STEP Service Project-Habitat for Humanity
The Service project I choose to do was a Habitat for Humanity project in Eustis, Florida. This project focused on partnering with Habitat for Humanity to help build affordable housing for Veterans in the area. The project we specifically worked on was a place called Veteran’s Village where we helped finish up the roofing and inside painting for 3 homes.
I think this project certainly gave me a chance to look more on myself and the people around. One big thing I took form this trip is how Ohio State was able to get a whole group of students together to do a project like this. It allowed me to see that there are other people around me who want to get out there and help others. This idea helps open up my views of the world because as an individual you cannot always make the impact that you hope to but with the help of others you can get bigger goals done like helping people get housing they deserve. Also knowing that groups like Habitat for Humanity are able to get volunteers year round motivates me as a volunteer because it shows that even when I may not be able to be there to help that others will be available to fill the gap.
I think this trip helped to also open my eyes more to what I want to do when I leave college. Though things like building affordable housing does not pertain directly to my field, chemical engineering, this trip showed me that service will still be important. I think I will be able to use my degree to hopefully find a job that does try to help the community so that I can know my work, though not directly service, is helping to make a difference. It will also help shape my life because I hope to wherever I land in the country or world that I will look for groups like Habitat for Humanity and will get involved with their cause. I believe that by helping even in the smallest ways I can continue the good work that I was able to achieve in Eustis Florida. I know now how key I take service to heart and how I hope it shapes my life in the future.
I can think of three major parts of this trip that shaped how it affected me. The first was the people in general. This was a combination of Carlos, our representative from Habitat for Humanity, Bob and Dolaris, the couple who ran the site, the other volunteers from the community and also my fellow Ohio State students. I went into this trip not knowing any of the people going as I got in the trip as an alternate and was not able to meet up with anyone beforehand. One the trip started I got to start meeting people and getting to know them. It though wasn’t until we started service that I feel like I started to connect with people the most. It was great to see other people who were like minded to me in that they were putting all their effort into helping to make a difference. This sentiment also went to the other volunteers who were there because they had been working prior to our arrival and were continuing after we left. Sometimes just seeing that other people care as much as you, makes the work seem more impactful as you know that it doesn’t end. This look on the work is what continues to attract it to me and will most likely impact my life from here out.
The second event was just how I carried myself while working. During the whole service, I constantly wanted to keep working to help get done as much as I possibly could because the work felt impactful. I found myself disappointed at the end of the day and wanting to eat my lunch fast so I could go back and help finish the section I had stopped at. The biggest example of this fell on the last day when we had only a half day due to us needing to begin our drive back to Columbus. On that last day we were getting near finishing all the rooking on one of the house, a job that me and two other people worked on the whole time, and when it came time to pack up for the day there was only one small piece left that needed cut and fitted. Tw hole time I was packing up the supplies I just sat there and was like “ come on just let me do the last piece so that I know it is finished” but of course we needed to make sure we stayed on schedule and the other volunteer who had worked with me assured me they would get it. It was just that feeling that made me think a little more on the impact of service in my life because it had become more than a simple experience. It had become something that I had put myself into and was not 100% willing to just let go of it. In that instance, I knew then that I would always want to continue making the impact that came from service.
The last part of the trip that truly made an impact on me was when we got to meet a family who was going to move into one of the houses. We had been given the heads up the day before that a couple was coming to visit the house and look around the area the next day and I honestly was looking forward to the experience. When the next day did come I was one of the last people over there to say hello to the couple as I had been working on a different house then almost everyone else. When I did get over there though, it was a very fulfilling moment. Just getting to meet them would have been enough but they talked with us for a couple minutes talking about stuff like the husband’s time in the military and other small stories. Throughout all of this though you could just see the happiness in both of their eyes at the sight of the house. Most of service I have done hasn’t been the most hands on service and when it is it is usually something much smaller scale then the project for Habitat for Humanity. It was that concept of seeing the impact and knowing how much something can mean to people. To you it is only a week of doing what you see as the right thing to do but in reality it is a lifetime in that this service will help shape the lives of the people for the rest of their lifetime. Being able to see this larger scope brought another layer to service for me and has motived me to keep pushing the boundaries when I can to help.
This trip is important because it will now shape who I am for the rest of my life. As I discussed I will use this trip as a platform for how I shape my future. I hope to be able to continue service throughout my life and this trip has found another outlet to do so. I will now take the chance to continue work with Habitat for Humanity when able to. This type of service allows me to provide value to my community and help make a difference outside of my life. These are goals that I believe to be important in life and those any chance I get to do these things is worthwhile and life changing. This experience in particular was able to bring service to a new level and bring it to a much larger scale.
There is no real way to quantify how this trip was able to change me but it certainly helped to shape who I will become. It has helped me expand my scope and see the impact that I as one person can make. I will continue to do this work/service because I know it is the right thing to do and I know that along with the help of others it is making a difference. I believe this sort of mentality is important when thinking about the world holistically. We as Americans tend to take things for granted as we are a very privileged nation, though we have are many faults. I believe that this trip was just a small internal example of what we need to do worldwide in that we need to extend the hand to show others they are not alone. By showing we are willing to help, even if just in our own country, we are setting example to others that support is out there. Sometimes people just need to know they are not alone in their endeavors and then they can go on to make an impact. I am not saying this trip was to this magnitude but I am saying that it helps open the discussion and is a great way for people to get started in making a difference.