Habitat for Humanity is an international nonprofit organization that works with local communities in approximately 70 different countries. Habitat’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. In my first year at the University of Guelph, I went on my first volunteer trip with Habitat for Humanity. Over our reading week, we traveled in 3 vans to South Carolina where we stayed in Charleston. During our stay, we worked on several different projects including working at the re-store, doing repair jobs, demolition and insulating houses. This trip really opened my eyes and made me so thankful for the life that I have. We got to meet so many amazing people, including some of the families that actually live in a Habitat home. I enjoyed this volunteer experience so much that in my second year I went on the trip to Florida, and this year I’m planning on being a trip leader. I would definitely recommend going on a trip with Habitat for Humanity, it’s a super fun way to spend your reading week and gives you a great volunteer experience to put on your resume!
1. Make new friendships and connections
During the trip, you will meet so many new people! You will get to know your fellow volunteers as you work together throughout the week. You will also get a chance to meet the people that work for Habitat in the community and some of the individuals or families that you are building the houses for. Going on this trip will allow you to connect with new people that live in a different environment. Below is a picture with me and the volunteers that went on the trip to Florida last reading week.
2. Manage real responsibilities
Often times non-for-profit organizations don’t have any paid staff, so they rely heavily on volunteers. This means that the volunteers are given a lot of responsibilities. They do a large portion of the physical labour including; construction, demolition, lifting and organizing furniture. You get the chance to do things that you have never had to do before. During my South Carolina trip, I learned how to insulate a house!
3. Immerse yourself in a new environment
Habitat for Humanity works with communities all over the world, so there are so many places that you can travel to! The University of Guelph organizes the majority of their trips to the United States. While you are there you get to experience what it feels like to live in that community. During the week, volunteers get to go on excursions and explore the place they are staying in! Last year on the Florida trip we went to Disney World, and Madeira Beach. Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity gives you the opportunity to experience new places and travel for an affordable price.
4. Build your resume and gain new skills
Volunteer experience is a great thing to add to your resume. The skills and people you meet while volunteering will strengthen your overall character and help strengthen your communication skills. You can apply the skills you learn to both your everyday life and in your career.
You can gain the following skills from volunteering:
The ability to work in a team
5. Be a part of lasting change
A big part of volunteering means being a part of an attempt to create change that will last for a long time. No matter what the nonprofit organization's goals are, anything you can do to contribute is a big help. Just by you going and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity for one week, you are helping to change people’s lives. The people that are receiving these houses are so grateful and appreciate all the work that the volunteers do.
All photos courtesy of author.