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Satisfaction You Can’t Buy—Owen’s Volunteer Story

Satisfaction You Can’t Buy—Owen’s Volunteer Story

Owen is pictured above, fourth from the right in the back row.

When Owen, a commercial electrician by trade, retired in 2013, he knew he needed something to keep him busy. “I only have so many projects I can do at home,” he explained. He got connected with Twin Cities Habitat, and what started as a way to get out of the house and learn new skills quickly turned into a source of community and purpose.

Owen spent his very first volunteer day painting the interior of a house in north Minneapolis. Now he’s part of the A Brush with Kindness and North Central Regular Crews, usually working twice per week (even in the winter!) to help rehab existing homes. Over the years, Owen has learned much more beyond carpentry skills: “You need to rely on other people. You can’t do all these jobs by yourself. When I volunteer, I learn from others who know things I don’t know yet.”

Being part of a Regular Crew, Owen has created lasting friendships with other volunteers. From sharing positive feedback to helping each other correct mistakes, these volunteers develop a supportive environment. Owen has discovered firsthand that “even though sometimes we’re afraid or uncertain, we are capable of doing more than we think we can.”

His fellow volunteers aren’t the only people Owen describes as kind, friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. The site supervisors lead the way and set an example for others on build sites. “If it wasn’t for the site supervisors, we wouldn’t get anything done. They keep things together, and despite sometimes overwhelming odds, they get things done. It’s quite a feat,” said Owen.

At the end of a volunteer shift, Owen finds pride in both the progress his team has made and the larger mission they are working toward. “I just flat-out enjoy myself. I get satisfaction from the little things, and I like knowing that I’m helping someone else.” Once Owen started volunteering often, he learned more about Twin Cities Habitat’s mission. He admires that Habitat helps local families remove barriers to homeownership through lower interest rates and more. Those same families then move into homes Owen has helped repair.

“We have the chance to make houses better for others,” he said. “That’s the kind of satisfaction you can’t buy.”

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