Home Dedications are a celebration held at the end of each build, when the house is complete and the family is just about to move in. Each one is an event that gathers the homebuying family together with the sponsors and volunteers that worked on the home, along with community members, neighbors and Habitat staff. It is a celebration of each little piece that created the home: the determination and hard-work of the homebuying family, the generosity and time of volunteers, and the incredible contributions from supporters.
These important gatherings wouldn't happen at all without the tremendous efforts of a special group of volunteers: the Dedications Committee.
The Dedications Committee act as hosts at these events: welcoming guests, emceeing the program, leading prayers, introducing the families and speakers, handing out cake and even taking out the trash.
Last week the Dedications Committee spent the day volunteering together. But instead of handing out programs, they held tools and instead of dishing cake and getting covered in frosting, they were covered in paint.
Working together on a Twin Cities Habitat build site, the team finished caulking windows and filling holes in the trim with putty. They taped down paper to protect the floors before painting baseboards, bathroom doors and window frames.
"It's nice to do something else, the variety is great," said Susie DeShon. This is Susie's 16th year on the Dedications Committee. She and Amanda Galvan talked about other Habitat homes they have helped build while they worked.
Amanda shared, "I got to help frame a second floor once, that was amazing! It's something that you think they have to have cranes and pulleys to do but we were just pulling everything up with our hands."
Karin O'Connor snapped a photo of the group squeezing into the upstairs hallway, each volunteer painting a different surface. She shared that spending time together is really special.
"Usually we're working and don't have much time to talk. I've been listening today as people make connections with each other about common interests and activities, things we wouldn't have known about each other otherwise."
"We are building community," added Susie, referencing another Habitat volunteer experience that Karin takes part in. As part of the homeownership classes required to buy a Habitat home, Karin leads a class on building community and being good neighbors.
Twin Cities Habitat knows that homeownership goes beyond the physical house, and that it is important for homebuying families to feel welcomed, supported, and invested in their community long term.
Karin also talked about her recent trip to the Capitol as a Housing Hero to talk with her legislators, Senator Goodwin and Representative Bernardy, about the importance of affordable housing in this year’s legislative session.
"I am determined to get them all out to a Dedication," she said. "You don't really get (the importance of partnering with families to create homes) until you see the (homebuying) family's faces light up as they walk around their home. There is nothing better."
Join us at an upcoming Home Dedication, information here.
See more photos from the Dedications Committee Build Day on Twin Cities Habitat's Flickr page.