Building Hope for the Future with Habitat for Humanity
We all know that homeownership is considered the cornerstone of the American dream. But many of us take that dream for granted. I was reminded of this when I attended the dedication and blessing of a home with Habitat for Humanity in Chester, Pennsylvania outside of Philadelphia.
As a corporate sponsor of what we have come to refer to as the “CertainTeed House” because of the many CertainTeed products incorporated into the building envelop of this two-family house, I participated in the dedication and blessing of the house. The family, a single mother with two daughters who will occupy half of the house, seemed simultaneously overwhelmed and excited.
The group of family, friends, sponsors and supporters clustered into what would soon be the family’s living room as the Reverend began the dedication and blessing. The group traveled from room to room with the family carrying a candle as each area was given a special blessing – from the kitchen where nourishment is prepared to the dining room where bread is broken and shared to the bedrooms where sleeping safe and secure is desired. Once the blessing was completed, the keys were presented to the family marking the final transformation of this building from simply a house into a home.
It was beautiful!
But there was an added sense of pride that I felt standing in this completed house that would be the dream home for this family. Over ten weeks during the building of this house approximately 80 of my co-workers volunteered time on the site to help with the build. The opportunity to gain hands-on experience with CertainTeed roofing shingles, housewrap, vinyl siding and railing, insulation and gypsum products was as valuable as the satisfaction of giving back to the community in this very special way. In some cases it brought employees together whose paths would not cross at work and in other cases departmental teams used this as a teambuilding exercise.
In the end, it was a learning experience for all and a lesson in community that has no equal.