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habitat4humanity

National Volunteer Week-Finding Your Fit : Meredith

By | Volunteer | No Comments

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

A friend told me recently that she set a New Year’s resolution to find an organization where she can consistently use her skills in a volunteer opportunity. With a little guilt in her voice, she told me that she hadn’t even begun to find the right volunteer fit, and we are already 4 months into the year! Lucky for her, April 23-27 marks National Volunteer Week, and it’s perfect timing to revive that resolution!

Just as 1 Peter 4:10 suggests, each of us has a gift or skill to utilize when serving others. Knowing your gifting – as well as your heart and your schedule – will help you discover your volunteer fit. Below are a few questions to ask yourself as you get started:

HEART: What sort of missions or causes do I naturally desire to be a part of?

SKILLS: What gifts or skills could I offer to support a mission and would it be something I would enjoy doing?

SCHEDULE: How often (i.e., once per week, once per month, etc.) would I want to volunteer?

God calls us to be cheerful givers, just as written in 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” This verse in scripture might make you think of only financially giving; however, I think it also has to do with giving of your heart, your skills and your time. We hope that wherever you find yourself giving, you are able to do so with a cheerful heart!

If your fit is here with us at Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity, we would love to have you serving our mission of seeking to put God’s love into action, by bringing people together to build homes, community and hope! We have chosen to show God’s love through the vessel of building homes; however, did you know we offer a variety of volunteer experiences that do not entail swinging a hammer, installing siding or painting walls? You could be a mentor for one of our homeowners, volunteer in one of our ReStores or even travel to El Salvador as part of our Global Village program to make a difference internationally.

Our volunteer opportunities entail varied time commitments and incorporate a variety of skill sets. To learn more, please check out our Volunteer Opportunities listed on our website or email us at volunteer@indyhabitat.org to learn more. We hope to see you soon!

Builders Circle Quote: Peggy & Paul

By | Builders Circle | No Comments

Why do we support Habitat for Humanity?

We support Habitat because of the good work it does in uplifting our broader Indianapolis community, the benefits it brings in improving housing in local neighborhoods and the opportunity it provides for homeownership.

Aside from that, we enjoy the sense of accomplishment in seeing a new home constructed or an existing home refurbished from beginning to end.

Peggy and Paul

Peggy and Paul are Builders Circle members, and Paul has been a Tiger Team member and leader for nine years. 

Home is the Key : Jim

By | From the CEO | No Comments

At our home blessings, the homeowner is passed their key to unlock the door and begin the transition from house to home.  Each homeowner has already worked on the construction or rehabilitation of their home and are ready to begin paying their mortgage at 0% interest, but the passing of the keys is symbolic to the completion of one journey and the beginning of another.

Fittingly, Home is the Key is the name of a signature campaign that Habitat for Humanity International is promoting throughout the month of April.  You may have seen the promotion in USA Today on Friday, April 7.  While Habitat for Humanity officially started its mission 41 years ago, this is the first national campaign of this scale. This now annual campaign is meant to shine a light on Habitat’s work to meet the need for decent, affordable housing throughout the US.

The campaign will profile Habitat’s strategies to help improve communities and will highlight the important role of homeownership in helping families achieve strength, stability and self-reliance.

Just in greater Indianapolis, the Fair Market Rent rate is $809, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition “Out of Reach 2016” study.  Low and moderate income households spend too much of their monthly income, often over 40%, at this rental rate and cannot escape the cyclical poverty challenges.

Our monthly mortgage rates at 0% keep payments below $500 per month, allowing for a household with low or moderate income to stabilize their housing situation, while also strengthening their housing situation.

While a key is the symbol to turn the house into a home, the families are the reason our mission of bringing people together to build homes, community and hope is so needed.  Keep an eye out for the Home is the Key campaign this month.  Share it with others as well.

Five New Habitat Homes : Ted

By | Tiger Team, Volunteer | No Comments

Yesterday we started the construction of FIVE new Habitat homes!

The sunny spring weather could not have been more perfect to raise the walls and get the homes started alongside the future homeowners. Some of the Habitat staff, board and Tiger Team members spent the day working on one of the builds together.

Often when I meet someone for the first time and tell them I work at Habitat for Humanity, they assume I am on build sites with a hammer in my hand most days. The reality is, most of us work in an office or around a conference table. Some of us can build a spreadsheet much easier than we can build a house!

A couple of times a year though, office staff shut down their computers and get out to work. Yesterday was one of those days.

Each time I get on a build site, I am reminded of how important Habitat’s work is and how easily we can see the mission statement being lived out. I was reminded as I watched Danyelle put the first nail in her new home. I was reminded as we gathered together in the morning and took a moment to pause and pray. I was reminded as we raised heavy walls while holding conversations and sharing laughs. I was reminded as I looked past the homes being built today and looked at the houses that were built last year—no longer just houses, but now part of the fabric of the community forever.

The build we worked on today is called the “Habitat United Build” and is a first of a kind build for our office. The funds needed to make the build possible were donated by the board members, Tiger Team, staff and friends. And each volunteer day is being filled by those same people. The build shows that all of us are fully invested in the complete Habitat mission: in the office, on the build site, with our finances and with our friends. In order to see a world where everyone has a decent place to live, it will take all of us.

Three new Habitat families have already cut the ribbon on their homes this year. Five homes started yesterday. We are well on our way to getting 27 families in their homes before the end of the year.

Yes, Habitat builds houses. But it’s never just about the houses. It’s always been so much more.

Join Us.

Interested in being involved this year?

Check our Volunteer Page often  *  Support the Habitat United Build  *  Join the Builders Circle

2017 Global Conference: Nick

By | Events | No Comments

As a newcomer to Habitat for Humanity, I did not know exactly what to expect out of the 2017 Habitat for Humanity International’s Global Conference.  My experience with Habitat for Humanity had been solely with our affiliate in Indianapolis before traveling to Atlanta.  Seeing the scale and diversity of the organization globally was powerful.  From the moment I arrived at the convention center, I could feel that I was a part of something much bigger than any one person—much bigger than myself.  The excitement and friendliness of the attendees and my fellow coworkers made conversation easy and the exchange of ideas unavoidable.

I was brought on board with Greater Indy Habitat to help them develop a homeowner repair program, and I was going about this task in what I thought was the only way of doing it.  Attending sessions at the conference did not just expose me to new ideas, tips, and advice on how to run an efficient and successful homeowner repair program.  It also made me realize how unique each affiliate’s approach to their community is and how in order to be successful, we have to tailor our services to the communities we serve.

Overall, my Global Conference experience inspired me.  I know that reading this may come across as inauthentic, but I absolutely mean it.  I was able to make international connections with people who have been working in the organization for decades. I bonded with my coworkers, and I even made a few new friends.  I think the most important thing I left with, though, was a sense of excitement for the future of our program and the inspiration to create something meaningful for our community.

Let Us Work : Jonathan

By | Interfaith | No Comments

We have worked hard and accomplished something great.  The homes we built last year are a testament to the beauty of diversity, the sanctity of humanity, and the unfathomable, infinitely delightful, and irrefutable worth of our efforts when we come together for the good of one another.

We have worked hard, and this year we are starting a new chapter. A chapter where more people can come together in humility- a chapter in which more people are willing, able, and eager to learn from one another, and to serve one another.

Our work so far has empowered our neighbors and spread hope during this time of ever-increasing need.  When we consider that the entirety of humanity suffers or thrives as one, that the Image of God exists in the unity of all people, we have no course of action but to come together in action.  We are compelled to begin the restorative work of service.  And this service is not merely done for those we serve, nor for our own pride.  We serve one another for the greater good of every single one of us.

The artist Lilla Watson once said, “If you have come to help, then you are wasting your time.  But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

The journey we embark on with each and every Habitat homeowner is a testament to the value of cooperation, human dignity, and the potential within all of us to build great things together.  We emphasize that what we do is a “hand up,” not a “handout.”  The work done at these Interfaith Builds especially, brings all people of different backgrounds together, to walk alongside a homeowner in the incredible work they do.  It is not the work of some, presented as a gift to others.  It is an act of supreme equality and togetherness.  It is the efforts of many, for the good of many.

In order to make these builds possible, we need the support of many different faith groups, coming together for one cause.  Currently, we are striving to attain the funding necessary for this year’s Interfaith Build, and we are persistent in our efforts. We commit to this work because we trust that accomplishing it together is glorious.  We commit to this work, knowing that despite our diverse religious backgrounds, our religious conviction to serve and to love one another can still unite us.  We commit to this work because it is worth every bead of sweat, every dollar spent, and every difficult moment, to see this work done.

So, let us work together, all of us.  Let us work together to show love and kindness to our fellow human.  Let us work together to become better people together, and make a world where everyone has a decent place to live.  Let us work together to build homes for families, hope for tomorrow, and community for everybody.

Peace, Salaam, Shalom.

Ps- If you are interested in supporting this year’s Interfaith Build financially, or getting your faith community involved, please contact Joel Reichenbach at 317.777.6070 or jreichenbach@indyhabitat.org

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.