Volunteers have heart

Habitat and volunteering go hand in hand. If not for the generosity of so many in our community who give their time and talent, we wouldn’t be able to build affordable homes in partnership with local families in need. While most people think of Habitat volunteers as people spending long, hot days building homes, not all of them swing hammers on the jobsite. Construction volunteers are certainly a big part of who we are as an organization, but raising walls and hanging siding aren’t the only ways to make a difference for families in our community. Many volunteers help out with special projects in our office, assist customers in our ReStores or offer their time helping to teach homeownership classes. Others are English as Second Language tutors and Selection Committee volunteers. Then there are a few people in our community who come up with ways to combine their passion for helping others with their other passions in life.

One very dedicated volunteer, Terry, has taken on a unique and very helpful role within the organization. He attends our Home Dedication Ceremonies with his Nikon D7100 in hand, ready to capture the laughter, tears of joy, and the overwhelming sense of gratitude that are the trademarks of each and every one that we celebrate. If a picture is worth a thousand words, Terry has given us infinite stories to tell. His beautiful photography helps us share the unique journeys of our partner families, as well as the Habitat story. Terry recently took the time to put together a collection of some of his favorite moments and he shared a few words with us about his experience behind the lens for Habitat Collier. Read on to see what he has to say and to see for yourself some of the cherished moments he has captured.

 

In his own words

“I have attended 16+ dedication ceremonies over the past three years, and have taken in excess of 4,000 photos of the houses, the dignitaries, the funders, the supporters, the volunteers, the staff, the families and the children. Joy, love, and happiness are common to each dedication—by all participants! The homes built by Habitat create neighbourhoods, communities, affordable housing and safe environments for families and their children. Parents are able to work fewer jobs and hours and thus spend more time with their children—family time. Habitat provides so many quality supports to families prior to, during and following the completion of each house—almost guaranteeing success through these efforts. The baskets, the library of books and the blessings at each dedication symbolize the launch of a new life for so many. The gratitude expressed by parents as they speak validates all of the efforts of those who support Habitat families.

 

And for me, most of all, these efforts and successes are reflected in the children and their parents—I am in awe as I watch the parents interacting with their children—the joy in the faces and the smiles are so amazing. The laughter and the smiles are so telling. Many of the Habitat kids in this photo exhibition are very young and have a new life ahead of them. Others are older and have experienced the benefits of being a Habitat Kid—I have heard of success at school, graduation from high school, scholarships and much, much more. I think it is fair to say that we can credit the work of the Collier County Habitat family for much of this success. I would urge Habitat to continue to document the success of the Habitat kids as they grow and prosper—through pictures and stories.”

 

-Terry Lumb
Habitat Collier Volunteer