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2 min read

"I'll Be Doing This As Long As I Can"—David's Volunteer Story

During the summer of 2016, David spent quality time with his son by volunteering on a Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity build site in St. Paul. Together, they met new people and helped build a house for a local family. David, a retired engineer and chemist, was used to building things with his hands. But working with a group of volunteers toward a goal that affected others in his community was new. That first Habitat experience was all it took for David to know he wanted to make serving in this way a priority. Ever since then, David has been joining volunteer groups regularly at build sites around the metro area.

"Volunteering with Twin Cities Habitat is a great way to connect with people and make a positive impact in the lives of others," he said. "I'll be doing this as long as I can. It's a heck of a way to spend a day. It's work, but it's rewarding."

David commented that he hears a lot of talk about how the world is getting meaner—people don't talk to each other or build relationships outside of their circles. "That's just not the world I live in when I'm on the build site," he explained. For example, David often brings his speaker to play music, which makes space for engaging, fun conversations about new artists and favorite bands. "You're doing something good together and sharing your time. The concern and love shown toward other volunteers and staff is really nice and supportive."

david m volunteer 2
david m volunteer 1

For David, one of the best parts of volunteering happens gradually: seeing a site change from an empty lot into a beautiful house. And over the years, David has gotten to know some "top-notch" Habitat staff and AmeriCorps members, too. "It's fun to start on a house and see the progress. But I've also seen the site staff grow and change—since I started volunteering, some of them have been promoted or gotten married and started families."

Though David knew almost instantly that volunteering on site was the role for him, he recommends that new volunteers give it more than one try. Each day is different, but there's always an opportunity to learn something new or meet new people. He said, "Bring your friends or neighbors to join you, pack your lunch, and have fun."

At the end of the day, volunteering gives David a sense of purpose and connection to those around him. "There's such a huge need for housing," he said. "In some ways, helping one person is helping the world. Any family that moves into a Habitat home—those are lives changed forever."

Want to join volunteers like David on a build site? Explore on-site opportunities! Or, if construction isn't for you, consider volunteering at ReStore.

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