Building dreams ... one wall at a time

Habitat for humanityIn 2011, American Family launched the “Dreams Protected” advertising campaign. My work team decided to take it one step further and help others build dreams.

The East Property Survey Team recently spent an afternoon working with Habitat for Humanity of Dane County.  Although the organization was chosen because of the nature of our work, it quickly became clear we would be getting a lesson in much more than construction. It was a lesson on building dreams.

We were able to meet the recipient of one of the homes under construction.  The gentleman was an inspiration to us all.

In 2006, he fled Kosovo in search of a better life for himself and his daughter. His profile on the Habitat website indicated he had “dreamed of owning his own home for many years.” He is determined and has been working very hard to make it happen.

He is currently working two full-time jobs and is a single parent to his 9-year-old daughter. Although he already has a full plate, he must also spend 325 hours working for Habitat for Humanity. This is what is called “sweat equity” and ensures recipients are invested in the home that eventually becomes theirs.

His busy schedule doesn’t seem to bother him at all. He is simply happy that he and his young daughter will have a place to call home; something others often take for granted.

The afternoon was spent working with this wonderful gentleman under the direction of a Habitat for Humanity supervisor. Some of us were able to contribute a bit more skillfully than others, but we all had enthusiasm and willingness to lend a hand.

Our job that day was to help install the second story walls. The pre-assembled walls had to be lifted from the ground to the second level, carefully placed, and nailed together. A few others were busy helping to frame the first floor of another home in the area.  It was great to see how quickly the home’s frame came together! The recipient’s determination and excitement was even better!  We could literally watch his dream coming true before our eyes. 

While our arms were sore by the end of the afternoon, it was a good pain.  We were grateful to have the opportunity to contribute our skills to make a family’s dream of home ownership come true.  

Several of us plan to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity again. If you are interested in helping others achieve the dream of home ownership, you can contribute financially, shop at their wonderful Habitat Restores, or volunteer your time individually or with a group. Check out Habitat for Humanity of Dane County for more information.

by Michelle Bahr on Fri, Dec 13 2013 11:25 am
Posted by Michelle Bahr on Fri, Dec 13 2013 11:25 amMichelle Bahr is an operations associate underwriter for American Family Insurance.


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