<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=730207053839709&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Skip to the main content.

2 min read

Years After Buying His Habitat Home, Edgar Still Loves to Volunteer

Years After Buying His Habitat Home, Edgar Still Loves to Volunteer

In early 2024, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity launched an innovative new program for Habitat homeowners called Volunteer and Learn. This program helps homeowners continue learning how to maintain their homes, reach financial goals, volunteer on site, participate in exclusive events, and build community. When the first Volunteer and Learn construction site volunteer day was posted, Edgar was the first Habitat homeowner to sign up. Afterwards, Edgar chatted with us to share why staying active in the Habitat community is important to him—and why other homeowners should participate in Volunteer and Learn events as well.

Edgar sitting in a chair at the build site.

Edgar bought his White Bear Lake home with Habitat in 2010 with his wife and three children. He credits his time volunteering on a Habitat construction site, both before his purchase and in the years after, with his success in homeownership.

“It’s really important if you want to become a homeowner to consider it like having a second job,” Edgar shares. “Say somebody is a nurse—they have trainings they need to work that job. If you want to be a homeowner, you have to have training.”

With Habitat’s Homeownership Program, that training begins long before you close on your home. Future homeowners go through financial coaching and special homeowner education classes as they prepare to buy their homes.

“What I personally appreciate Habitat for is having the potential homeowner go through the classes about how to care for your house,” Edgar remembers. “Even for the basic stuff—changing the furnace filter or just painting a wall or replacing a screw that fell out of a door—some people can’t do this.”

But the thing that really sets Habitat apart, in Edgar’s view, is the opportunity to learn skills from Habitat’s amazing site staff while on a new build site.

“Every time we go and complete our volunteer hours on site, it was my goal to understand from the Site Supervisors,” Edgar shares. “They always answer my questions. That’s an experience I liked to complete with Habitat. Even after we bought the house, I volunteered a lot for years to learn more.”

Edgar talking with Habitat staff on site.Edgar (right) chats with Site Supervisor Katie (left) and Homeowner Engagement Manager Jenny (center) at the first Volunteer and Learn skill build day.

All that volunteering and learning has paid off in a big way for Edgar—literally! He’s been able to use his construction skills to make home improvements himself, saving money in the process. Over the years Edgar has replaced his gutters. Installed a garage door opener. Landscaped his backyard. Removed the carpet and replaced it with nice hard floors. Added more cabinets near the kitchen. And the list goes on.

“A contractor might cost thousands of dollars, but you can do it yourself and make it to your desire for cheaper,” Edgar says with a smile. One of his proudest projects was remodeling his bathrooms. When Edgar showed the bathroom remodel photos to one of his coworkers, she was impressed—and shared that she had recently paid $20,000 to remodel her own bathroom. By doing it all himself with the construction skills he’s learned, Edgar’s cost was closer to $5,000.

There are more benefits to volunteering that Edgar enjoys, too. “I like having something to get me active, moving, and I prefer to go be with other people,” he says. For Edgar, volunteering provides that perfect combination of moving your body and fellowship with others—whether he’s volunteering with Habitat or helping friends with their projects. It’s a great alternative from Edgar’s day job doing cardiac device research with Medtronic.

At the end of a good day of working his dream job or volunteering, Edgar loves coming home to a place of his own.

“A single family under one roof is the greatest thing ever,” Edgar says. “It’s a great thing to have a close family, and a close life. It’s not a big house, not a fancy one, but we can adjust it to our need and I enjoy it a lot.”

Reflecting on his journey with Habitat and all he’s learned over the years, Edgar says this: “I’m grateful to Habitat’s program to help people in need to own a house. This is a very great and nice program. Habitat loves to help everybody, and I am grateful that I was one of those families.”

Learn about Volunteer and Learn

A Heartfelt Thank You from a Local Homeowner

A Heartfelt Thank You from a Local Homeowner

Clarissa is a single mother, and self-employed family child care provider who has been living in her home in Mounds View since 1985. Clarissa’s...

Read More
Habitat Teaming up with Volunteer Lawyers Network to support local families

Habitat Teaming up with Volunteer Lawyers Network to support local families

Although Habitat for Humanity is probably best known for our homebuilding and homeownership programs and services, we also offer Mortgage Foreclosure...

Read More
Longtime Volunteer and Habitat Homeowner Strike up Long Lasting Bond

Longtime Volunteer and Habitat Homeowner Strike up Long Lasting Bond

Meet Jim: 3M retiree, neighborhood family partner, construction veteran and flooring installer extraordinaire. After 15 years of building, Jim’s...

Read More