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Giving Back in Retirement: Meet Volunteer Michael

Giving Back in Retirement: Meet Volunteer Michael

When Michael retired from his 35-year career as a pediatric nurse anesthetist at Children’s Minnesota, he knew he still wanted to be active and give back to others. He started volunteering on build sites with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity in 2023 and quickly found the flexible schedule and rewarding work to be just the right fit.

Though he already had some building experience before he started volunteering, Twin Cities Habitat staff assured him that no experience was necessary—they share and demonstrate as much as people need (or want) to know. Michael has learned many new things from site supervisors and other volunteers. Thanks to a low-stress environment and the patience and expertise of those around him, Michael has picked up a wide range of skills. “It’s been so fun, and I like the variety. I’ve framed, roofed, added trim, and put in flooring,” he shared. “Every time I [volunteer], I learn new information, tricks, or better ways to do things. Everyone is very helpful, which makes each shift fun. Hopefully, I’ll be able to teach others someday, too.”

harrison-square-2Michael usually volunteers one to two times per week with Site Supervisor Rose, the South Metro Regular Crew, or through individual roles. He explained that he likes to work with the same people when he can, but the selection of available opportunities allows him to see firsthand the progress on more than one house. He’s also discovered more about the need for affordable housing and Twin Cities Habitat’s work: “I have learned how much more needs to be done. And I’m quite impressed with the ways [Habitat helps] families afford a house.”

In his own words, volunteering with Twin Cities Habitat has made Michael's retirement much happier. He’s also discovered that he’s not alone—working together gives volunteers more than the good feeling of personal productivity. They’re accomplishing something important, helping someone in their community, and making the world a better place.

“I enjoy the work, and I’m learning. And it has a good impact—we’re creating something good for someone else,” he said. “It’s fun to think that soon a family will be living in the house we’re building.”

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