Framing the Future: Habitat Kid Frames Global Perspective
Even at 5 years old, Brenda Dorvil knew that her Habitat home was the beginning of a better life for her family.
“When I walked into the Habitat home the day we were previewing it… I just remember thinking that house was going to be something that would really help us in the future.”
While we know that a Habitat home does so much to make life better for parents, it’s their children—the second generation—who reap the greatest benefits from that home. Brenda is no exception: she thrived in high school and is now working on her bachelor’s degree in political science at Florida State University.
“I’ve always been interested in policies and rights—anything having to do with civil or human rights matters.”
She also just returned from an internship on the other side of the world.
Brenda heard about the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship from a friend and knew she had to apply. The grant program gives students the opportunity to study or intern abroad and emphasizes learning about culture and language to prepare individuals for a globalized world. When she learned that she had been awarded the scholarship, she was overjoyed.
Wanting to make an impact, she opted for an internship through a nonprofit organization called Patriots Ghana rather than a study abroad program. Not sure what to expect her first time out of the country, Brenda set out to Ghana to gain new perspective.
As the Human Rights Project Coordinator for Patriots Ghana, Brenda led her team in administrating outreach events to inform and educate families in Ghana about child labor trafficking, an endemic problem in Ghana, and how they can avoid it. Her team visited schools and homes to educate families and children and partnered with other organizations to uplift the community. She says she learned a lot about the community and the culture, and now considers herself a better-informed advocate.
“I learned how to better advocate for people across the board,” she says. “Because the culture is different, I had to learn to advocate for human rights in a way that wasn’t disrespectful (to that culture). It provided fresh perspective.”
Well aware of the solid foundation her own home provided while she was growing up, Brenda’s time in Ghana showed her how the importance of a stable home is universal. She says the families without housing stability were at greater risk of falling subject to child labor traffickers who target families who are struggling.
While the specific vulnerabilities associated with housing instability vary widely across the globe, one thing is universal: a secure home gives children and families a solid foundation on which to build a more prosperous life.
“I don’t think I’d be where I am today if it wasn’t for that home. It provided stability and that’s really crucial when it comes to developing as a person,” she says. “I definitely know how classism works because I experienced that growing up, it’s played a huge role in how I intend to do essentially what Habitat has done for my family.”
As for her next steps, Brenda has big dreams for the future. The college Sophomore is the Vice President of the Black Law Students Association and the Outreach Chair of the Ladies Mentoring Organization. This year, she’s also an intern at the FSU Center for the Advancement of Human Rights.
After she graduates, Brenda has her sights set on law school. She’s studying for the LSAT now, and plans to take the test in February. She hopes to practice human rights law in the public sector once she finishes law school, and she has her sights set on a career in international diplomacy after that.
“I just know it’s what I’m supposed to be doing,” She says. “I’m really passionate about how policies affect people and how we can work together towards creating initiatives that can help people that are disadvantaged.”
Brenda’s Habitat home gave her the solid foundation she needed to excel. Now, she’s working towards her dreams. What possibilities can your gift unlock?