Friday, September 14, 2012

Habitat for Humanity- The 2 Day Adventure

Happy Friday Everyone! I hope that you're week has been as successful as mine has!

This week, my work participated in the GM Cares - Habitat for Humanity event.  For this event, we went into the inner-city of Detroit and helped clean and board up abandoned houses around the Ronald Brown Academy Elementary School.  The purpose of this project was to create a safer environment for the children as they are walking home from school and while they are playing in the neighborhood.

I am posting about this today because this event was a two-day adventure!  On Wednesday, I woke up nice and early to go meet a few co-workers at our office to hitch a ride over with them.

It was early enough in the morning, that the sun had not begun to rise.  I do have to say, though, that the commute into work was very enjoyable because it was peaceful and there was no traffic what-so-ever.

Upon arriving at the event on Wednesday, we were signed in and put quickly to work.  I was assigned to what was called a clean-up crew, and we were responsible for cleaning the front yard, back yard, and garages of abandoned homes.  I was in complete shock at how bad of shape some of these homes were in.

The first picture is of a home where the weeds and grass in the back yard were literally up to my elbows.  We had to cut ourselves into the back yard in order to begin to assess the damage.  In the second picture, you can see a home that is missing all the windows and the brick around the front and side of the house.  There is also a hole in the wall on the second floor above the front door.

Cleaning up these homes was one of the more challenging things I have done in my life.  In the first home I worked on, we managed to find a ton of dead bugs, a lot of dust, and a very dead cat.  In fact, for a majority of the homes, it looked like the owners had grabbed all of their belongings and piled them in the garage before quickly leaving their home.  I think what saddens me the most about all of this is knowing that at one point this was someone's family home and the neighborhood was a thriving and growing community. 

Wednesday was my day of labor and I came home covered in dirt, extremely sore and beyond exhausted.  However, instead of being grumpy, I was very happy.  It was thrilling to know that we were making a difference in peoples' lives.

Today's event was not nearly as enjoyable as the one on Wednesday.  As anyone can guess, today it rained and it was cold.

 But people still showed up! There was a total of about 300 people that came to work between the 8-12 shift and the 12-4 shift and they worked hard even though it was cold and raining.

 I was fortunate enough to not be assigned to a clean-up crew for today, but rather was responsible for driving around and passing out coffee and water for the people working on the homes.  While I was relieved to not be working in the rain, I felt a twinge of guilt.  I wanted to be out there getting dirty and working hard, but I know that I was still doing my part by passing out the water to the crew members.

Overall, I think our crew ended up cleaning and boarding up 15 homes in 2 days. 
Habitat for Humanity is working hard to create a better community, not only in Detroit, but all over the United States.  If you are interested in volunteering in your area to help them build homes and help build better communities, please visit their site: Habitat for Humanity

Question of the Day:
What is the most rewarding volunteer work you have done? 

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