How Habitat for Humanity Changed My Life
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How Habitat for Humanity Changed My Life

The experience is one you'll never forget.

How Habitat for Humanity Changed My Life

In high school, I spent a week each summer serving communities in Michigan's Upper Peninsula for Habitat for Humanity.

My first summer was quite the shock. I was expecting to paint a few fences, plant some flowers, and maybe learn how to use a power tool. Well, I learned a lot more than that.

I met the families of the house my group worked on. I ate food the family had prepared for my group out of generosity. I saw the mother cry in front of a room of strangers, while she explained why she needed our help.

I saw a woman who wanted to save her fathers house so that she could raise her daughters in a family home.

The trip no longer became about painting some random house but preparing this house for a family we now knew.

During my second summer with habitat, I spent a week working at a house that was fairly far along in the process. My group mainly painted the interior of the house. While this may have seemed like tedious work at the time, the habitat worker we followed everyday encouraged us to enjoy the work we were doing. We marveled at how hard this man was working on a strangers home. He was meticulous about every detail. It wasn't until the final days we learned that that worker was the owner of the house. He was a father to three children and was working so hard because this was his new home. I left that house knowing that that man would never know how touched I was because of his dedication to his wife and kids.

In my four Summer's spent working with Habitat for Humanity, I never once had a bad experience. Every year I wanted to stay longer. Every year I talked about the trip nonstop to anyone who would listen when I came back home.

I encourage anyone who can to give some of their time to their communities to build homes. The experience will change you.

When I think of the UP now, I think of the warm hospitality I felt from each town we worked in. I think about the wall I helped build, the rooms I painted, and everything in between. The people we worked for gave their time out of the kindness of their hearts. They met new people every week who were volunteers and treated them like old friends. I think it takes a special type of person to commit themselves to a project like that and to work with different people everyday. But anyone can be a volunteer. Anyone can give a little bit of their time. Their are so many communities out there that need help.

Habitat for Humanity changed the way I viewed myself and the areas around me. The experience made me reevaluate how I react when I meet new people and hear their stories. Every summer since there has been an absence during the week I would go on my mission trip. I can't wait to someday return and see how those families are doing. They always spoke about how much our help meant to them, but in all honesty....when they allowed us into their homes, it meant so much more to us.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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