Habitat ReStore Seeks Volunteers
The Loveland Habitat for Humanity ReStore is looking for great volunteer groups and individuals to give back to the community in a fun retail environment! ReStore volunteers support Loveland Habitat’s mission to provide decent and affordable housing to lower and middle income families and individuals. Volunteers help process and arrange the donated merchandise; whether it be clothing, furniture, housewares, books or electronics. We are always looking for great sales associates to help customers and donors on the sales floor and in our receiving area. The ReStore offers flexible time slots, Monday through Saturday. We accept volunteer groups as large as 20 people and as young as 15 years old. To learn more about ReStore volunteer opportunities, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Amy Zander. (970) 669-7343 or email@example.com
Girls Just Want to Have Fun! (Even Retired Ones)
By Joan Leri-Marcinkewicz, Regular Volunteer
It was nearly five years ago that I decided I wasn’t having enough fun! I had retired from my high school teaching career several years earlier, and while I enjoyed spending time with my husband and family, traveling, bicycling, gardening with no set schedule, I kept feeling like I could be doing something more in my life.
Then one day I was chatting with some women in my neighborhood who had worked for Habitat for Humanity in another city. They recalled how they threw a “stud party” for a Habitat home. People came to the site and made small monetary donations to paint on construction studs for the newly framed house. The artwork and messages they left were diverse—affection for the new home owners, Bible passages, congratulations, advice, good wishes and hopes for the future. It sounded like a lot of fun and a great way to enclose love and optimism in the new home. I had contributed money to Habitat International in the past, but suddenly the idea of actively volunteering my time and energy to a local chapter took root. I called the Loveland Habitat Chapter.
Orientation was very easy and the coordinator went out of her way to match tasks to the talents and needs of the volunteers. Even though my husband and I travel several times a year, I could still contribute in ways that would fit in with my scheduled trips. I settled on working in the administrative office one morning a week. Duties included everything from clerical work and taking snacks to the construction sites for the volunteers to photographing new home dedications and putting together display boards for various events. I met many great people and had fun along the way.
I was soon helping with special events like the Voyage to Africa and the first Home Sweet Home Christmas event at the Loveland Embassy Suites. At Home Sweet Home I had the opportunity to take a local glass workshop called “Artisan You,” where I made little glass “home” ornaments to decorate the tree. How funwas that! We even won an award for our tree decoration that year. Home Sweet Home is now an annual event that not only raises money for Habitat and provides an outstanding family holiday outing, but is a lot of fun for the volunteers!
Gradually, my Habitat volunteering expanded to include several Women Build and Build-a-Thon construction days, during which I painted, caulked, framed and even used power saws and hung drywall. Through these experiences I gained new respect for the skills of our construction volunteers and the effort that Habitat puts into these quality homes. And I expanded my own confidence in what I am capable of contributing. And did I mention? It was fun!
Over the years, watching the stream of talented and giving young people who have come into the Habitat sphere has been beyond fun. It’s also been inspiring for me to meet all of these dedicated and creative individuals: the Bike and Build youth who travel through Loveland and stay a few nights every summer, building houses on their way across the country; the Iraqi students from CSU who help with a build day and take the experience home with them; the local high school music students who perform at Home Sweet Home each year; the high school construction class that gets practical experience working on a Habitat home; and the many other high school and college students who often volunteer on site and at special events. It does a Baby Boomer like me good to meet all of these caring young people.
It’s hard to believe that nearly five years have gone by since I started volunteering at Loveland Habitat. When I started, they had yet to complete their 100th home. Now, they’re at 119 and counting! I hope to be around when they reach 200 and beyond. Hanging out at Habitat is just too much fun!
Kearney, NE Church Mission Trip
First Presbyterian Church in Kearney, NE traveled with a group of 8 volunteers to Loveland, CO at the end of May to build with our affiliate. Joining them was another volunteer from Vail, Colorado, son to the team leaders, to experience build opportunities in this area for families in need. Kay Payne, one of the team leaders, served on the Habitat board in Kearney for many years. She and her husband, Rodger, have also traveled to build with other affiliates as part of the RV Care-A-Vanners program. Kelsey C., a youth member of the church, shares her experience of building with our affiliate:
“This was my first mission trip by myself and my first time coming to Colorado so I was pretty excited to see what’d we be doing. Teaming up with Habitat was a great experience; we got to meet and connect with the people and help with the houses being built. It was also cool to go into someone’s Habitat home and hear how they’ve grown and changed through their experience with Habitat. Overall it’s been an inspiring trip.”
Collegiate Build Reflection
By Andrew Duback, volunteer from Oakton Community College
Arriving in Loveland, I had much to expect from a place so different from my home in Chicago. I was amazed at how clean and beautiful the town looked as we drove in after 16 hours on the road.
The mountains were beautiful and the sun shone brightly. On Memorial Day, we didn’t work and took the day to do a hike on the Rocky Mountain National Park trail. I felt so blessed to be able to see the beauty of this trail, much like I had hoped to see in Colorado.
My eyes were enjoying the beauty of the state but my hands had not yet done any work. On our first day of work at the Loveland Habitat construction site, I was eager to start and feeling great. I was already falling in love with Loveland and my Habitat work group from college.
When I arrived on site, I was impressed that there were also many other non-student volunteers. This added to the experience, not only because it reminded me how many good people there are in the world, but because these volunteers used their experience to teach us. We learned how to work many different jobs and had the guidance of our leaders Shelly and Levi, which I appreciated so much.
Once, when I was preparing to caulk and paint the trim on the bottom of a wall, I realized I didn’t exactly know what to do. Levi showed me how: first, cover the nails with putty, then, caulk the edges of the trim, and finally, paint. It made things so simple and all of a sudden I became a master caulker and painter!
Gathering together for lunch every day was a time of relief and reflection. We did not over-work ourselves, but it was nice to eat some food after building up an appetite. One day, we gathered in the basement of the house we were dry-walling—a cool retreat from the hot sun. It was then that I really understood the incredible process of building that house—so many hands had helped build it, including my own. When I walked back upstairs after lunch was over, I noticed the walls looked different. Together, we had put up a lot of drywall and the wall started to look like it was truly part of a home. It was a group effort—even when I was tired or didn’t know what to do, someone always came alongside me to lend a helping hand.
I volunteer with Habitat not only because it is a way for me to do some good in this world while learning construction and building skills, but so that I can meet like-minded people who are very easy to make friends with. I would like to thank everyone who went on the trip, as well as all of the people who watched over us on our journey. It was an excellent time of growth and discovery. I learned how to have patience and give other people the opportunity to learn. I also learned to share and give others the opportunity to use the same hammer that I used. I can’t wait for my next Habitat trip.