On October 21, 2014, I said goodbye to my mom. After a courageous on-and-off eleven year battle with breast cancer, she breathed her last. One year later, I started a journey. A journey with Habitat for Humanity, where I was blessed by an outpouring of support as I raised $85,000 from October to December of 2015 to build a home in her memory. From January to June of 2016, I spent sixteen Saturdays at the build site. Hammering in nails. Screwing in screws. Working out my grief.
Just a few months later in August, I was invited to the 33rd annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project in Memphis, Tennessee. My father and I built side-by-side with the President and First Lady, as well as other volunteers for the week. I watched the former President and his wife in the ultimate act of service. It inspired me. And, from a Global Village Build in Thailand for my senior high school project to Carter Work Projects in Edmonton, Alberta and South Bend, Indiana, my life has been changed. What started as a way to honor my mom’s legacy has become something more. It is now my mission. It is me.
I have the privilege of serving as the President of the campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity at the University of Virginia, as well as the Youth Representative to the US Council of HFHI, serving a 2-year term. And, this summer, I will have the joy and honor of being an unpaid intern in the Government Relations and Advocacy office of HFHI in Washington, DC.
Needless to say, my commitment to Habitat for Humanity is one born of service. I consider it to be an incredible privilege to have this wonderful opportunity, but in order to make it work, I need to at least cover my expenses. I have worked out a minimal budget covering living expenses, food, and transportation. I am privileged to do the work with a servant’s heart, but the $7,500 goal will cover the basic expenses.