Volunteers are our life force here at Habitat. We could not complete our mission without them. This spring marks two major volunteer events here at Habitat Seminole-Apopka: Women Build and the annual Volunteer Appreciation Party. Both of these events are new to me. While I have participated in a Women Build event, I have never had to help organize one. And again, while I have attended a Volunteer Party, I have never had to help plan one. But, thanks to some pretty amazing staff members, I had plenty of assistance and gained some valuable knowledge in planning special events! As an AmeriCorps member, you learn quickly how to think on your feet, because often you will be thrown into situations you have never had to handle. While this can be frustrating at times, in my opinion it has made me better at my job. As I stated earlier, it does help to have an incredibly supportive staff.
So, let’s start with Women Build. For Habitat affiliates across the country, the month of May is about celebrating women through Women Build. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Women Build is an event held every year meant to empower women and provide the opportunity for women to serve in their communities. I think that as women, we too often we underestimate ourselves and our abilities, especially in a male-dominated field like construction.
This year our women builders raised more than $149,000 and about 113 people put in over 452 hours on one of our construction sites. They did everything from putting up drywall to building exterior walls and hanging sheathing. Many women learned to use a circular saw, nail gun, and (for some) a hammer for the first time. What was even more fun to watch were the friendships and encouragement between women who, in many cases, barely knew each other before their build day. These women are not only building up our community; their building up each other.
This is what all our volunteers do. They help to provide strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter here in Seminole County and Greater Apopka. So, on May 17th we celebrated all our volunteers and recognized a few of those who have gone above and beyond. We celebrated our Women Builds, we celebrated Mike and Kenny, construction volunteers that are on site every day and we celebrated Brenda for ten years of extraordinary service at our Restore. But it was not just us here at Habitat that celebrated the volunteers! The community came together to celebrate them as well: Sonny’s BBQ donated the food, the City of Longwood donated the space and several business donated gift cards and certificates.
I am so grateful to be a part of such a generous community. We have some of the best volunteers around! Thank you for helping us to accomplish our mission!