Spend a day volunteering for Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley, and there’s a good chance you’ll hear the phrase “thank you” more times than you can count.

That is because, at Habitat, we know that each and every Habitat volunteer makes a difference. That might seem like a lot of pressure (don't worry, you're not building an entire house yourself!), but one of the biggest perks of the gig is that you don’t do it alone. It takes a community to build a community, and there’s no better example than our incredible community of volunteers.

And community is why there’s a common thought expressed among Habitat volunteers: “You get more out of it than you put into it.”

While we may beg to differ — Habitat gets a lot out of our volunteer support with 80% of a Habitat home being built by volunteers — there are plenty of benefits of volunteering with Habitat for Humanity:

  1. Learning new skills and working toward a worthy goal.
  2. Making a tangible impact on a dire housing crisis.
  3. Getting to know Habitat homeowners - the people who empower themselves through affordable homeownership.
  4. And most importantly, the feeling of community and connection that volunteers make with each other.

Volunteer_MonicaMack-edited-quoteFor long-time volunteer, Monica, volunteering is a way to share what she's grateful for. "I am blessed to have enough- a safe roof over my head, food in the fridge, and time for leisure activities,” says Monica. “I believe I am meant to share these gifts the Lord has given me so I take my time to volunteer."  Monica keeps coming back because that she loves working alongside like-minded volunteers to build homes and communities - which is evident in the number of Build-A-Thons and Women's Build events she has helped lead crews for! 

It’s not easy to find the words for this kind of connection in a blog, but there is this energy that pulses through the construction site, the ReStore, the Playhouse Workshops, and even our offices when volunteers finish a project and see the difference they made with their fellow volunteers. 

This connective engery is obvious at every Home Dedication, when new Habitat homeowners celebrate their accomplishment with the community that helped them build their way there. In the hugs and clasping of hands, there’s a feeling of shared joy and something more: the sense that we did this monumental thing, together.

Or now, in the everydayness of time spent in the company of fellow volunteers, regardless of the occasion or the task. In a time when circumstance has made connection with others so tenuous and all the more vital — the simple luxury of sharing space and working in common spirit feels monumental in and of itself.

terilyn CWP Kirk -St- A 8-24-1You’ll feel it in something as simple as working shoulder to shoulder — there’s nothing like the feeling of many hands on many 2x4s, and pairs of feet walking in unison to raise that wall. Or in the less glamorous but no less meaningful ways, like sitting down together for a water break after you and your crew hefted a stack of drywall from one spot to another. 

You’ll feel it when you show up for a team building day with co-workers or community group members and leave as friends, like Kirk, who volunteered with his church one time and continued to volunteer ever since.“We can contribute together as one team effort,” Kirk says. “We can make a difference together!”

Community is central to our mission — we strive to bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope. It’s there in our goal and in how we achieve it. And, for our volunteers, it’s a little something to take away besides some sweat and maybe a splatter of paint, work day after work day.

Thank you to the thousands of volunteers who join this community each and every year and carry our Habitat values and mission with you on and off the construction site! Together, we build more. 

About the Author

Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley

As an independent affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley believes in a world where everyone has a decent place to live. We create opportunities for families to transform their lives, gaining the strength, stability, and self-reliance they need to build a better future. Working together as a community, we build homes with affordable mortgages, repair and renovate existing homes, counsel first-time homebuyers, and revitalize neighborhoods in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara counties. For more information, please call 866.450.4432.

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