Before spending time on the build site, I definitely had some anxiety and nervousness about volunteering. Mainly because I had very little experience with home construction. My fears were of being in the way of actual progress, making a mistake on someone's home, making a fool of myself, and the introvert in me made me feel out of place with not really knowing anyone.
After actually spending time on site, many people are very welcoming and appreciative of any help whether it's something big or small. There's always someone who will stop what they're doing to teach you how to do something, all you have to do is ask. A lot of the regulars become friends and I would look forward to seeing them on Saturdays.
A favorite memory for me was the smoking hot, sunny day that we erected the exterior walls. So many of us using only our hands and strength with just hammers and nails to work together to build those walls and then raise them in unity as a team. It felt like such an accomplishment.
Having this home has given us a sense of pride, a sense of security that I will always be able to provide this home for my family, and peace of mind that my family is in a safe home.
As a single income family, there are many variables that could change in an instant from having a roof over our heads to a lot of unknowns. Having an affordable place to live that isn't unsafe or unstable means a lot to a parent. It gives that peace of mind that this home will always be here for us and as long as we're responsible homeowners and take care of it in a way that some landlords won't, it will always be a safe environment for us. I can go to sleep at night not fearing things that I did as a renter and that makes a huge difference.
Shanon Longaberger Alliance Area Habitat for Humanity Homeowner