Meredith Canfield reflects back on her first year in the role of Volunteer Manager for Greater Indy Habitat.
Being that this was my first year on the Greater Indy Habitat team, I’ve had many opportunities to share of my new job with friends, family or even strangers. I can usually guess the response I will get after I tell someone I work for Habitat. It’s usually something like, “Oh wow, what an exciting job! What’s it like to work on the build site?” Most – if not all people – are surprised when I say that I’m mainly in the office working with our corporate sponsors to coordinate volunteers. Over time I’ve even noticed that a fair amount of people look disappointed after I derail their Disney-build site version of what it’s like to work at Habitat. I have learned to quickly respond with “I’m meant for an office setting. I don’t like getting dirty,” which helps to make people laugh. While getting dirty doesn’t actually bother me, the other part is true. I am meant for the office. I came from the corporate world, so emails and spreadsheets are my jam.
Being that I spend most of my time in the office, it’s easy to get laser focused on emails, meetings, and quick clicking strategic thoughts. I know, I know. There has to be someone in the backgrounds coordinating volunteers so the build site can come alive with groups of eager and excited people to walk alongside our homeowners. For this behind the curtain girl, these day-to-day tasks are totally my strengths but don’t always fuel my spirit like people, their stories or their hearts do. Earlier this year I decided I needed to find ways to maintain the spirit instead of just maintaining spreadsheets!
Getting out of the office to periodically serve as a build site volunteer was just what I needed! I helped to raise the walls of Danyelle’s home, carried heavy pieces of sod for Miranda’s yard, and used a nail gun to hang up siding on the front of Christine’s house. I loved hanging with volunteers, spending time with our homeowners, and learning the ins and outs of home construction from our Tiger Team. Not only did it fuel my spirit in ways a crossed off to-do list could never do, it gave me a new found appreciation for the hard work put in by our homeowners, volunteers, and construction staff, who work together to build beautiful homes.
Reflecting back on my first year, working for Habitat IS an exciting job and I feel very blessed to be a part of a team that encourages me to find ways to maintain the spirit behind a computer and on the build site. It’s hard to believe that 2017 is nearly over and I feel excited for another year of yes… emails, meetings, and spreadsheets but also a year of purpose, spirit, and joy.
To schedule your own out of the office build day in 2018, sign up for our monthly updates by registering here!