By Fred Arnold
The Student Support Center at SPC Seminole worked with Habitat for Humanity, April 10, 2015, and their effort and time really paid off!
A blue sky opened the day. Wisps of paper thin clouds crisscrossed like little fingers upon ocean waves. Shontaye Isaac’s house on 1924 Saginaw Court in Oldsmar looked disheveled: its blue paint faded from constant sunlight, its deck and flooring pulled up and disorganized. Waiting to fix the mess that was 1924 Saginaw, the Student Support Center staff and students waited for their Site Supervisor.
“This is an opportunity to bond with my students,” Evelyn Madera, a Student Support Center Advisor, said. She woke up ready to get down and dirty, and the day did not disappoint.
When the Site Supervisor arrived, he led the group of thirteen into the house. At first glance, the house looked a mess: gray concrete made up half the floor while a dingy tile made up the rest; windows sat open, some without glass, some just a hole in house; no counters existed to make a kitchen; and it all was brought together with a 1970’s wall paper, hideous and yellow. The Site Supervisor listed the goals for the day. Everything had to go. The wallpaper, the tile, the popcorn ceiling. Everyone smiled, thinking the same thing, “Time to demolish.”
“It’s not just a day at work, it is an adventure,” Jeff Lyons, a volunteer, said as he took a sledge hammer to the beat up tiles of an old bathroom.
Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization, works with many businesses (Duke Energy, World Pool, Raymond James, etc.) to bring affordable housing to needy families. They are a four-star non-profit that ranks in the top 1% of non-profits in America.
“We aim for decent, affordable housing,” Ron, site supervisor and contractor, said, “It is a hand up, not necessarily a hand out,” he continued.
Habitat for Humanity offers a newly built house at 0% financing which equates to a relatively low mortgage payment. Ron estimated an average of $700.00 for a two bedroom house. Not a bad deal!Qualifying for a house requires a time investment, however, of 250 volunteer hours. A small closing and insurance cost must be paid as well at the closing of the program.
One thing that Habitat for Humanity does well is bring people together. No shortage of volunteers exist.
“Today we have thirteen, tomorrow we have about twenty,” Ron said, “It’s amazing how people come together to help others.”
Team work makes Habitat for Humanity a success, and April 10, 2015 showed that success to the folks at the Student Support Center. At the end of the day the house transformed. The entire floor evolved into a single gray mass, no tile to be seen; two bathrooms were gutted and toilets removed; and no more popcorn ceiling or ugly wallpaper. Only working for about four hours, the amount done showed how human’s working as a team can do great things.
“Seeing the before and after, working together, and knowing that I was part of someone’s happiness was the best part of the experience,” Evelyn Madera said, as everyone looked upon a day of solid, hard work.
All photos are property of Fred Arnold. Expressed permission must be granted for the use of these pictures. All rights reserved.
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