I have always wanted to work on a Habitat for Humanity house. It just always seemed really cool.
But I'm busy and I didn't really know how to sign up and don't you have to go as a group and... so I never did. You know how it is. Good thing there are people our there who do stuff anyway, like my daughter's National Honor Society advisor. She set up a day for the 12th grade Honor Society students to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. And she needed adults to come along. She emailed me personally and asked if I would be willing. I rearranged my schedule.
My group spent the day painting the inside of a house. (We were really glad we got that assignment because it was about 10 degrees that day. Some of the other groups spent the day working outside. Brrr.) The lady from Habitat was so nice and so helpful. She explained everything so clearly. (Several of the kids had never painted anything.) And she explained Habitat's mission in a way that made so much sense. (Did you know that the owners are required to put in a lot of hours helping build the house? There are two reasons for this, one, it gives them a sense of ownership of the house, and two, it teaches them the skills they need to maintain the house. They know how to put up a shelf, paint a wall, fix a hole, replace a light fixture, etc. Brilliant.) The kids and I worked hard and we painted the whole house. We felt like we accomplished something and we had a good time.
I was impressed with this group of kids. There were about 10 in my group. They were pretty evenly split between African-American, Asian, Hispanic and Caucasian. Several were children of immigrants and several were immigrants themselves. They were all members of the National Honor Society which means that they have maintained a GPA of 3.6 or higher throughout high school and committed to providing service for their communities. All of them are planning to attend college and major on a variety of fields from medicine to archeology to environmental science. And some are still undecided. That's ok, too. (Nearly everyone changes their major at least once anyway.) None are wealthy, all have had to work hard and make sacrifices. They are smart and kind and they really don't care what country you come from, what color your skin is, or whether you speak with an accent. They care about how hard you are willing to work and how you choose to treat other people.
I'm looking forward to another day with Habitat and meeting some more amazing service minded people.