Our trip started on Sunday, when we spent most of our day traveling to Vero Beach and meeting the Collegiate Challenge Supervisor, Sam. Sam made it a point throughout the week to make us feel welcome during our time and introduce us to new faces within the Habitat community.
Monday began our first workday at the Habitat for Humanity Restore. The Restore is a donation center that takes unwanted household items and refurbishes them to be resold. The Restore alone brings in enough money to pay for the construction of 1/3 of all Indian River County Habitat homes. Our day here was spent organizing donations, pricing them out, bringing them out to the sale floor, and even going off site deconstructing for donation pick-up.
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were spent on the work site where three homes that were simultaneously being built. Our workday started around 7am and ended at 2pm due to the heat, which was nice because we were able to spend our afternoons enjoying beaches and surrounding community. On site, we spent time both on and off the ground, completing work wherever it was needed. Our Springfield College students completed two roofs, painted an entire house, put up some siding, and sealed off and gaps in the house with caulk. We worked along side the regular weekly volunteers and supervisors who took the time to teach us and explain to us the importance of each task being completed.
Richard and Charlie were the two Habitat site supervisors and their assistance and help did not go under appreciated this week. They took the time to get to know our group and by the end of the week they were joking around with us and joining in on the laughter. Charlie really connected with our group and shared his personal reasons for joining Habitat.
Connecting with the Habitat community was one of our favorite parts of the trip, but it definitely made it difficult to say goodbye on Friday afternoon. We were very fortunate enough to build Habitat homes within a Habitat for Humanity Community, in which all homes in that area are habitat homes. Because of this, we were able to go into each of the houses with open walls, and write encouraging messages on the wooden beams to welcome the new families into their homes. This was probably the best way for us to end our trip. We got to share our emotions and feelings of gratitude with each of the families that had touched our hearts and allow the to know just how much Habitat for Humanity means to us.
Our trip to Vero Beach was filled with countless moments of laughter, smiles, sunshine, and happiness. While assisting in the construction of a new home for others, we were able to redefine the definition of home within ourselves. We were able to build strong and meaningful connections with each other and become stronger individuals just like the homes that we were building.