This summer, we said goodbye to our AmeriCorps crew leader, Vanessa, who was with us for 2 service years.
Vanessa was working in food service after graduating from YouthBuild, where she learned trade skills and a few professional certificates. A friend suggested she go to a Habitat open house on Lark Street. There, she learned about an opportunity to use her skills and give back through the Habitat AmeriCorps program. After a year on the build site with us, she signed on for a second year of service. Vanessa will be attending Hudson Valley Community College, with two scholarships, where she plans to pursue a degree in construction or early childhood. Read her reflection below.
I have been a proud AmeriCorps member for Habitat for Humanity Capital District for the last two years. Working with Habitat has been an empowering learning experience. Every day I worked, I showed up ready to learn. I had my days, however, when I didn’t have the confidence to succeed. I didn’t feel as though I could complete some of the tasks required in building a home. With the site manager and coworkers encouraging me and giving me the confidence I needed, I was able to get things done (that’s part of the AmeriCorps pledge! Click the video take watch me take the pledge).
In just two years, I completed five rehabs and and assisted with seven new construction homes. I learned how to install flooring, which involved doing a lot of cutting and measuring. Painting a home required a lot of patience and dedication. The walls had to be super perfect and it required a lot of detail. Cleaning out the homes before working on the home was also a lot of hard work and dedication. I learned how to operate handheld tools and secure a ladder safely. I had to use a port-a-potty to go to the bathroom. There were times when I went home sore. My clothes were never clean after a shift, yet I was proud of myself. I’m thankful to be able to be a part of such a powerful and inspirational movement. Seeing families happy to be in their own home, in a healthy home, made my heart smile.
There have been good days and bad days like any other job. Working with volunteers was very fun and inspiring. To see people wanting to help families have a better future was beautiful. To me, this experience was worth it. You have to have an open mind and a lot of patience, a good team and a good heart to be successful. And that, I received while being an AmeriCorps member for Habitat for Humanity.
Last June, Vanessa was profiled by Habitat for Humanity International. You can learn more about what brought her to Habitat in the article, linked here.