Meet Kate Hill, a current AmeriCorps member returning for her second term of service. Kate originally joined AmeriCorps for the summer term while she was working on her undergraduate degree in architecture. A staff member from Twin Cities Habitat had discussed the possibility of AmeriCorps service with the University of Minnesota Habitat Chapter that Kate was a part of, and she decided to sign up.
Originally, Kate was a little nervous about working onsite because she didn't have very much experience with construction. However, she quickly found that she had nothing to worry about.
"Learning and applying construction, teamwork, and leadership skills is totally doable when you're working with people who want you to succeed in an environment that allows you to ask questions and make mistakes," Kate said.
All of the Site Supervisors and returning AmeriCorps members do a very comprehensive training process with new members that ensures everybody feels comfortable onsite. This experience really helped Kate gain a better perspective of the construction process, building on the previous knowledge that she brought with her from her undergraduate program in architecture.
Additionally, Kate went on to describe how her hands-on experience working onsite led to her professional development. "I got a better grip on plan-reading, building science, and why parts of construction matter in the field at Habitat than I did during most of undergrad." When you haven't spent very much time on construction sites, learning these skills can be a little daunting at first but the results speak for themselves.
Kate's commitment to Habitat's mission comes from a very real place. She spoke about how important it is to her that she's helping to address the lack of affordable housing and lack of equity in homeownership. Similarly, she discussed how much she appreciated the environment onsite and how if someone wants to learn a new skill, in most cases, all they need to do is ask.
As an Onsite Volunteer Coordinator, Kate's favorite part of her job is getting to interact with the volunteers every day. Her favorite day so far was when she was working with three women on a corporate build day.
"I started the day with teaching how a tape measure worked and mitigating fear of the nail gun, and by lunch I had to find new ways to keep busy because the three best framers in Minneapolis had no use for me anymore."
Kate would probably try and give all the credit to the volunteers, but I think it's fair to assume they had a pretty good teacher as well. Upon the completion of her year of service, Kate plans on pursuing a Master's Degree in Architecture. She took a year off between graduating and applying to that program in order to serve with AmeriCorps and said that it was very beneficial to her.
"My AmeriCorps service helped me find strengths and interests that changed my career plan, and, more importantly, helped me become a version of myself that I am proud of."
In addition to getting her Architecture license, Kate plans on eventually teaching design-build classes as well as continuing to volunteer with Habitat.
You or someone you know could be the perfect fit for Twin Cities Habitat's AmeriCorps program! Learn more.