Sunday, July 16, 2006

Habitat for Humanity

On Thursday, July 13, 2006, my entire department volunteered 8 hours of our time, muscle and sweat to help build a house for Habitat for Humanity, a charity organization that provides home ownership to needy families.

The 3 lot property we worked on (1 house, and 2 duplexes with a shared wall) is located on the corner of Cottage Grove and Palmer in Glendale, CA.

"To qualify, each family's income had to be less than 80% of the county median income; there had to be verified need for a Habitat home; each family had to demonstrate adequate income to meet estimated monthly housing payments and expenses; and each family had to make a commitment to partner with Habitat for Humanity by completing at least 500 hours of Sweat Equity." Here I am surveying the construction site. I'm the 2nd person to the right in the photo, wearing my cream colored NPR hat.

The 4th person in the photo, the tall blond gentleman, is my department President, Bill. He has an impressive and diverse background: an Ivy League graduate (Stanford University), a Masters degree from USC, and a former US Marine. Having also lived in Hawaii (a very close knit community), Bill understands how important it is for companies/people to get involved in their local charity organizations and to give something back to their communities.
Here I am hauling rebar.

Thankfully they provided gloves (or else my hands would have been ripped to shreds).What seemed like a relatively easy task, to move a pile of rebar over to the other end of the construction site, was much more difficult than it looked. First off because it is a construction site. You can't just walk from point A to point B because of the trenches, stakes, areas that are impassable. The rebar was also quite heavy and long (approx 12 feet), so it required teams of 2 people working together.

I'm the 2nd one to the right in the photo above, working together with my coworker Roxana. We made a great rebar hauling team. =)I'm in the background walking with the chain gang, going back to haul more rebar.

These photos were taken by an intern, and she didn't get a photo of me shoveling, but I did this too. I spent hours shoveling and using a pick axe, to dig trenches for the plumbing pipes and sewage pipes.

There was a running joke that this activity made us appreciate our office jobs, and if we ever got out of line, all anyone had to say was "Do you wanna go back to the site?" Doing back breaking manual labor in the hot sun was not something us white collar workers were accustomed to. A few hours of laboring like that in 90 degree heat felt like 8 hours in an air conditioned office.

Uwe and some of my coworkers were concerned that I was working when I was sick, but it was important for me to participant and my strong work ethic made it impossible for me to bow out or to sit in the shade while there was work to do. A couple times I felt faint when I was shoveling, so I would step back, get out of the sun, get a drink of water, and bring water to my coworkers, and then get back to shoveling. The next day I was sore, but I was still glad I did it.

It was quite a team building experience. I worked along side my dept. President and Regional head in the trenches literally.

It was such a unique experience to work in such a different environment with my coworkers at all different levels. I know who I work best with, who I'd want on my team, and also who I'd vote off the island.

1 comment:

Mama said...

I bet this whole experience has not only made you very proud of who you work for, but it also gives you a whole new perspective about construction workers!:) Good for you Rose!