If you could compare it to anything, one might say the Carter Work Project* for Habitat for Humanity is like a hive of bees. The sounds of buzzing saws and clanking hammers were a perpetual backdrop to the scurry of more than 900 volunteers working as one to help complete construction on 75 homes in this Habitat project. From July 9 – 14th, 2017, more than 50 employees across Pacesetter Homes and Qualico Edmonton committed time to volunteer for this amazing and inspirational project.
I was one of them.
The project is larger than life. Each volunteer executing his or her own task with focus—united with the hundreds of others doing just the same—creates a machine of compassion, churning out house after house to be filled with the futures of deserving families.
My house was #49, a duplex which at the beginning of the week only had one side of the main floor erected. By the time I arrived on Thursday, both sides had main floors, windows and doors were being installed, and interior walls were placed. The progress achieved by these volunteers in such a short time is unreal. In fact, by the end of the week we pushed our home forward so much so that the homeowner will be able to take possession a full month ahead of schedule.
At one particular moment on the way to refill my work belt with nails, my senses were suddenly very aware of everything happening around me. I paused for a moment in the centre of the worksite, looked around, and saw so much vitality, so much love moving in all directions. Future homeowners could not contain their smiles, and they appeared to be having just as much fun as the rest of us building their homes.
Even the mornings start out on an exponential high note. After the volunteer breakfast, hundreds of us walk the few blocks to the build site, but there’s a surprise. Along the walkway is a line of smiling people in green shirts—future homeowners shaking hands, hugging, and thanking the volunteers as they walk by. They are so happy, and you can feel the emotion in the air as you pass.
Not only was this an amazing experience to be part of such a massive project, but it was the ultimate exercise in team building. It creates a unique kind of bond doing a positive thing for others with your coworkers. You feel amazing to be able to help someone in need, while spending time in the beautiful outdoors and truly having fun in the process. The atmosphere is sizzling with positivity and camaraderie like nothing I’ve ever seen, and the short time I was able to spend helping out was so rewarding.
If you would like to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, feel free to visit their website. There are many different ways to volunteer, and a variety of projects and opportunities waiting for your help. Seeing the happy faces at the end of these builds is what makes it all worthwhile.
Here is a collection of photos from this event.
Habitat for Humanity has also published a heartwarming video covering the events of the week. Watch:
Have you volunteered for an initiative that made you feel amazing? We’d love to hear about it.
* The Carter Work Project is an initiative created jointly by Former US President Jimmy Carter and Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Habitat for Humanity. For the past 30 years, Mr. and Mrs. Carter have traveled across 14 countries building, repairing, and renovating thousands of homes for families in need of safe, affordable housing.