Guest Blog by McKinsie Clyde
Twin Cities Habitat Site Supervisor
I started working with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity in 2008 as an AmeriCorps member, and the experience changed my career path and my life. After a slightly intimidating start, I now work as a Site Supervisor and have built valuable relationships that will last a lifetime.
I first came to the Twin Cities after working a long, hot summer in the Appalachia mountains. I was tired and moved to Minnesota without a place to live. I thought I needed a break. I remember driving up to our Habitat site with another AmeriCorps member (that I didn’t know at the time would become a dear friend over the years) and seeing two buildings of townhomes with people working on every level. It was intimidating.
The site had two volunteer groups: one a regular crew and one a corporate group. I met the Site Supervisor, was given instructions, and started working. The first three volunteers I worked with were men who had intentionally chosen hard hats that had duct tape nametags left on from the day before, and they were calling each other by those names. I don’t know their names to this day, but one was going by Susan. When I met “Susan” and his work friends, I figured this wasn’t quite so intimidating. Their humor and kindness made it easy.
During my experience, I learned a lot from my supervisor, but I also learned so much from the other volunteers. One thing that has never changed is how infectious their energy is. Now, as a Site Supervisor myself, it's great that I still work with some of the regulars who taught me how to frame, how to install trim, how to wrap extension cords so they don’t get knotted, and how to take a doughnut break with proper gravitas.
The relationships I built with volunteers during my time with AmeriCorps changed my career plans and my life. I had the chance to meet every personality type and background. Working with volunteers is what made me decide to stay with Twin Cities Habitat, and they are what keep me coming back.
Pictured: 4 of the 5 AmeriCorps; L to R: Christina Simms (HFH Mid-Ohio), Katie Ulwelling (TCHFH), Collette King (former TCHFH), and McKinsie Clyde (TCHFH)
During that first week of AmeriCorps, there were five of us on the same site. All of us became Site Supervisors: four with TCHFH and one with an affiliate in Ohio. Almost 14 years later, four of us are still working with Habitat alongside some of the same volunteers we worked with in 2008! I know that this is the best work force I will ever get the chance to work with. I cannot thank our volunteers enough for their dedication to our mission, and their hard work, patience, humor, and kindness.
Interested in volunteering?
Learn all there is to know about volunteering with Twin Cities Habitat by visiting www.tchabitat.org/volunteer. View our safety guidelines, FAQs, and volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups.