Volunteer Spotlight: Brian Schoen

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Volunteering with Greater Indy Habitat can be an activity for the whole family! Brian Schoen, inspired by his father’s volunteerism through our Tiger Team, started his journey with us in 2010. Since then, Brian’s commitment has grown, contributing over 200 hours of his time on various build sites across our community.

Brian’s dedication to Habitat’s mission goes beyond the numbers. He believes in continuous learning, discovering new insights every time he volunteers. “I keep coming back to volunteer because I still learn something new every time – whether it’s about how much work the homebuyers have to go through in the program before they close on their own house or about how to install exterior vinyl siding,” he shares.

A key takeaway from Brian’s experience is that construction skills are not required. No matter your skillset or level of expertise, we have a place for you. Brian encourages potential volunteers who consider working with us to “Just ‘DO IT’ – even without construction experience. The patient staff will guide you through the necessary skills.

“At the end of the day, the tangible result of seeing what I helped accomplish that day combined with the efforts of all of the other volunteers is the best reward.”

Thank you, Brian, for all your hard work! If you’re interested in joining us as a volunteer, learn more and get involved here.

2022 Volunteers of the Year

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Thank you to our dedicated 2022 Volunteers of the Year – Jack Bell, Chan O’Connor, and Keith Nonnenmacher!

Meet our remarkable 2022 Volunteers of the Year – Jack Bell, Chan O’Connor, and Keith Nonnenmacher, whose dedication has set a new standard of commitment at our ReStores. With their countless hours and unwavering enthusiasm, they’ve truly embodied the spirit of giving back. Their efforts in the ReStores have not only enriched our mission but also the lives of individuals in our community. We’re profoundly grateful for their tireless contributions, as they continue to inspire us all to make a positive impact.

2019 Award Recipients

By | Volunteer, Young Professional | One Comment

In place of a large gathering to announce our 2019 award recipients, we opted to surprise each winner with a recognition of their dedicated and outstanding support of Habitat’s mission in Greater Indy. Check out the videos below to hear from each award recipient about why they work diligently to build homes, community and hope!

Congratulations to our 2019 Frank Hartman Volunteer of the Year, Erika Fotsch! Watch the video below to see Erika accept the award and learn more about why she is committed to Habitat’s mission in our city, state, and world.

Congratulations to our 2019 Legacy Corporate Partner, Carrier Corporation! We caught up with Carrier leaders and volunteers on the build site this fall. Check out the video below to discover why they come back year after year (for 25 years and counting!) to support Habitat families in achieving their goal of homeownership.

Congratulations to our 2019 Legacy Church Partner, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church! Many of our partners do more than just volunteer on the build site and St. Mark’s UMC is a prime example of that extended engagement. St. Mark’s long-term commitment to our mission has blessed many first-time homeowners.

Please join us in congratulating each of our incredible 2019 award recipients! 

Meet our 2020 Winter Warriors!

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Spring is officially here and 4 families have become new homeowners thanks to help from our winter warriors! This winter we rewarded volunteers who came out twice between January and March with a Habitat branded beanie. This group of winter warriors braved the crazy Indiana weather and came out to help install flooring, paint indoors and out, and complete a variety of other projects! Check out some photos of our warriors at work below: 

Winter Warrior Banner

Congratulations to the following volunteers for earning #winterwarrior status:

  • Aaron B.
  • Alexis P.
  • Ana D.
  • Andy R.
  • Ashley I.
  • Avion R.
  • Brian S.
  • Bryan A.
  • Collin C.
  • Colton G.
  • Dana G.
  • Dante C.
  • David G.
  • Erika F.
  • Faith F.
  • Gael A.
  • Joe S.
  • Juan G.
  • Karen J.
  • Katherine S.
  • Kyu K.
  • Lucian R.
  • Marco B.
  • Mike W.
  • Nethan I.
  • Nole S.
  • Oscar D.
  • Oscar R.
  • Ray M.
  • Rowan F.

Thank you to our winter warriors and all of our volunteers that helped us build homes, community, and hope this winter 

Advocating for Habitat on the Hill

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Written by Meagan Heber

A few months ago, I was presented with the opportunity to attend the Habitat national advocacy conference, Habitat on the Hill, in Washington, D.C. in February. At the conference, affiliate staff and volunteers from all over the United States join together over several days to talk to their senators and representatives at the Capitol, garnering support for legislation and funding. As a member of Greater Indy Habitat’s Young Professionals chapter who had never advocated in this capacity before, I was excited and very nervous.

To combat my nerves before I left, Joel, Greater Indy Habitat’s Corporate and Faith Relations Coordinator, gave me some advice—

“Be humble, but confident.”

As much as I love Habitat, and as confident as I am in the incredible power a home has to bring hope to a family and revitalize communities, I still felt small and shaky touching down in the midst of a bustling city full of polished and influential people. Why would a representative care about what I have to say? How could a young volunteer from Indianapolis contribute to the important and complex conversation surrounding housing affordability in the United States?

A few days later, after hours of inspiring speakers and an energizing rally with Habitat staff and advocates, I was walking down the steps of the Capital building. When I told my group that I was inexperienced and not the most educated on the statistics and stories that could influence our policy-makers, Gina, Indiana’s State Director, gave me an encouraging rebuke.

“You know plenty,” she said. “You just need to talk about your time with AmeriCorps and how you are pursuing a life of public service.”

I came to Habitat through the AmeriCorps program in 2016, fresh out of college and unsure where life was taking me. For a year, I helped coordinate volunteers, swung a few hammers, and mingled with homeowners, all the while seeing how Habitat raised up homes, supported families, and changed neighborhoods from the inside out. It was because of this incredible experience that I joined Habitat Young Professionals when I moved to Indianapolis, why I dived into the leadership team and got involved, and why I am pursuing a career in community development work.

It’s also why I got on a plane to Washington, nervous and excited to advocate for what I believe in—the power of Habitat for Humanity to change lives. I know that it changed mine!

Joel and Gina’s advice, and the encouragement of so many others, finally came together for me when I stepped into Representative Hollingsworth’s office with Habitat friends from Bloomington and Terre Haute. We had a friendly conversation, and when it was my turn to speak to the Congressman, I shared a piece of my story. I told him how influential AmeriCorps and Habitat had been in my life and how, as a result, I was encouraging other young professionals in Indianapolis to get involved in building affordable homes, communities, and hope.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to raise a voice with so many others on behalf of Habitat for Humanity. I’m excited for the continuation of the incredible work that happens on the ground raising walls and bringing people together. And I’m emboldened—because if even I can be an advocate for this incredible organization, then you can be, too!

Volunteer Spotlight – Meet Brian

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Volunteers make Habitat’s mission of building homes, communities, and hope possible. While many people will build one time through their workplace, church, or civic organization, some keep coming out to the build site to give their time and talent for our homebuyers. These are volunteers like Brian McGreer. Brian receives workplace VTO (volunteer time off) as a benefit and spends many of those hours on a Habitat build site and is also a member of the Habitat Young Professionals chapter. Read more about Brian and his experience as a volunteer below!

Brian McGreer Greater Indy Habitat Volunteer Spotlight

Q&A with Brian:

You are a committed volunteer for Habitat and we are so grateful! What is it about Habitat that keeps you coming back?
“I really enjoy working with fun and kind people to give back to the community. I feel a real sense of accomplishment after a day of volunteering.”

Our volunteers often tell us they learn something new every time they volunteer – whether that’s a Habitat fact or a new skill. What’s something new you have learned while volunteering?
“Put your paintbrush in a plastic bag when you take a lunch break. It keeps the paint from drying in the brush without having to clean it before you’re done for the day.”

If you had to use three words to describe your volunteer experience with us, what would it be?
“Worthwhile, rewarding, and fun.”

What is your favorite thing about being a Young Professional volunteer?
“Helping to stand up the Young Professionals group has given me the chance to meet a lot of great people, and to expand the volunteer base for Habitat to help the affiliate grow.”

What advice would you give to those looking to get involved with Habitat?
“Just do it! Don’t be afraid to volunteer. There are so many different ways to contribute, there’s always something you can do. If you’ve never done the type of work, they’ll teach you. It’s a great opportunity to learn new skills while helping your community.”

Is there anything else you’d like to add about your volunteer experience with Habitat?
“The entire staff of the Greater Indy affiliate is amazing! Seriously, those people rock. They’re so nice, and fun, and good at their jobs. It’s great working with them!”

Thank you, Brian, for all that you do to build strength, stability and independence through homeownership!

Six Tips to Prep for Your Build Day

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First things first, if you haven’t signed up for a build day yet, do it now! This list is can only help you prepare for your build day if you are signed up to volunteer. Go to to find an available build day. Once you’ve registered, come back and check out the rest of this list!

Signing up for your build day is just the beginning of your volunteer experience. Check out this list to make sure you have a stress free morning and a successful build day!

1. Know where you’re going – Check your confirmation message or reminder email for the exact address of your build. Use your favorite maps app to find the fastest route so you arrive on time! The confirmation message and reminder email will also having instructions for parking. Wherever you park, please be mindful of driveways and mailboxes! We want to be considerate of our new neighbors.

Pro-tip: if you are coming with a group, try to carpool to the build site to make parking a breeze!2. Check the weather – Indiana weather can change at any time, so dress in layers to be prepared for anything! We build rain or shine so please arrive on site in appropriate attire regardless of the conditions. If inclement weather persists, we will call the day on site.

3. Pick the right shoes – All volunteers must wear closed-toe shoes on site. The build site can be very muddy, even when it’s not rainy. We recommend wearing old sneakers, rain boots, or work boots for your volunteer day!

Pro-tip: bring an extra pair of shoes to change into for your ride home!4. Leave your tools at home – Habitat provides all of the training, tools, safety equipment, and materials for your build day. If you must bring your favorite hammer, make sure you keep an eye on it! Habitat isn’t responsible for any lost or stolen tools.5. Stay energized – Habitat provides lunch on site and includes a vegetarian option. Clif Bars and water are also available. If you have a stricter diet or need a caffeine fix, you are welcome to bring your own lunch to site! Just be sure to keep it in an insulated lunch box or cooler so it stays safe to eat come lunchtime.6. Check in with your company’s HR department – Do you have VTO (volunteer time off) or another benefit that allows you to take time off to volunteer? Email your HR person and see if there are extra perks for volunteering!Now you know how to best prepare for your build day with Habitat! Still not sure what to expect when you arrive on site? Here’s what you need to know about your volunteer shift!

What to Know Before You Build with Habitat

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We often hear that volunteering with Habitat is an “I’ve always wanted to do that” sort of thing. We created this list to help you know what to expect on a Habitat build site!

1. You don’t have to have any experience. Never used a hammer? No problem! Afraid of looking silly? Not a chance! Unsure about nail guns? We’ll teach you! Our superintendent and volunteer Tiger Team will teach you everything you need to know for your volunteer day. Feel empowered to sign up for something new today!What to Know Before You Build (1)2. Per our insurance requirements, all volunteers must be at least 16 years-old to participate! All 16 and 17 year-olds can’t use power tools or go above 6 feet on a ladder on the build site. If there is a project that isn’t suitable for minors, the description will include “Must be at least 18 years-old to use power tools.”

3. Habitat provides all of the tools, PPE (personal protective equipment), and build materials. You can leave your tools at home because Habitat will have everything you need to get the job done!4. A volunteer shift on the Habitat build site is roughly 6.5 hours. A typical timeline of the day looks like this:

7:45 amYou arrive to the build site and get checked in.
8:00 amOrientation, safety briefing and project assignment.
8:15 amLet’s build!
11:30 amWe’ll provide you lunch. A vegetarian option is included, but you are welcome to bring your own lunch with you.
12:00 pmSuit up and let’s get back at it.
2:30 pmClean up then it’s time to hang your hard hat!Projects and wrap up are subject to change! Please arrive on time and stay for the entirety of your shift for the best experience. If you do need to leave early, please let the superintendent know before you go.

5. We build rain or shine! Since Indiana weather can be fickle, please arrive on site in appropriate attire regardless of the conditions. It is recommended to dress in layers and bring rain or work boots. If inclement weather persists, we will call the day on site.

Pro-tip: keep extra clothes and shoes in your car for a warm and dry drive home!6. The build site can get very muddy and messy! You are volunteering on a construction site so be prepared for some mess! Build sites can be muddy even if it hasn’t rained recently and the ground may be uneven. Watch your step and tell the superintendent immediately if you have an accident!7. Some build projects require some “hurry up and wait.” Have patience with the superintendent and Tiger Team as they get everything prepped for the next step! Take this time to refill your water bottle or snap a selfie!

Pro-tip: Be sure to tag @IndyHabitat and share any photos you took during your volunteer shift with!

8. Expect to end the day feeling a little sore and very accomplished! While you’re working hard, take time to get to know the other volunteers you’re working with. Even if you’ve sat across from someone for five years, you may learn something new!We hope this list helps you feel more prepared to volunteer with Habitat! If you haven’t signed up to volunteer yet, we’d love to have you join us! Check out our volunteer website to sign up for a build today!

2019 Year-in-Review: Volunteers Making an Impact

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With the start of a new year, we reflect back on all that happened in 2019. What a packed year it was! We had over 6,900 individuals volunteer with us in 2019. Not to mention, 4,445 of those volunteers came out and built with us for the very first time! We also celebrated the dedications of 23 new homeowners, handing over the keys and celebrating this new chapter of homeownership with each family! Check out some more of our 2019 year-end volunteer impact stats below.

Volunteer Impact Graphic 2019 Year Recap

Get involved and volunteer with us in 2020! Volunteer twice on any build site between January and March and you will receive a limited-edition Habitat beanie (while supplies last). Learn more about how you can get your beanie and sign up to become a winter warrior at

Top 5 Tips for Braving the Cold | #WinterWarrior

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You’re really doing this. You’re going to sign up to volunteer in the middle of winter because you are a winter warrior! You’ve signed up for your build day and you know where you’re going, so now what? Greater Indy Habitat builds rain or shine (or snow!) so use these tips for braving the build site cold this winter.

1. Dress in warm layers – you never know what the day will bring with Indiana weather! Layer your clothing in this order for the most comfort:

  • Layer 1 – dry wicking material to keep your skin dry
  • Layer 2 – insulated layer of wool or polar fleece
  • Layer 3 – nylon or another wind resistant material

Not only should you layer up tops and bottoms, also be sure to wear gloves, a hat, and warm socks, too!

Pro tip: Bring extra clothes to change into for your drive home. Any wet or damp clothes should be removed immediately at the end of your shift.

2. Wear the right shoes – Rain boots or work boots always make a great fashion statement on the build site! Ideally, you’ll want to wear shoes that are waterproof and insulated to keep your toes warm and dry all day.

3. Take breaks inside – You should take breaks any time you are working hard but it’s extra important when it’s cold out! Taking a break indoors can help raise your body temperature and keep you going strong throughout the day.

4. Stay hydrated –Drinking enough fluids isn’t only important in the summer. Did you know that we dehydrate faster in colder weather? Not only will a cup of hot chocolate keep you feeling toasty, it will also help keep you hydrated, win-win!

Pro tip: Habitat provides water, Clif Bars, and lunch for all of our build site volunteers. We’ll help keep you fueled up to go all day!

5. Know when to call it quits – There is a difference between feeling cold and experiencing a cold related illness. You followed all of our tips but you still start to feel bad. If you experience shivering, loss of coordination, reduced blood flow to hands and feet, numbness, tingling, or aching, don’t try to push though, warrior! Stop what you’re doing and tell the superintendent immediately so they can help get you back to normal.

If you follow these 5 tips, you’ll have a great time on the build site! Click here for more information and to sign up for a build day.