I didn’t realize that the North Collin County Habitat for Humanity office was just off of the square (down Tennessee Street).
My folks are active in Habitat and I’ve always thought it would be fun to go help build a house sometime. Orientations are mandatory, so I finally got mine out of the way this past Thursday.
The volunteer coordinator, Andrea Tabor, is great. So much energy… so expressive. I think she said that she helps coordinate four thousand volunteers. I had no idea that there could be so many or that there were so many ways volunteers can help. They don’t just need volunteers to hammer nails, though that is important. They also need folks to help select families and mentor them throughout the entire process, which includes a 20 year mortgage on the house. There are volunteer positions that never involve picking up a tool. She said that they recently needed someone who could speak the language indigenous to Ethiopia. She put out the word and got nine responses! Who would have thought?
I came away very impressed. Habitat can build a house over the course of 12 Saturdays with a full compliment of volunteers (35). They are planning to build 10 homes during 2010. And the homes sound nice. Typically 1,000 to 1,250 square feet, one story with a carport and secure storage room, and 3 to 4 bedrooms with 2 baths depending on the size of the family. The cost to the family is $60,000 for a 3-bedroom and $65,000 for a 4-bedroom house. This is not a give-away. Qualifying families have to currently be living in substandard housing and earning between 30% to 60% of the median income. Maximum hours at minimum wage and no break in sight.
When I was there, there were five or six Bank of America employees signing up too. I had not seen all the BoA commercials at that time. Since then, I’ve seen at least half a dozen commercials about how BoA gives back to the community. Last year their employees donated 800,000 hours of community service. This year, they are shooting for 1,000,000. When I got home from the orientation, I searched for information on the program and found this link:
What a cool program! Kudos to Bank of America!
Habitat offers scheduled orientation one Thursday and two Saturdays of every month but can schedule other orientations for large groups at other times. They can also sometimes fit a person into a special orientation that is not on the regular schedule and is not published.
Smile For Habitat is staging their annual benefit concert on May 30th in Adriatica. The concert will feature Gavin DeGraw and the Maylee Thomas Band. There is no charge to attend but donations are always appreciated.
The Courier Gazette recently published a great article with all kinds of details about the event. (click here) Check it out!
Here is a video explaining more about Smiles For Habitat:
I don’t know that this has a lot to do with the square other than its office being close by. Still, I think it’s pretty neat and thought I’d pass it on.