My name is Haley Peterson and I wanted to share my journey so far with Habitat for Humanity! This is my second summer volunteering with Habitat. One of the main reason I was able to have the opportunity to volunteering here is because of a scholarship I receive from college. I go to Mars Hill College, which will soon be Mars Hill University, and I am a Bonner Scholar there as well as a member of the Mars Hill Women’s Soccer team and a double major in biology and psychology. Mars Hill is located in the mountains near Asheville, NC. Through my Bonner Scholar I need to complete 140 hours of service hours each semester. I also have to complete two summers of service work with 280 hours for each of the two summers. The Bonner Scholar is to help support a student who has a financial need for schooling and to help the student be actively involved with the community around them. Throughout the program the students and supervisors participate in community service opportunities and social justice issues.
My first summer with having to do Bonner Scholar service work, I did not know what I was going to do. My first placement that I was planning on working at had fell through and I was almost left without a placement until I had learned about Habitat for Humanity. As soon as I had learned that there was one in my hometown, I found all the information I needed and called Melanie that day. Melanie was very helpful, nice and very willing to work with me. Even though it was very last minute, I was able to work with my supervisor and Melanie to get all the paperwork I needed filled out before I left to come home for the summer.
My very first experience with Habitat was with my freshman Bonner group. We had an end of the year Freshman Bonner Retreat to Birmingham, Alabama. We spent a week there helping with a Habitat for Humanity of Greater Birmingham Blitz Build where they built ten houses in one week. This was the very first time I have helped with Habitat and I was able to learn one the things I would be doing during the summer. And I absolutely loved it and I was so excited for my new journey with Cape Fear Habitat for the summer of 2012.
The first week I helped with Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity a collegiate group of students from Saint Joseph’s University. It was a very long and hot week of working at the construction site everyday, but it was a lot of fun! This was the best way for me to start my journey with Habitat. I was able to meet new people who were all super nice and willing to help out. The first week I helped out was also the of the first weeks for the new site leaders. While working with the collegiate group, they all made me feel apart of their group, even though I wasn’t. Later that week, a group of AmeriCorps came for a good portion of the summer. Just like the collegiate group, the AmeriCorps made me feel apart of their group as well.
I had learned so much useful information the first few weeks on site thanks to the site leaders along with all the other volunteers who have been coming out for years. Each one of them have came up to talk to me about my schooling and future plans before we started working for the day, on breaks, or when we were done, but once it was time to work, they all jumped right in and showed me the way to do each task the right way. All of the volunteers have all been so extremely helpful and welcoming to me. I am so very grateful to have had this opportunity to meet all of the regular volunteers!
Throughout my first summer I had worked between the construction sites, the ReStore, and the office. At the Restore I helped clean the donations that had been dropped off at the store and then put them out on display. I also would straighten up the aisles and talk to customers to answer any questions they might have had while in the store. In the office, I would help with different projects people had, such as making flyers for important dates coming up or calling future homeowners and many other tasks. Everyone in the office and the ReStore have all been so very nice, helpful, welcoming and willing to teach me new aspects of what Habitat does. At the construction site, I would help build various parts of the house, whether siding, sodding, building walls, putting in windows, etc. I was able to help some with the Blitz build here at Prices Lane in 2012 where they built 5 houses in a week. This was another great experience I was able to help with.
I think one of the best part of volunteering with Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity is meeting the future/present homeowners and their families. Hearing their stories and what they have been through makes it even more worthwhile of helping out. All of their dedication they show while working on houses, even if it is not their own house, makes me glad to have joined the volunteer group here instead of somewhere else. It also makes me want to be more involved with programs similar to Habitat to help those who need it. Everyone who is a part of this program are all great people and I am so glad I have gotten the chance to work and continue working with them all.
This summer (summer of 2013) I am back again to help out at the construction site, the ReStore, and the office. I am very excited to be back again to help out at all three places! And I am excited to see what the summer holds for me to continue my journey with Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity.