Connection really is what Habitat is all about.

There are so many layers, but the most obvious is that — through this collaboration — a family will have a chance to thrive and sustain itself. It is an opportunity for homeowners’ needs, hopes and dreams to be acknowledged, to have a place in the collective will of a community. How extraordinary.

But there’s so much more.

As a homeowner going to the build day after day, I worked side by side with a diverse group of neighbors, each with their own experiences and points of view. In spite of our differences, or maybe because of them, bridges were built. A space is created that wasn’t there before. What binds us are not the superficial labels that we often use to define ourselves, but something deeper and universal: our humanity.

I knew this is where I wanted to be, right here on the edge of possibilities. So I made a decision to take advantage of any opportunity offered. First I spoke at events, offering the “homeowner’s point of view.” Then I co-chaired chapter meetings. Currently, I chair the partnership committee. Every day I learn something, and that alone is a fabulous opportunity.

My bonds with Habitat volunteers have included casual friendships and deep personal connections. Some who have passed will remain with me always. And together they embody so many wonderful attributes: commitment, generosity, acceptance, all emanating from a place of mutual respect.

Those connections are a gift, one that heals, nurtures and grows. They have defined my experiences and become part of me. I hope that I can emulate them on my journey, follow their example, share what I’ve been given. They have taught me so much.

In our workshops, we explain to new homeowners that they are not just getting a home, but an opportunity for so much more. Something else is happening, something that has the capacity to trigger connections between individuals, creating the possibility for miraculous things to be imagined and realized.

— homeowner and volunteer Karolyn McClelland