Dear Habitat for Humanity,
Hello. My name is Shelley Smith. Since September 2012, my husband, John and I have volunteered for Habitat. The purpose of this letter is to share my thoughts and feelings on June 14th’s Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North Piercy Build Dedication Ceremony and to offer my thanks to Habitat for creating the opportunity for us to participate in this worthwhile cause.
Prior to the official ceremony, the final set of keys were passed over to Nadine and her daughter, Kasey.
Peter Sanderson, Build Coordinator, passes over the keys to Nadine and Kasey, so they’ll always feel safe and secure.
Next were the introductions of board members, acknowledgements of donors and volunteers. To be honest, these types of ceremonies are usually touch and go for me, but today was different. Can you believe that one point two million dollars was donated in gifts and kind, that ninety-two local businesses partnered with Habitat, that there were over six hundred volunteers, that there was a special Womens’ Build group,
that some of those volunteers donated over two hundred hours?
Lisa, proud home owner, thanked everyone on behalf of the six families. She observed that completing the required five hundred hours of sweat equity while working full time and raising children was challenging but the end result of owning their own home was worth every hour. She described how incredible it was that two years ago, strangers volunteered to build their homes and how now, these volunteers are their friends. Which brings me to thanking Habitat. I’ve read that people volunteer because it’s good to give back to the community and they make a difference. Volunteering promotes growth and self-esteem. All worthwhile reasons, but quite honestly, John and I volunteered because we wanted to make friends. Let me explain.
Three years ago, John and I moved to the Comox Valley. Although we were lucky enough to have family here, we set out to make friends. Rugby didn’t work out because I literally feared for my life. Zumba was a bust, because, nothing could entice John for a repeat experience.
Once we discovered that our dentist and his wife, whose names shall remain forever anonymous, kayaked nude, we resigned ourselves to being friendless. Until John spotted an article about Habitat.
“My first friend of the Comox Valley”
Peter welcomed us warmly, albeit with just a touch of anxiety, as we had zero house building experience. After a quick round of introductions, he put us to work.
We learned so much. We know what a header, a crown, a joist, a cripple and a stud is. We know how to use a hammer, an electric drill and a power saw. We kind of know how to attach siding, build fences and John’s favourite, dry wall. And thanks to Peter, I know that builders don’t use the metric system. However, by far, the most important thing we’ve learned is that Habitat creates opportunities to make friends.
Friends who showed up at 8:30 with perpetual smiles on their faces. (I’m assuming they arrived at 8:30 because I liked to keep, as Peter would say, executive hours, so I would wander in around 9:30… ish.)
John and Darryl
Friends who exhibited endless patience as they explained to us how to measure and cut again and again and again. The very same friends who forgave us for making mistakes while measuring and cutting again and again and again.
Ken and me
John, Julia and Doug
Thank you Habitat.
And with that said, John and I would like to take this opportunity to invite all of our new Habitat friends over for chilli on June 19th, Thursday night, around 6:30. The entertainment will be watching the World Cup Soccer Game:
England versus Uruguay
John will be PVR’ring the game, so, dear friends, please do not, under any circumstances, tell him the score. As a matter of fact, this invitation will be cancelled if you even give hints. Unlike you lot, we are not the forgiving, patient or full of sense of humour kind of friends when it comes to England football. I kid. Sort of.
Please RSVP by Tuesday.
You friends, Shelley and John
PS: To celebrate the last few months of the build, I put together this
“Habitat for Humanity, North Island, BC, Canada, gets Happy with Pharrell Williams ” video.
PPSSS: Also, if you missed the first Habitat video, check out,
Hammer Time with Habitat for Humanity, North Vancouver Island, Comox Valley