“Coming together is a
beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” - Henry
“Home” is a word that
instills a feeling of love, comfort, and cherished memories in me. A place full
of family. A place of celebration. A place to return to. Yet, in my years in
this country, living in Michigan, to Miami, and now Los Angeles, I’ve come
across the disheartening fact that a significant amount of people don’t have
this “home” to return to. Whatever their circumstance may be, they have lost
their home. They are left in a constant struggle to make ends meet, provide for
their family, and find temporary housing.
When I moved to Los
Angeles, I immediately got involved in local charities. I was raised Catholic
and was always very active in my community in Michigan, whether it be
volunteering for animal shelters, soup kitchens, or house builds in Appalachia.
I wanted to continue that service in Los Angeles.
I was introduced to
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles by some friends I was creating a
philanthropic social network with, called Be UnYted.
I couldn’t wait to get to my first build. I was paired with a wonderful team
from William Morris Endeavor (WME) and had an incredible (and tough) build day. We painted, we tore up
the yard, we helped with plumbing. Hello workout! (Skip the gym and do a build
day with Habitat!) My arms were ripped after! It was so wonderful to get my
hands dirty and actually see the fruits of my labor.
This is what I love so much
about Habitat: You can actually get involved. So often we get busy in our lives
and think we only have time to write a check. While donations are always appreciated, the soul appreciates the labor much more. Another bonus is meeting
the families that are going to be living in the homes. During the build, they
are right there alongside you swinging a hammer too! This brings me to another
very important fact about Habitat: It’s not a hand out, it's a hand up. These families are
required to put hundreds of hours of “sweat equity” into their homes, on top of
keeping up a mortgage that Habitat makes sure they can afford. Habitat truly
embodies this following quote: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
I have also been
honored to attend Power Women Power Tools for the past two years with Habitat. This is an
incredible day where “Power Women” from all over Los Angeles gather together
and frame walls for future homes in the area. It is a fun-filled celebration,
with hard hat decorating, silent auctions, photo booths, and most importantly,
building the frames for the homes! This year someone let me use the power saw,
and I was covered from head to toe in sawdust...#fail. There are always incredible, inspirational speeches and a chance to meet some of the families receiving the
homes. It is also a wonderful opportunity to network with other like-minded,
charitable women who are making a huge difference in this community. It's a truly
wonderful day that I always look forward to! (And the silent auction is to die for. I scored an amazing
“Behind the Scenes” tour to “Young and the Restless” that pretty much made my
mom’s dreams come true.)
So get involved with
Habitat today. They have built over 600,000 homes in 80 countries, and have
helped millions. It’s something you can get your family, friends, and workplace
involved in too! Schedule your own build day, do a fundraiser, and check out their ReStore. There’s
nothing like swinging a hammer and knowing that those nails are going to be the
foundation for someone’s home for the rest of their lives. Everyone deserves a
home to return to.
Labels: affordable housing, ashley noel, erin rank, framing homes, green building, habitat for humanity los angeles, power women power tools, sony