Fall of 2016 I joined Mount Saint Mary College’s club Habitat for Humanity. I was familiar with the organization and jumped at the opportunity when I saw my chance here at the mount. This club has allowed me to grow and develop new useful skills I can use on my own house when I become a homeowner one day. This also allowed me to join a community of people who welcomed me in, and made me feel like I was a part of a family unit. One of the many and best father daughter experiences I have ever had happened to be my first worksite on family day of my freshman year. I can still remember waking up late for the first time, and panicking to make the bus. I remember driving through the new city I was living in, and realizing just how much this place needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. But with every block we passed was a new opportunity to make a difference. I realized almost instantly the impact I would have if I truly was committed to participating in this club. After working my first worksite carrying doors up two flights of stairs all day, I had a continued appreciation for showers, and a passion and motivation to learn more.
Spring Break of 2016 I was fortunate enough with the help of my parents, to go out on a volunteering experience that completely changed my life. I went with the Mount to Laredo, Texas to help work on a house. To me the experience introduced me to amazing people who were all after the same goal, which was to change lives and make a difference in communities. I am learning in college that if you step outside of your comfort zone even for a second you will be grateful you did. On this trip I had the pleasure of meeting people I would have never had the pleasure of working with if I didn’t go on the trip. I learned on the trip how to install windows, and put siding on the side of a house. Meeting the family the home was going to was pretty awesome because they were very grateful for our help. For me I got some much more out of the experience than I originally thought. And I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Which brings me to my latest worksite. A lot of the same girls that went on my Texas trip last year came and they have become some of the best friends I have ever had. Waking up for these worksites isn’t always the greatest thing. But when you get your first assignment of the day, you begin to have this burst of energy. This worksite was awesome because it was a demolition day, so that means getting really dirty. I pulled a ceiling off, some insulation off of walls and removed nails from wood. Other people did some corking. There is always a moment that I find a challenge when doing these worksites. This challenge presented itself when I couldn’t get the screws out of the walls in the wood. I was using a hammer and struggling until I found a drill that solved my problem. Feeling relieved and encouraged again, I kept going until I ran into another problem. The head of the drill kept coming out. Luckily another kind student that knew what he was doing helped me. The supervisors helped as well in times of need. It’s always important, not just on worksites but also in life to ask for help when you are feel discouraged. You shouldn’t ever feel embarrassed about asking for help. After all, some things are a learning experience. After I asked for help I knew what I was doing, and I was grateful about it.
Bella Castrogiovanni ’19 had her first worksite and she said “Habitat has shown me that I can make a difference within the community.”
Habitat for me has become a family, and I no longer feel like I am helping making houses, but rather homes. So if you are even the slightest bit interested in this type of volunteering I would say go for it and try everything at least once.