Living in Phoenix, when I hear people talk of building a home my immediate thought is “those poor construction workers.”  Who would want to spend all day out in the scorching heat doing manual labor: holding up heavy pieces of dry wall and two by fours, hammering away only to miss and pound your finger?  Then to end the day immersed in sweat and dirt, exhausted with aching muscles.  Sounds appealing right?  It must be the paycheck that makes up for the misery and motivates people to do this.  What if the paycheck was taken away?  Would you do it then?  Chances are you would say no.  What if you learned that a day of your labor and sweat could help bring a family one step closer to a dream they never imagined would happen?  Now would you do it? 
         That is what Habitat for Humanity is all about; it is about helping lower income families get out of their sub-standard housing and into a home of their own.  Is not that the American dream: to own a home?  Every day millions of people around the world are forced to live in decrepit, old, run down buildings because it is all they can afford.  They spend hours each day working hard to provide their families with the basic needs but find it a struggle to do even that.  The thought of improving their situation seems virtually impossible.  These hopes and dreams no longer have to be shattered!  Habitat for Humanity has provided a way to get people in theseconstruction-023d circumstances out of the “rut” and into a home they can call their own.  Through sponsors, volunteers, and personal physical contribution (“sweat equity”) qualified families work hand in hand with the Habitat organization to build adequate and affordable housing.  Those who qualify for this experience are working families who have a two-year history of steady income, have good credit, have attended classes in home maintenance and finance and met other similar qualification by the Habitat organization.  Habitat’s goal is to eliminate poverty housing worldwide.  They have been working for twenty-six years and have established more than 120,000 homes in eighty-three countries and have yet to stop.  The process will continue until poverty housing is eliminated.
            I was privileged to have the opportunity to volunteer for a few hours helping to create someone’s dream.  I found that the grueling, sweaty, dirty work that construction workers go through really is not that bad.  In fact I loved it!  Who ever thought hanging drywall could be so much fun?  Maybe it was because it was a new adventure; perhaps it was because it is not something I have to do every day, or maybe it was the dedicated volunteer, Romeo, that kept me laughing.  I am sure these things helped contribute to my good time, however beyond this was a sense of satisfaction that I don’t often feel.  I believe it was the service rendered that gave me this wonderful feeling.  I can think of no better way to feel good than to help someone out.  That is the fabulous thing about Habitat for Humanity; it is based off of people volunteering their time and talents to help a family fulfill a dream, allowing both the family and the volunteer to experience the feeling of joy and accomplishment.  Isn’t that what life is all about?  






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                                                                                                                                       LESLIE SHORT