Guest Blog by Cornerstone Graduate: Jaime Villarino
Not knowing what to expect my first day of volunteering for Habitat for Humanity of Greater L.A. (HFH GLA) I entered the Lynwood jobsite. I approached the site with a goal of doing what I could to help those in need. I was vaguely familiar with what Habitat for Humanity did for the community and what they stood for. They build homes, homes for low-income individuals and families, right? What I learned that first build day is that Habitat for Humanity is a community built on strength of character and compassion. They go beyond the scope of simply providing a home, they build a dream. Habitat for Humanity is an organization dependent upon bringing together volunteers with a wide range of talents to create a cohesive team and achieve a common goal. To provide families a hand up, not a hand out.
I was continually amazed throughout the day looking at all of the generous volunteers around me working to build new homes for hardworking individuals and families. At lunchtime we were fortunate enough to hear the soon to be homeowner speak. I was not expecting tears to well up in my eyes, but they did. These partner individuals and families are provided with the opportunity of a lifetime, to live the American dream and become pillars of their new communities. And they know it, they are so thankful to be afforded such an opportunity. For those with children, it is fulfilling to be able to watch them grow up in a warm, strong house that they can study in, feel safe in and then give back to the community.
My first Habitat experience was inspirational. I left eager to learn more. The following week I went to the website and saw that a "Cornerstone Training" was being offered. What a great opportunity to develop my construction skills and become the best volunteer I could be! I signed up on the spot and looked forward to the first day.
The Cornerstone teachers are amazing! I would describe them in a single word, patient. Never having used a 'framing' hammer before (aren't all hammers the same?), the teachers patiently watched as I diligently turned my 2x4 into a piece of swiss cheese. Before the night was over they had taught me how to properly swing the hammer and sink a nail. When I showed up on Saturday to frame and raise the house walls I was ready to go!
Each class discussed a new, exciting topic and the Saturday builds reinforced the knowledge with hands-on experience. I am grateful to Habitat and thank them for their compassionate spirit. I look forward to meeting new volunteers and encouraging them to attend Cornerstone!
Hal Hart Celebrates 10 Years of Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity of Greater L.A.
Cornerstone Graduates Put New Skills to Use
Cornerstone Training Builds Confidence
Labels: affordable housing volunteering, building skills, cornerstone training, Habitat for Humanity Greater Los Angeles