, and it helped the team as a whole to find a new perspective on priorities. The Habitat build was also a great way for those without home building skills, to become a project leader on part of the build to enhance their leadership skills. Even those without experience in leadership took on leadership roles in the home build and we saw those team members develop and enhance their leadership skills. During the build we saw team members who were usually shy at work, take charge and come out of their shells. We saw confidence grow by leaps and bounds in others; we saw an increase in team work, an improvement in communication skills, and a new bond being formed throughout the team. But most of all, because of the realness of the build, we saw an entire group of people put aside their own fears and help someone else build a dream.
The build became more than just sending a check; it was a way to make a real, tangible, positive difference for a family. It was about doing something extraordinary for someone who needed a hand up. It was about getting the team out of their comfort zones and doing something unique for someone else that would change their lives. It was about doing something selfless for someone else. It became the team’s mission to impact this family’s life and improve their future.
Looking back at what we did last year, we know that we did something amazing. How many people can actually say that they built someone else a home, from the ground up? It was a wonderful experience in many ways and one of the most rewarding experiences for the entire Field team. So if you’re thinking about sponsoring a Habitat Home Build, it’s a lot of work, a lot of time, a lot of money. Organization is crucial, volunteers to help will be even more crucial. It will be overwhelming at times. You will become a contractor, a motivational speaker, a weather tracker, a teacher, a leader, a painter, a roofer, a drywalller, and most importantly you will become a hero in the eyes of a family that needs you.