Strength. Stability. Self-Reliance. Shelter.
What do those words mean to you? For Habitat Greater Orlando, those words are the core beliefs we model our work after. Everyone deserves a decent and affordable place to call home. Habitat homeowners work hard, pay their own mortgage, and invest in their communities for generations to come.
Every day, Habitat affiliates across the country rely on the important work of national service members thanks to programs like AmeriCorps. An AmeriCorps member is a full time volunteer who dedicates nearly a year of service to a Habitat affiliates in construction, Neighborhood Revitalization, ReStores and many other areas of our work. AmeriCorps members are a vital part of our organization and help us to achieve our mission.
Meet the Habitat Greater Orlando AmeriCorps Alumni and Service Member
AmeriCorps member Jennifer Healy joined our construction team in February 2017. Jennifer is a Navy veteran who moved to Orlando in 2016 and joined Habitat Greater Orlando shortly after. During her service, she has built new homes, led volunteer groups, supervised repair sites, and even written a home maintenance manual for our homeowners to keep ensuring that all homeowners and repair households leave our programs equipped with lifelong knowledge.
Staff members Jessi Tobin, Outreach Coordinator and Leigh Newton, Senior Director of Construction and Real Estate know the value of AmeriCorps. In fact, before they became staff members they served in the AmeriCorps program!
“To me, national service means being the change I want to see in my community” said Jessi Tobin. “(Service) will change your life. You’ll be inspired, challenged, and will learn so many skills that will help you make a difference”.
Leigh’s experience with AmeriCorps didn’t stop after her first year. Being a part of something meaningful led her to a second year of service, and ultimately, a career in construction management. “Serving through AmeriCorps wasn’t always easy, but it gave me the opportunity to learn construction skills that spurred my career. The biggest challenge was living off of the stipend that service members received, but I managed to get through and still have fun. Ultimately it helped me better appreciate the financial challenges of the people we helped”.
AmeriCorps is just one of many programs made possible through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federally funded organization that brings critically needed volunteers to nonprofit organizations around the country. In Florida alone, more than 12,000 service members serve 2,331 sites. Since CNCS was founded in the 1990’s, over 31,000 Floridians have served. Cuts to CNCS in the federal budget will have detrimental impacts across Florida and the nation.
AmeriCorps members serve their communities, reduce the cost burden of staff for Habitat affiliates, and increase the capacity for good in our community.
How much time can you dedicate to affordable housing advocacy?