Volunteer Spotlight: Lukas Gogis

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Let us introduce you to Lukas, another of our rockstar volunteers! Lukas has been volunteering with Greater Indy Habitat since 2017. One of his favorite parts of volunteering with Habitat is the physical aspect of the work. He says that the volunteer day is immensely satisfying; there is a clear and tangible result at the end of the day’s efforts. Lukas says that he always has the opportunity to try out a new tool he hasn’t used before or learn a different project.  

Lukas has had the opportunity to volunteer alongside his company, Eli Lilly. He loves the fact that his company values being involved in the community and appreciates all the benefits that come with that commitment. Lukas enjoys getting the opportunity to get to know his coworkers outside of the office. As a team building event, Lukas believes that there isn’t anything else that can compare to the experience on a Habitat build site. Everyone gets the chance to work hard for a purpose and have fun while doing it. His team still tells stories and shares nicknames from their volunteer days in past years.  

So, what keeps Lukas coming back to volunteer with Habitat year after year? For him, it’s more than just swinging a hammer; it’s about being part of a meaningful cause with a clear mission – providing housing and hope for families in our community. Over the years, Lukas has come to realize how rigorous the Habitat Homeownership Program is for the homebuyers rather than his previous misconception that Habitat simply gives homes away. 

For Lukas, volunteering with Habitat is a fulfilling experience that can be summed up in three words: fun, team building, and fulfilling. He appreciates how his efforts directly impact his local community, knowing that someone will ultimately benefit from the work he’s contributed. He’s all about making a difference in his community, one nail at a time. 

So, for anyone thinking about getting their company to partner with Greater Indy Habitat, Lukas has got some advice: just go for it! You won’t find a better way for your team to experience a sense of camaraderie, the chance to step outside one’s comfort zone, and an opportunity to make a tangible difference in the community. Want to learn more about what a corporate partnership with Greater Indy Habitat looks like? Check it out!  

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2023 Volunteer of the Year

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Thank you, Lisa, for serving your community with Habitat!

We are thrilled to announce Lisa Enright as the recipient of our 2023 Volunteer of the Year Award. Lisa’s dedication and tireless efforts have truly set her apart, as she consistently brings a contagious spirit of enthusiasm and positivity to the build site and to fellow volunteers. Her countless hours and boundless energy have made an impact on our organization, inspiring others to give their best and contribute to our mission of building homes and communities. Lisa’s commitment to service and her support are truly commendable, and we are grateful for her invaluable contributions. Congratulations, Lisa, on this well-deserved recognition!

Volunteer Spotlight: Christy Jacobi

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Habitat Donor & Volunteer for 20 years
Three words she uses to describe her experience with us: Authentic, Fun, Educational

At Habitat, we often find our most dedicated supporters are those who not only contribute financially but also roll up their sleeves on the build site. Christy embodies this spirit wholeheartedly. Her journey with Habitat began in 2005 when she and her husband, Jim, made their first donation with a commitment to invest locally and help families build generational wealth through homeownership.

As Christy’s involvement deepened, so did her passion for making a tangible impact. In 2021, she began volunteering, often bringing along her children Andy, Sara, and Ryan. For Christy, volunteering was about immersing herself in the Habitat experience, meeting future Habitat homeowners and learning about the education and sweat equity homeowners commit to in the program.

Christy has built memories with each of her children on the build site. On a hot summer day, she and her son Andy worked side by side with Rod, a family friend and Habitat Tiger, feeling both tired and inspired by the end of it. When she was on site with Sara, they installed siding alongside Erica, a 2023 Habitat Homeowner, who shared her enthusiasm for owning a home where her children had more space to learn, play and grow. Recently, Ryan volunteered with her, and they had the opportunity to chat with Habitat staff to learn even more about the impact of their family’s continued support. For Christy, it’s about instilling in her children the importance of community, philanthropy, and investing your time in a cause you care about.

We are so grateful for Christy’s commitment to walk alongside Habitat families as they achieve their dream of homeownership. There are many ways you can get involved in Habitat’s work. Learn more here!

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Volunteer Spotlight: Keith Nonnenmacher

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Habitat ReStore Volunteer for 2 years
Three words he uses to describe his experience with us: Fun, Inspiring, and Meaningful

Meet Keith, a dedicated volunteer who’s been making a significant impact at the Fishers Habitat ReStore since 2021. Before joining the Fishers team, he started his Habitat volunteer journey at the Charlottesville Habitat Store in Virginia back in 2019. After relocating to Indiana, he dove into the world of the Greater Indy Habitat ReStores. Since his inception in 2021, Keith has generously contributed 730 hours to the Fishers ReStore, a testament to his unwavering commitment. His dedication didn’t go unnoticed, as he was recognized as one of the 2022 Volunteer of the Year award recipients, having chalked up an impressive 377 hours. 

Keith’s passion lies in working with his hands, building, and fixing things. At the Fishers ReStore, he’s taken on the role of lighting maestro, expertly assembling light fixtures. When asked about his motivation to keep returning to the ReStore, he emphasizes his enjoyment in working with both the staff and customers. Keith’s specific area of interest, donated lighting, brings him immense satisfaction as he artfully arranges the lights to make them appealing to customers. His favorite aspect of volunteering, however, is the interactions with customers as they unearth hidden treasures at the ReStore. Over time, Keith has built connections with regular customers, and he eagerly anticipates hearing about how a ReStore find integrates into their home improvement projects. 

When Keith shares advice for prospective volunteers, he emphasizes the ever-present need for help at the ReStore and encourages them to give it a try. He suggests that finding one’s niche within the ReStore can be an incredibly rewarding experience, adding that seeing the positive impact they can make may lead to more volunteering hours than initially planned. 

As for memorable moments, Keith modestly shares that his most cherished one was receiving the Volunteer of the Year award in 2022. It’s a testament to his dedication and the gratification he derives from his volunteer work. Keith’s journey is a true testament to the joy and fulfillment that volunteering can bring, not just to those he serves but to himself as well. 

We thank you, Keith, for being a true champion of Habitat and serving the community with us. There are many opportunities to give your time and talents within the ReStore. Click here to learn more about ways to get involved.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Janette Smith

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4 Year Tiger Team Member

What is your favorite hobby/project outside of Habitat?
Gardening, singing, spending time with my daughter & husband, riding my bike (though not as much as some of the Tigers.

What is your favorite Tiger memory?
Helping to build the 2 Women’s Build houses in 2020 both as a Tiger & a Women’s Build team leader was a great accomplishment, since the Women’s Build was a big part of why I became a Tiger. But every home dedication is a great thing.

Possibly my least favorite memory was my failed attempt to teach my new phone to fly while putting the ridge cap on a mini barn. Said phone landed face-down on the new concrete pad. It did make my case to my husband that I really should use a screen protector….

What did you do in your previous life (pre-Tiger Team)?
I retired from being an Environmental Consultant for about 7 years, after previously retiring from 26+ years doing a variety of things at Dow AgroSciences. But I’m a compulsive community volunteer, so a number of those activities (church, neighborhood, Second Helpings, etc.) have continued.

Who is one of your heroes and why?
I don’t have a single hero, though I admire anyone who strives selflessly to improve others’ situations.

Janette, your commitment and enthusiasm truly embody the spirit of giving back. Thank you for showing up for us in such a big way! If you or anyone you know is inspired by Janette’s story and want to learn more about the Tiger Team, click here.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Ebony Carter

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Habitat Volunteer for 6 years
Three words she uses to describe her experience with us: Compassion, Diverse, Community

Meet Ebony, a dedicated volunteer with a passion for behavioral health and mental health, who is committed to making a positive impact in her community. Ebony’s journey volunteering with Habitat began in 2005 when she moved to Indianapolis, seeking to make friends and get involved in her new city. She found that volunteering was an easy way to meet like-minded individuals and connect with the kind of people who share her values and interests.  

One of the key factors that keeps Ebony coming back to volunteer with Greater Indy Habitat is the fulfillment she derives from it. She describes volunteering as something that “fills her cup” with joy. For Ebony, volunteering is a way to connect with a purpose, to meet people who are in the process of moving into new homes, and to witness the transformational impact that Habitat’s work has on families. She is deeply committed to serving underserved populations and fostering inclusivity. One of Ebony’s most cherished memories with Habitat was helping to finish a house for an immigrant family. The family’s overwhelming gratitude and excitement left a lasting impression on her, emphasizing the transformative power of Habitat’s work. 

Ebony’s love for volunteering lies in the connections she forms with people and the sense of fulfillment that comes from helping others. She firmly believes that those with skills and resources have an obligation to give back. Now, Ebony volunteers with her team at work, as a project manager with IU Health. Her journey with Habitat exemplifies the positive impact that dedicated volunteers can have on the world around them, helping to create stronger and more compassionate communities. If you would like to be a part of making that change happen, check out how to get more involved here 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Tony Roscetti

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Three words to describe his Habitat experience: Rewarding, Empowerment, Trust

Meet Tony, a steadfast volunteer at Greater Indy Habitat, whose passion for giving back to the community knows no limit! Tony’s unwavering commitment to Habitat is driven by the transformation he witnesses with each build site he shows up to. He finds profound satisfaction in observing raw materials, like drywall, paint, and 2x4s, change into safe and welcoming homes for families in need.  

Tony’s journey as a Habitat volunteer reflects a deep commitment to continuous learning. He aspires to become a part of the Tiger Team at Habitat someday, marking his transition from acquiring new skills to enjoying the opportunity to share his skills and knowledge with other volunteers.  

Reflecting on his favorite memory from volunteering, Tony recalls a day at a build site where a diverse group of volunteers, all showing up to volunteer as individuals and not with a larger collective group, spent the day working and bonding over their shared commitment. Their camaraderie extended beyond the volunteer hours, as they gathered at a nearby brewery, underscoring the meaningful connections that volunteering with Habitat can foster. 

For those considering involvement with Habitat, Tony offers valuable advice, emphasizing the importance of flexibility. He highlights that no build site ever goes precisely as planned, and adaptability is key. The camaraderie that is created when every volunteer must join in to figure out a problem together is unmatched. Tony leaves every volunteer day, whether the snow is falling, or the humidity is high, feeling empowered and accomplished. However, the best part is that he gets to see that same empowerment transform the homeowners and their families as they learn and help to build their own home.  

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Volunteer Spotlights

Volunteer Spotlight: Kurt Backlund

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Habitat Volunteer for 6 years
Three words to describe his Habitat experience: Fulfilling, Challenging, Fun

Kurt is a dedicated volunteer for Greater Indy Habitat who has been making a significant impact on the organization for the last ten years. Through the organizational partnership with Delta Faucet Company, Kurt has volunteered on the build site alongside his team and colleagues to help build homes in our community. Kurt embodies the spirit of volunteerism and community engagement, demonstrating unwavering commitment and enthusiasm towards Habitat’s mission of providing affordable housing solutions.  

For Kurt, the draw of volunteering with Greater Indy Habitat lies in the blend of personal fulfillment, teamwork, and community building. He loves the chance to roll up his sleeves and engage in hands-on work, finding immense joy in working alongside the Habitat team, his coworkers, and the future homeowners. One of Kurt’s favorite parts about being a long-time Habitat volunteer is that once he mastered a specific construction skill (like installing exterior trim), he is now able to experience mentoring and helping other volunteers learn those same skills. Beyond the physical aspects, what truly keeps Kurt coming back is the infectious passion, work ethic, and drive exhibited by the homeowners. The homeowners’ unwavering determination serves as a powerful motivator, reaffirming the importance of Habitat’s mission. 

Kurt shares his deep appreciation for the Habitat community, expressing that volunteering on a Habitat build is his favorite day of the year. He eagerly anticipates many more years of volunteering, including perhaps becoming a member of the Tiger Team upon retirement from Delta Faucet! The dedication of volunteers like Kurt showcases the spirit of volunteerism that helps make Habitat thrive. Want to become one of those people? Find out ways to become involved in changing your community.  

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Volunteer Spotlights

Volunteer Spotlight: Connie Alexander

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Habitat Volunteer for 6 years
Three words she uses to describe her experience with us: Fun, Inspiring, and Meaningful

Let us introduce you to Connie, a committed volunteer for Greater Indy Habitat, who primarily has volunteered with her company, Allegion. Connie had always wanted to volunteer with Habitat but hadn’t had the opportunity prior to her employment in market research with Allegion. As a corporate partner for 15 years, Allegion places a strong emphasis on serving others as one of its core values, making volunteering with Habitat a natural extension of their company. Employees like Connie enjoy contributing to a meaningful cause and connecting with coworkers. 

Like many volunteers, Connie has discovered that volunteering with Habitat is an educational experience, and she always learns something new when on site! Recently, she had the chance to learn and hone a new skill – painting. While painting may seem straightforward, the Construction Team’s expert guidance provided valuable tips and tricks, making the task more manageable.  

One hallmark of Habitat volunteering is adaptability. Connie recalls a memorable experience where their expectations on the build site had to adjust. What was supposed to be a final cleaning day turned into a busy landscaping and sod-laying day. Despite the unexpected workload, Connie and her Allegion team rallied, and everyone embraced the challenge. The typical post-volunteer team socializing plans were replaced with a well-deserved shower! 

Connie proudly wears her collection of Habitat t-shirts around town, saying she’s “extremely proud to be a Habitat volunteer.” Her commitment to making a difference in her community is inspiring and we are grateful for her important role in Habitat’s mission. Interested in getting your company involved and sharing this same kind of experience with your coworkers? Check out how by reading more here 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Brian Schoen

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Three words he uses to describe her experience with us: Enriching, Community, Justice

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.

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