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Community Champions: Habitat for Humanity

Yesterday, 14 LaSallians didn't spend the day at their desks... they were building houses instead. LaSallians get two days of paid vacation to volunteer every year, and yesterday those days were put to use at Habitat for Humanity in a south side Chicago neighborhood, Pullman.

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit housing organization that seeks to eliminate poverty and homelessness by building houses around the world. The organization chooses homeowners based on their level of need, and these families become partners in both the program and in building their own home. To date, Habitat for Humanity Chicago has built or renovated houses for more than 150 families.

From painting walls to installing flooring, LaSallians worked hard to add 3 more houses to that list. Here's a brief glimpse into our day:

7:45 a.m. LaSallians arrive on the build site in West Pullman, ready to don hard hats and get dirty!



8:30 a.m. The Habitat volunteer coordinators teach us about the build site, the organization, and give us an overview of what we'll be doing for the day. LaSalle isn't the only company on the build site, and we have the chance to get to know independent volunteers as well as employees from Zurich Insurance. The larger group splits into 4-5 groups to set flooring, paint, and install outside paneling.


10:00 a.m. Several LaSallians move and install flooring between two of the houses, which involved moving floorboards and then installing them in the appropriate rooms:



"I got to put in floors!" said Constance, a Call Center Project Manager at LaSalle. "When am I ever going to have the chance to do that again?"


11:25 a.m. A few LaSallians are tasked with painting the outside of a house. For some people painting might seem a little monotonous, but climbing ladders and clambering up scaffolding made the job much more exciting. By the end of the day, we had painted the full house, from the basement to the roof!

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Some LaSallians clean and paint inside as well:

"I really liked painting," remembers Kasey Shafer. "I was really diligent. I thought, 'If this was my house, how would I want it?"



1:00 p.m. We did much heavier lifting onsite, too. LaSallians move the scaffolding, set it up again, and use nail guns to install paneling. While the work is hard, we're having fun:

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2:30 p.m. The end of the build day approaches, and we clean up the area before leaving. We've made new friends, made progress on the houses, and learned a few new skills.

"It was so fun to see what you did at the end of the day, and to know you're helping someone else out, alongside people you never knew before," said Daveed Erickson afterward.


"It was cool to watch everybody come together, with people we don't know, for people we don't know," agreed Shafer.


We can't wait for our next build day... we'll be ready!