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habitat4humanity

Kick Off Event Recap: Amy

By | Builders Circle, Events, Homeowner, Tiger Team, Volunteer, Women Build | No Comments

This week we kicked-off our 30th year with more than 150 of our supporters. We are again is awe of the outpouring of support and encouragement that fills the room at this annual event.

We started the evening with a private reception for our Builders Circle members, allowing them a sneak peak at the info tables and more personalized attention speaking with our team about ways to get involved. President & CEO, Jim Morris, as well as future homeowner Amy Brown spoke to the members about the important role individual donors play in our mission and the need for continued growth in this area of support.

Once the doors opened for the public portion of the event, the “streets” of the DeveloperTown warehouse were flooded with individual, corporate, and faith-based supporters eager to learn more about the work we are doing in Indy and how they can be a part of it in 2017. We paused for a brief moment for Jim to share more about our plans in our 30th year and to recognize those who have gone above and beyond to support our mission.

We would like to thank our award recipients for their past and continued support:

  • “Frank Hartman” Volunteer of the Year: Jamie Gardner Hall
  • Legacy Corporate Partner: Eli Lilly & Company and Eli Lilly & Company Foundation
  • Build Sponsor of the Year: Davis Homes
  • Legacy Church Partner: St. Paul’s Episcopal

Thank you to everyone who was able to help us kick-off our 30th year. We hope you can find a way to join our work in 2017 as we unite to build homes, hope and community!

Special thanks to DeveloperTown, Sun King Brewery and Monarch Beverage Company, for helping make our Kickoff a success!

ReStore-Spring Cleaning : Jim the CEO

By | From the CEO | No Comments

Officially the first day of spring this year is Monday, March 20, and ironically, I am writing this as it is snowing outside my window.  Because we experienced an extremely mild winter in Indianapolis, many of us have gotten to enjoy the outside in February when we were normally trapped inside and yearning for spring. This snow, as a last-minute reminder of winter, is expected in Indiana.

According to the American Cleaning Institute (yes there is an institute or association for everything), more than 70 percent of Americans take part in some form of spring cleaning every year.  HGTV and other media have also made decluttering your home very popular.

If you are getting ready to spring clean, declutter or simplify, Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity has the perfect outlet for your extra items.  Donate the items you have gathered to one of our three conveniently located ReStores.  Your gently used or unused item can be donated and turned into revenue that pays for our organization’s administrative and overhead costs. This revenue allows every contributed dollar we receive to go our mission of bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope.

Haven’t heard of the ReStore? It is a home improvement thrift store that sells donated, new and gently used merchandise at a significant discount to the general public. Whether from your home or a business, our ReStores are perfect places for completing your spring cleaning efforts.

From a business
Santarossa Marble and Tile is a great example of a business “spring cleaning” their inventory as they donated over 150 pallets of new tile, carpet tile, rolls of vinyl and crate stone basins to clear way for their new inventory.  Their donation is a tax benefit to their company, and they appreciate that the product is used to create revenue for the Habitat mission.  We have the storage and the capability to pick up large donations.

From a home
Homeowners can donate large items like appliances, furniture, windows, doors, lighting, tools, cabinets, sinks and so much more.  We have had a homeowner donate entire kitchens because they are remodeling their residence.

We pick up your items
No matter if it is a business or homeowner donating goods to the store, we will come and pick up your donation.  Just call us at the closest store to you, and we’ll schedule a time:

Indianapolis: 317.777.6098

Greenfield: 317.318.9458

Avon: 317.707.7530

You can also shop at one of our stores for both new and used items at half the price of retail.  Our ReStores complement our mission well, so as you are spring cleaning, donate to one of our stores, receive a tax benefit and maybe even shop a little!

Habitat Mentors: Kimberly & Jon

By | Homeowner, Volunteer | No Comments

Many Habitat volunteers pick up a hammer or a paint brush to work alongside future Habitat homeowners; however, did you know there is another group of volunteers that are picking up phones, pencils and personal budgets to support Habitat homeowners on their journey?

Each future Habitat homeowner develops a relationship with a mentoring volunteer who is both a resource and friend on their journey. Mentors and Habitat homeowners communicate at least once a month and help with classroom material, provide homeownership tips and generally encourage and listen.

Wonderful relationships have been formed through the mentor program. Current mentors include long-time volunteers, first-time volunteers, current Habitat homeowners and Builders Circle Members. We recently spoke with new Habitat homeowner Kimberly and her mentor Jon. Here’s what they had to say.

Thoughts from Kimberly, 2016 Homeowner:

Why do you think the mentor program was valuable for you as a first-time Habitat homeowner?
I think having a mentor was one of the best parts of the program.  It was the comfort of knowing that if I had a question about something or needed a little assistance in something I had somebody I could call.  John was AWESOME! It also gave me a chance to not only meet somebody new BUT to meet somebody great.

What does home mean to you?
Having my home now gives me a feeling I can’t quite explain yet. Most days I’m still in shock or shall I say disbelief. Having my home though has given me a peace of mind and a great sense of comfort. The best feeling in the world is knowing that it’s mine, and I had a big hand in building it. When you’re the one actually helping do the work to build your house, it means so much more! Thanks to Habitat, as well as my mentor Jon, for this lifelong experience and journey.I think the overall program that’s offered by Habitat truly prepares future homeowners for what’s to come.  It’s so important that you know how to budget, as well as how to save. During the class, it gives you the opportunity to get to know other future homeowners and that too allows you to have other people to create friendships with, in case you might need help or have a question. I love everything that Habitat stands for, and I’m so honored to have got the chance to be a first-time homeowner through Habitat!

Thoughts from Jon, Mentor volunteer

Why did you become a mentor for a Habitat homeowner?
I had been involved with Habitat as a volunteer in some capacity for several years, and my favorite part always involved the homeowner. Becoming a mentor allows me to be able to walk with the homeowner through their journey from start to finish and realize how their hard work paid off.  The best part though is cultivating a relationship for life.

What has been your favorite part of working with your mentee, or what are you looking forward to?
Working alongside Kimberly on the panel build was special because it was the first work we had done on her home.  Dedication day was very exciting too because the dream was a reality.  Just as joyful though was visiting a few weeks after move in and seeing that Kimberly had made her house her own unique home.

How have you learned from your mentee?
Kimberly showed me another level of dedication and determination.  Through all the hard work and hours spent she also had an amazing ability to have fun, which made it that much easier to spend time helping.

Interested in becoming a mentor? Click Here to learn more!

ReStore and the Giving BackPack: Andy

By | ReStore | No Comments

At the ReStore, we do more than just raise funds for the Habitat mission and get our customers great deals on home improvement items; we also actively engage with the community. The ReStore is one of the most publically visible parts of our organization. The ReStore is open six days a week and has three locations, one in each county we serve – Marion, Hancock, and Hendricks. We certainly have our share of volunteer help from the community, but the ReStore space itself is more than just retail space, and most folks coming in to donate or shop may not realize this.

For example, the ReStore team is happy to be continuing a relationship we started last year with The Giving BackPack: a non-profit whose mission is to provide school supplies for students who can’t afford them. After qualifying by showing need from financial hardship, for a small restocking fee (about the price of a backpack), a student can get all their school supplies at no cost for the whole school year – up to four refills – through the program. I met with Cecil Collins, the CEO and founder of The Giving BackPack to discuss the partnership with the Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

 You started this program in Merrillville; what lead to you bring it to Indianapolis?
“Yes, we started in 2011 in Merrillville, and I moved for my job and wanted to start it again here in my new community.”

 What impact have you seen so far in Indianapolis?         
“We’ve really come to understand there is a lot of need here in Indianapolis. It’s coming in on a school-based level. Currently, we’re serving two schools and it will only grow from there. We’re really going for notoriety now: trying to get our name and the mission out there as much as possible.”

How has the partnership with Habitat been?             
“Excellent. I couldn’t ask for more. Habitat has been open, accommodating, and overly-supportive. It’s easy, that’s it; it’s easy. I don’t have to worry about it, and the space at the ReStore is really perfect for our needs.”

What is the future of The Giving BackPack in 2017?         
“We’re doing a car raffle now; we’ll hopefully raise funds for the school supply pantry by the end of the year and be able to expand into more schools. The partnership between The Giving BackPack and Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity has been huge for families we serve, and being able to join in helping the families Habitat already serves has been an honor.”

We at the Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity ReStore are proud to partner with other community-based non-profit organizations that further serve the Habitat mission by providing resources essential to homeownership, like quality education.

Learn more about The Giving BackPack and how you can apply for their program.

For more information about how the ReStore partners with other organizations and aids the habitat mission, “Like” our pages on Facebook and stay tuned to this blog.

 

Good Neighbors in this Global Village: Joel

By | Global Village | No Comments

“Mas? No Mas?” I ask Oscar as I point to a pile of rebar on the ground next to the footer my new friend Mauricio just finished digging.  I’m realizing now that I should have put more time into learning basic phrases of Spanish before leaving for our trip. It’s day three of work on the Habitat for Humanity house in El Salvador. Our hosts Adriana and Luis were with us every step of the way, translating our English to Spanish to communicate with the masons and the homeowners, but I just wanted to communicate with Oscar on my own, person to person, without help.

When we arrived at the work site on Monday, it was just a plain dirt lot. By Wednesday, the footers had been dug, the dirt moved away, rebar supports and structures bent and assembled, and the first batches of concrete mixed and poured in the footers.  All this was done with shovels, wheelbarrows, wire snips, and Oscar’s ingenuity as the mason overseeing the build.  There were just over 10 of us working on the home including the mason overseeing the build, Oscar, two of his helpers, 6 volunteers from Indianapolis, and our hosts Adriana and Luis.

The neighbor Veronica is also a Habitat homeowner! She has been in her home for 15 years and will pay it off this month! Through her hard work she has been able to support her family with the help of Habitat and now she is able to support her brother, Osmil as he begins his journey to homeownership not just as a sister, but as a neighbor.

Veronica and Osmil’s families hosted us in their neighborhood and homes so wonderfully, making sure we had cold drinks and snacks in the hot and humid Central American weather.  Their warmth and welcome paired with the comradery of our volunteer team made the worksite a delight amongst the concrete and rebar.

By Friday, at the end of our time at Osmil’s home, we had gone from a flat dirt lot to the beginning of the foundation and a rebar structure that was almost ready to start laying the brick walls.  This was our good hard work with much more work to do.

Through this trip, I have been reminded that many times, the things in life worth doing can’t be completed in a week, or a month, or even in a few years.  This past week we started a home that will take weeks more to finish.  Osmil and his family are in the middle of their journey to homeownership that will take years to complete. Habitat for Humanity of El Salvador will walk with 400 families nationwide starting their journey to homeownership this year.  Here in the Greater Indy area, Habitat will link arms with 28 new homeowners this year that will join the over 500 new homeowners they have journeyed with since they first broke ground 30 years ago.

So, whether it is me learning more Spanish for the next time I’m in El Salvador with Habitat, partnering with Greater Indy Habitat in a deeper way, or being a better neighbor; may we continue to contribute to the good and hard work happening around us.  May we be good neighbors in this Global Village.

 

Builders Circle Quote: Diane & Joe

By | Builders Circle | No Comments

Read more to find why Diane and Joe think volunteering and supporting Habitat for Humanity is addicting. 

Why do we support Habitat?

It’s ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE! PEOPLE WITH A PASSION… homeowners, volunteers and HFH staff.

You can feel it when you attend a kick-off event.  You can feel it at a home build or home dedication. You can feel it when you talk with the homeowners, volunteers, Tiger Team, construction workers and Habitat staff. You see it in people’s eyes and in their smiles. That’s how Habitat was started… someone with a passion!

Habitat for Humanity is an organization that exhibits God’s love to others in a very concrete way! (no pun intended)

We should warn you…..it’s addictive! Once you experience that kind of passion you’ll want to be a part of it! We do!

Diane and Joe

Diane and Joe are Builders Circle members, volunteer with Greater Indy Habitat through their church, St. Mark’s UMC, are homeowner mentors to two Habitat families, and have traveled to El Salvador to build homes twice with our Global Village program.

Upcoming Global Village Trip to El Salvador: Chris

By | Global Village | No Comments

Before leaving for his second trip to El Salvador with Habitat for Humanity, Chris shares what the experience of serving with others means to him.

It’s been a year and half since I was in El Salvador for the first time with Global Village, and now that I’m ready to embark on my second trip this month, I can honestly say I’m just as excited if not more this time!

I’ve been blessed to be a part of another Global Village mission trip with our incredible international Habitat partners in El Salvador.  The fact that we get the opportunity to work alongside (sometime in the ditches), a family to raise the walls of their home is an amazing feeling, and regardless of the language barrier, there’s always something special about the bond we have with these families.

I would also add that our interactions with the local Habitat team, including the construction team, has been inspiring.  They welcome us with open arms, as if we were family and treat us like royalty!   They take care of our every need, and always keep our safety a top priority.  And when we’re not on the build site, we’re taking in the local culture and enjoying the hospitality of the wonderful people of El Salvador.

Overall, the trip is nothing short of a life-changing experience that I would encourage everyone to consider in their lifetime!

Why I Build: Jamie

By | Women Build | No Comments

Jamie Gardner, 2017 Women Build Co-Chair, shares why she participates in the Women Build. 

Growing up, I was always taught that one of the most important things one can do is give back to our community. I am also a proud third generation builder, following in my father and grandfather’s footsteps through a male-dominated industry. So, when I was told about Habitat’s inaugural Women Build four years ago, I immediately was all in, because how synergistic was it to combine my desire to make the world a better place with what I do every day! Plus, I am always game for the opportunity to play with nail guns!

Little did I know at the time that I would get so much more out of Women Build than I could ever contribute. To see what women can do when we come together is truly awe-inducing. We have continually exceeded the financial goals we set each year and show no signs of slowing down. My favorite part of the experience is the build days where I see my friends who were scared to use a hammer at the beginning of the day, using a miter saw to cut siding like a boss by the end of it! That feeling of empowerment is powerful to not only experience, but to see in others.

At the end of the day, we truly are making a difference in our world. We are helping a family achieve their dream of homeownership, giving them the foundation they need to build a better future for themselves. I remember Ronnisha (last year’s homeowner) telling me that she wanted to show her daughter that where you come from doesn’t dictate where you have to be in life. This year’s homeowner, Andrea, wants to give her daughters a safe haven where she doesn’t have to worry about crime happening right outside of her door. After hearing that, how can you not become invested?! I would urge all women to get involved with Women Build because the experience of giving someone a hand up (not a hand-out!) will stay with you long after the last nail is hammered in, wall is painted and flower is planted. Women rock!

Learn more about the Women Build program, how you can support the 2017 build, or participate as a builder in 2018!

The Queen of the Castle

By | Homeowner | No Comments

Tiffani opens up and shares how being a new homeowner makes her feel like the queen of her castle. 

 “Being a homeowner is like a dream that I haven’t woken up from yet.  These last two months have made me feel ultimately blessed.  Every day when I leave and come home I walk through and double check everything. I enjoy looking out of the windows and reflecting on this next chapter in my life.

I feel so happy when I walk through the house, whether I am cleaning, in my office, or cooking. This new chapter in my life is the start of something beautiful.  My favorite part of my house is my office, I spend a lot of time in there for school, relaxing, and personal entertainment. I was extremely excited to come home during the holidays after visiting my family.  It was a bitter sweet, as I am currently single.  After leaving the holiday excitement and coming home to relax was an amazing feeling.  I am looking forward to implementing DIY ideas for my house and making them into reality throughout the year. I feel like this is my castle and I am the queen. I couldn’t be happier!”

We encourage you to explore ways to Get Involved with Habitat for Humanity, so together we can provide strength, stability and self-reliance to future homeowners.

 

Global Village Trip in the Dominican Republic

By | From the CEO, Global Village | One Comment

What makes a house a home? I recently returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic, where I participated with several other CEOs from various Habitat for Humanity affiliates from around the country to learn about the impact Habitat is having in the Dominican Republic.

We had the opportunity to work alongside one of the families Habitat Dominican Republic is helping to build a home. A mom and her baby lived in what we would describe in the U.S. as a shack. It was next to her parent’s home that didn’t have enough room in it for her and her baby. Corrugated metal was manipulated, along with metal and wood scraps to form the exterior. It had no indoor plumbing or electricity. Most of us have better accommodations for our lawnmowers.

At no more than 150 square feet of space, this was her house. It kept her mostly safe from rain and the elements. She stored what clothes and possessions she had in it. She sleeps in it and is raising her child in it. Soon Habitat Dominican Republic will work alongside her to finish her block home that will have indoor plumbing and electricity, which will greatly improve her safety and health conditions for her baby and give her more space.

I had walked inside to see the interior of the house that she called home. As I exited the darkness of the house and entered the bright, afternoon sunlight through the one doorway, I discovered what made the house a home. My head grazed a small, but shiny wind chime, hanging from the top of the doorway. As I turned back to look at the full structure, I was struck by the fact that no matter the condition of her house, this mom was going to do what she could to make it her home. To me, this wind chime symbolized her effort to make it her home.

Maybe watching the chimes dance under a brisk wind took her mind off of reality. Maybe she liked how the solid shine of wind chimes glittered against the rugged tapestry of metal and wood, or even less esoteric, maybe it simply was her way of turning a house into a home.

Habitat for Humanity currently works in nearly 70 countries worldwide and has helped more than 6.8 million people with improved living conditions since 1976. Strength, stability and independence are key components to the work we do. What is at the heart of what we do is creating a better a home situation. By doing this, we are truly fulfilling the vision to provide everyone a decent place to live and call home.