January 16, 2014
“When my co-worker asked me to come out and volunteer for Habitat’s 2011 Women Build, I thought she was crazy; I didn’t know a thing about building a house,” recalls veteran Habitat Williamson volunteer Tyler Morgan. “I showed up on the first day to a cement foundation with chalk lines on it and a big pile of walls. When we left at the end of the day, there was a shell of a house, including a roof. I was amazed! I worked every weekend on this house and fell in love with Habitat. Everyone was so helpful, and I was learning something new each work day.”
Each Saturday during the build seasons one can find Tyler on the Habitat build site with ample enthusiasm and her infectious smile. She is now a Crew Leader – one of an elite group of experienced Habitat Williamson volunteers who teaches and leads others. “During the week I sit behind a desk processing medical claims, so it is so satisfying to get out on the weekends and do something physical,” she explains. “There is nothing more rewarding than working alongside a home’s partner family as they make their dreams of owning a home come true.”
And Tyler should know . . . not only is she a Habitat Williamson volunteer, she is also a Habitat Homeowner.
“During my first build, I realized that I meet the requirements to apply for homeownership,” explains Tyler. “I completed the paperwork and was accepted into the program five weeks later. I built my home in the spring of 2012, right next door to the first home I volunteered to build. Now I finally feel safe and settled. My son is doing well in school and has tried new things like chorus, soccer, and football. It is a wonderful place to call home for a very, very long time.”
When most people think about volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, they picture a day of swinging hammers or painting walls. While Habitat Williamson is always in need of build volunteers and crew leaders like Tyler, the organization also requires the time and talents of volunteers in many other areas of its operation.
“We need individuals who are interested in helping with donations at the ReStore, budget coaching with our partner families, and filing and data entry in our administrative office,” explains Volunteer Coordinator Billy Whipple. “We are also always in need of hearty snacks and lunches at the build site for our volunteers. The preparation and delivery of these donated meals are a great way for younger volunteers (or church groups) to support Habitat. Volunteers also serve on our board and committees, bringing their specialized skills to the table to help further our affordable housing mission,” he added. “We would love to utilize your talents. Reach out to us and let us know how you would like to help!”
Tyler has advice for those who want to join on the build site, but might be apprehensive, “You don’t have to have building experience. Habitat Williamson has great people who are willing to help you learn something new and teach you to be safe while doing it. Before you know it, you will be fixing your own door or insulation.” Tyler has only one warning for the future Habitat volunteer, “Be careful – it might get in your blood, making you a volunteer for life like me!”
For more information or to become a Habitat Williamson volunteer, please visit http://www.hfhwm.org/get-involved/volunteer-opportunities/.