Fridays offer City Year a unique opportunity for corps members, like myself, to serve their community beyond their daily in-school tutoring. On Fridays, in addition to out of school service, corps members are trained to develop as better mentors and tutors. On a recent Friday, sponsored by Comcast, our Signature Service and National Leadership Sponsor, corps members were given the chance to serve alongside another AmeriCorps program, Habitat for Humanity (HfH). Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that provides affordable housing to low-income families by off-setting many of the building costs via volunteer labor.
My four fellow roommates, who are also City Year corps members, and I woke up on the morning of our service project to a dark grey sky, 30 degree temperatures and sleeting rain. We were all stationed to work in Issaquah with half of the corps while the other half went to work in Renton. When we arrived to the site, HfH corps members gave us a safety demonstration and split us up into five work crews. Some CMs put siding up on the sides of the house, which meant a lot of measuring, cutting and the use of a nail gun. While others performed odd jobs around the house such as caulking, organizing the construction yard and planting plants.
The work that day was sometimes tough, but it offered a good change of pace to be able to work with my hands. Most CY corps members don’t have extensive construction experience, but rather than becoming frustrated with our lack of experience, the HfH corps members were continually enthusiastic and helpful. This definitely rubbed off on us. At one point in the morning we were working outside while it was snowing and windy, yet everyone was smiling and making jokes. The good moods and attitudes continued into the afternoon while everyone sang along to 80’s funk music during floor clean-up. All in all, the experience of being able to help build affordable housing was a great way to feel connected to the Seattle and AmeriCorps community.