I’m writing this blog entry to you from Americus, GA.
That’s right, I’ve moved out of the Belle H. Bennett House.
I cannot tell you how many tears have been shed.
Let me start from the beginning…
As most have you have probably read or learned through other blog entries… Housing is my passion. It started in college. My freshman year I joined our Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter and quickly fell in love with Habitat’s mission and goals. One year later, I was voted in as the Chapter President.
I led our group on both Fall Break and Spring Break trips. We also worked closely with the Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Grand Island, Nebraska. It took no time at all for me to learn that direct service and volunteer coordination were my callings.
Then, during the summer of 2011, I had an internship in Chicago. As a part of that internship, we had many educational opportunities. One of those was travelling to Altgeld Gardens – a notoriously poor neighborhood. This neighborhood also has some of the most unhealthy living conditions in the United States. Built on top of what used to be a land fill – both air and water quality affect daily life for the neighborhoods residents. I left the neighborhood in tears that day.
Over the summer and during my senior year of college, I spent most of my time reading anything and everything on housing policy and better housing initiatives supported by the government.
When I was given the internship at Scarritt-Bennett Center, we got to choose our top three site placements. While perusing the list, I came across Room in the Inn’s Campus for Human Development. It was perfect. I had worked with individuals with some sort of shelter, be it poor most times, before, but I felt that Room in the Inn would be a perfect fit for me because I had never worked with individuals who didn’t have shelter at all. I felt that I would learn vital skills while serving those at Room in the Inn. Of course, I did.
When I realized that our time at the Belle H. Bennett House was quickly slipping away – I started applying for jobs. Now, I’ll be the first to admit this – I applied for 13 jobs in a little over two months. Eleven of those jobs were with Habitat for Humanity International or their headquarters. All of the jobs were in volunteer management or coordination. Two months into the application process, I got a call from Habitat for Humanity’s Human Resources department – they wanted to interview me for the Collegiate Challenge Associate position.
Two interviews later, I was hired! But starting in just two short weeks.
So, after many tears, countless conversations, and so many goodbye hugs my ribs were starting to hurt – ok, not really – I packed up my things and moved to Georgia.
Of course, I miss the Belle H. Bennett House. Ally’s not around to listen to me complain or wake me up from naps. Kristen isn’t providing the house a nightly road block by falling asleep on the den floor. Gabby isn’t there to gossip and laugh with. And Marie doesn’t have Bella in tow. These four women brought me so much happiness over the last seven months. They also taught me so many things. How do you repay that?
…a free vacation spot in tiny Americus, GA?
Two weeks ago, I was, quite literally, thrown into the world of Collegiate Challenge. Not only did I enter during our busiest week, but we also had our National Conference for all Habitat affiliates taking place in Atlanta. Today, I am responsible for coordinating all Collegiate Challenge trips, year-round. Last week, I probably sent out 600 emails. This week, we have 80 teams working with nearly as many affiliates. It’s busy, but I couldn’t be happier.
Read more here: http://www.habitat.org/youthprograms/ages_14_25/collegiate_challenge/default_collegiate_challenge.aspx.
To all of you reading, thank you for your unending support!
Marie, Ally, KDB, and Gabby – y’all are the best!
Abbey at BHB House on August 1, 2012!