Extol | Celebrating Southern Indiana and Beyond Extol Digital November 2023 | Page 23

Habitat For Humanity Builds Hope , One Home at a Time

In a world where many families struggle with inadequate shelter and homelessness , Habitat for Humanity has emerged as a beacon of hope and a catalyst for change . Established in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller , this nonprofit organization has been tirelessly working towards a singular mission : to provide decent and affordable housing for all . For nearly five decades , Habitat for Humanity has played an instrumental role in transforming lives and communities , making the dream of homeownership a reality for countless families around the globe .
Habitat for Humanity operates on a unique model that sets it apart from conventional charity organizations . “ There ’ s a myth around Habitat for Humanity , that it ’ s just a giveaway ,” said Jackie Isaacs , Director of Operations at Habitat for Humanity . “ People think that it is just for the very low income and the very , very needy when really it ’ s affordable housing for the working population .”
Instead of giving away homes , the organization employs a “ hand-up , not a handout ” approach . Partner families work alongside volunteers to construct their own homes . These “ sweat equity ” hours not only instill a sense of pride and ownership , but also foster a deep connection between the families and the community .
Volunteerism is at the core of Habitat for Humanity ’ s operations . The organization ’ s success largely depends on the commitment and dedication of millions of volunteers who contribute their time , skills , and enthusiasm . “ I started with the organization in 2005 as a volunteer and I tell people that I just drank the Kool Aid ,” said Carin Veach , Construction Manager . “ The mission resonates with me . We are giving you the opportunity to get into a home , we are going to help you build it , we ’ re going to pay for the upfront costs , but then on the back end , you get to pay it back . I can come out for a day and give my time because I ’ m going to be working right alongside the person that is building the house . That ’ s what hit home
for me .”
The volunteer experience not only provides a unique opportunity to make a tangible difference , but also leaves an indelible mark on the hearts of those who participate . Many volunteers continue to be involved with the organization , driven by the sense of fulfillment and camaraderie . “ Our job is to teach people to engage people . I once heard a homebuyer say ‘ you don ’ t have to live next door to me to be my neighbor .’ We are building a community and everyone is part of that community ,” said Carin .
Habitat for Humanity habitat . org / volunteer • ( 800 ) 422-4828
Visit us at ExtolMag . com 23