Building Community Blog

Nothing takes the sting out of the frustrating debasement that is today’s political dialogue than pounding a 16-penny nail into a floor tress of a Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity house. I only know to use the term “16-penny” after showing my Habitat supervisor two differently sized nails and asking him to pick the one he wanted.

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity was presented with the Spinnaker Award on May 11 by Minnetonka Public Schools. The award is given annually to "Individuals or groups who exemplify volunteerism, community and serving the greater good. Like the spinnaker on a sailboat, the groups or individuals recognized with this award are out in front, full-sail, leading us toward the fulfillment of our dreams." We were nominated for the award by Minnetonka High School’s VANTAGE program for being one of their best project sponsors.

Guest Post by Zach Surber
Twin Cities Habitat AmeriCorps Member

 When talking about homebuilding, it’s important to remember the lasting impact we have on our community. Habitat has built and sold well over 1,100 homes in the Twin Cities in the last 30 years. As builders, lenders, and volunteers, we have to be sure that our impact is always positive for the people who partner with us.

If you've ever volunteered with Twin Cities Habitat, you've likely worked with an AmeriCorps member on site. The work and impact of Twin Cities Habitat would not be possible without the commitment of AmeriCorps members. The program is unique because it gives members the chance to develop their skills by leading and acting out the mission of Habitat while devoting a year to service.

“I’ve always wanted to design buildings and focus on the built environment,” said Nick Engling. “I wasn't getting a lot of satisfaction with some of the projects I was working on, and I wanted to use my skills on something I care about.”

As a Structural Engineer, Nick has put his skillset to work designing various buildings throughout the metro, including luxury and other apartment complexes, and has traveled the country doing structural forensic analysis. But volunteering with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has given him an outlet for his skillset in a way that truly helps others.

“I’ve always had this motto for my life” Greg Rouse says, showing the word build tattooed across his right forearm: “Never stop building.”

He started as a kid with legos, then carpentry as a teenager, then architecture in college. Next, he built homes for two years as an AmeriCorps member with Twin Cities Habitat. And now, he’s designing homes as a Masters of Architecture student at the University of Minnesota.

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