Meet Tori Vogel, a bride who spent her bachelorette party painting a home through Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity’s A Brush with Kindness Home Repair program.
Tori was raised with a focus on giving back. She was regularly involved in many volunteering opportunities through her church, school, and community. “In our family growing up, we talked a lot about how folks are different, how they are presented with different life opportunities, and how important it is to help your neighbor. That conversation included volunteering, which was just a regular activity we would do as a family.”
Though she moved away from home, Tori remained a steward to her community. She explained that she has “...always been drawn to nonprofits that focus on housing access. Being that housing is the largest part of anyone's budget, I feel that I can have the biggest impact on individuals’ lives by helping in this way.” She currently works for a start up company whose mission is to expand access to homeownership.
Tori resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Kareem Mansur. The couple came to Minnesota to hold their wedding ceremony. Tori’s friends came into town for her wedding from across the country. That gave her a perfect opportunity to rally her friends to volunteer on a Habitat Home Repair project as an activity before her big day!
Bachelorette Home Makeover
Tori and crew did not know what they were doing until the day of the project. As the group drove to their project destination, Tori began to recognize the familiar infrastructure. Turns out, the site location was just a few minutes away from Tori’s childhood home. This unplanned coincidence made for an even more special volunteering experience.
“The day of the Bachelorette Build was actually really exciting,” Tori shared. “We ended up getting assigned to a house that was in the neighborhood I grew up in.” Being able to point out her childhood home to her friends was an added bonus for the day. “Then, just eight blocks down the road, we arrived at the site. For that day, we primarily painted and had fun going up ladders just sort of beautifying the house.”
Tori’s friends were assigned to the site from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and played traditional bachelorette games as they worked on the house.
“It was a great way to mesh my friends together,” said Tori. After they completed their assigned project, the crew cleaned up and got ready for rehearsal dinner. That’s right—Bachelorette Build by day, rehearsal dinner by night.
“I’ll be honest. Usually while volunteering, I like to do the most extreme things like jump on the roof of the house and whatnot. But for that day, I hid a little more in the shade and played it safe.“
Some brides worry about breaking a nail a day before their wedding, meanwhile Tori was up on a ladder. If something were to go wrong (which it didn’t) Tori said, “My wedding dress was long, so any bruises on my legs would have been covered if needed!”
For this free-spirited bride, the Bachelorette Build was a win-win: she got to spend time with close friends who had traveled far and wide to celebrate her matrimony, all while making a difference in her hometown community. It just so happened that the project was to paint the home white—a very bridal color indeed.
“I think volunteering was the perfect way to segue into the weekend and was a great way to spend time with a smaller group of people.”
Group Volunteering for Events
Weddings, and the events leading up to them, can be a bit of a blur. Electing to do an activity that puts a pause on the stress is an excellent way to get back in touch with what really matters in life—rather than worrying about a broken nail or mismatched napkin.
Volunteering opportunities are an excellent way to help out in your community, meet new people, and bring you closer to those you are working with on the site. If you are looking for an activity to do for a corporate event, church outing, birthday, retirement, or even a pre-wedding festivity, consider a group volunteer opportunity with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.