The Power of Going Off-Script

By | From the CEO | No Comments

From the Desk of Jim Morris, President & CEO

Martin Luther King Jr. is annually honored in the month of January for his peaceful leadership toward civil rights in the 1950’s and 60’s. His “I have a Dream” speech has been hailed as a defining moment of the civil rights movement back in 1963. What I particularly love about this influential speech is that the end of the speech that we know so well was partly improvised. According to historical accounts, Mahalia Jackson, the popular gospel singer, yelled from the crowd listening to Reverend King, “Tell them about the dream, Martin.”

I love that while he had a prepared speech, this impromptu request enticed Reverend King to go off-script and share his passion and dream from his heart. It is now the most famous portion of that influential speech.

Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity is a part of Habitat’s worldwide vision to end poverty housing with our efforts concentrated on Hancock, Hendricks, and Marion counties and our international relationship primarily with El Salvador. We have plans for our work this year to provide more housing solutions than ever in our 31st year.

Reverend King likely tirelessly poured over planning and writing his speech for the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” on August 28, 1963. Yet, the passion from his improvisation is what has been most remembered. 

We are vigorously working to prepare for 2018. I am confident that our core team will maximize use of our resources to provide the most individuals the joy and stability of homeownership. I wonder, though, which one of you will yell from the crowd like Mahalia Jackson? Who will be that volunteer who will spark us to share our deeper passions? How will we go off-script to love our neighbors this year? What will you do to help someone accomplish their dream?

Save the Date: 2018 Kick-Off

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This year, we will have 8,000+ volunteer opportunities to advance Habitat’s mission in Marion, Hendricks, and Hancock counties. How will you make an impact in 2018?

Discover how you can build strength, stability, and independence for families in need of affordable homeownership at our 2018 Habitat Kick-Off. On March 22, at 6 p.m., at DeveloperTown, attendees will:

  • Celebrate the 2017 success of our homeowners, volunteers, and sponsors
  • Discover volunteer opportunities that fit your schedule and passion
  • Meet Habitat homebuyers
  • Hear about homeowner and neighborhood impact from Jim Morris, president & CEO
  • Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, Sun King drinks, and company among friends

Register today!

Join us to not only learn how Habitat homeownership has transformed the lives of local families, but also to discover how you can make this impact even greater in 2018 and beyond. Spread the word, bring a friend, and get ready to build homes for families, hope for the future, and community in 2018!

With questions please contact Amy Donhardt, adonhardt@indyhabitat.org or 317.777.6085.

From Gingerbread to Building Supplies

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Allyson Smith’s second/third grade class at Cardinal Elementary School in Brownsburg can tell you all about homeownership, and specifically Habitat homeownership. Every other year her students complete a “Home for the Holidays” project to not only learn about mortgages and home construction, but also the importance of helping families who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity for homeownership.

As a conclusion to the program, we were invited to share how our homeownership program builds homes alongside Hendricks County families with the help of local volunteers. “These kids were so smart!” shared Amy Donhardt, events manager and Brownsburg resident, who shared a Habitat presentation on their final day of school in 2017. “The students knew that Habitat homeowners have stable work and pay an affordable mortgage, something many adults don’t know. I loved seeing these young minds learn the importance of homeownership and also giving back in a meaningful way.”

Their class also surpassed their goal and raised more than $400 to support our mission by making gingerbread house ornaments to sell at their holiday programs. Thank you, Ms. Smith’s class, for your commitment to learning and serving your neighbors!

A Hand Up, Not a Hand-Out

By | Homeowner | No Comments

Meredith Canfield, Volunteer Manager, explains how we lift up our homeowners with tools and resources.

At Habitat, we have traditionally used the phrase, “we are a hand up, not a hand-out” as our unofficial missional mantra. Whenever I actually say that phrase out loud, my Hollywood film imagination visualizes hand up as a person being lifted up in the emotional, educational and physical sense. Picture this scene: a close up camera view of a person sitting in a chair with a clear indication that they need help determining a new direction for their life. [Cue inspirational music.] Then, with the camera panning the room from the perfect angle, you see a person put their arm around the individual to lift them up as they walk out of the scene together in hopeful pursuit of something better.

There are several ways that Habitat lifts up future homeowners prior them signing a 0% interest mortgage and receiving the keys to their new home! One of my favorite ways we lift up our homeowners is by providing Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class. (This class is actually a personal love and passion of mine. You can read more about that in this blog post.) Our homeowners learn things like budgeting, saving cash for large purchases, getting out of debt, and even giving financially to others. Being burdened by the cost of high rent and a low income, obtaining financial peace may have once been a pipe dream for many of our homebuyers. By partnering with Habitat and learning skills taught by Dave Ramsey, our homeowners have an opportunity to feel financial peace and confidence as they make the mortgage payment each month for years to come.

One thing my Hollywood imagination left out of the scene is the hard work that real life individuals live out after they are lifted up. While the short scene I described doesn’t paint the full picture of our mission’s mantra, the real life journey toward Habitat homeownership begins with a lift but continues down a path of hard work, pride, and success for each homeowner.

Want to read about success stories of Homeowners after they are in their home? Check out this blog post about Amy, Habitat Homeowner 2017.

Home for the Holidays

By | Homeowner | No Comments

For Amy and her son, Isaac, the feeling of being home for the holidays is a gift they will never take for granted.

After Amy’s husband returned from military service in 2008, their family life changed drastically. It was then that she moved back in with her parents.

After my husband came home from the war, we were faced with the challenge of living with his PTSD. He did not feel that he could be a part of our family anymore, and left both of us. Because of this, it was my turn to be ‘in need.’ My parents took us in and we began to heal.

Amy found out about Habitat for Humanity from a co-worker. She learned that her family was a perfect candidate for the program: first-time homeowner, a stable income and a willingness to invest time and energy to learn the facets of being a successful homeowner, while also helping to build her home. This year, Amy and her son Isaac are proudly spending their first holiday season in the comfort of their Habitat home. From the beginning of her Habitat journey, Amy knew her home would be a blessing that would extend to others…

I’m a single mom and I’m a social worker so there’s not a lot of money to be had. We were living with my parents and I felt called to expand our horizons and through homeownership reach out to other people as a good steward of that home. I wanted to be a good example to my son of how important it is to become a homeowner and what a great reward it is; to show him how to be hospitable to others and to be a part of the Kingdom in that way.

Amy and her son, Isaac, have found strength and stability since moving into their new Habitat home. As a first-time homeowner, Amy has enjoyed new experiences that were not possible before. She has started hosting a small group from her church at her house, has welcomed Tucker, their new dog and says their home has become “that house” for where neighborhood kids gather.

I really like to cook so having my own kitchen has been nice! I love having family and friends over for dinner and the neighborhood kids are at my house 6 days a week! That has been the biggest blessing, getting to know my neighbors and to watch my son make good friends. We would never have had that if we did not move into our Habitat home.

This holiday season, help make “home for the holidays” a reality for more families. As you read this, another person just like Amy is pursuing the dream of homeownership through Greater Indy Habitat. Your gift today has the power to change a lives.