Helping others, building communities
Updated: Oct 3, 2018
Volunteering in the West Pullman neighborhood for Habitat for Humanity this March, I was reminded of just some of the benefits to volunteering for your local community or city. Whether it is learning a simple trick of the trade, getting referred to a job, or just simply meeting new people, the rewards of volunteer work are plentiful.
As three houses are nearing completion and are almost ready to turn over to the owners, the volunteers had tasks such as painting, patching, building a fence, and of course cleaning. Not only was I able to dust off my work gear and get to do some real physical work, but I was able to teach others in the process. When I was first cutting my teeth on the construction scene back in 2004, I learned a few tricks from the site supervisor. I still use these tricks today when I build. He also gave me a great referral to an employer whom I would later work at for 2 years. So, the act of volunteering has a tendency to reward all players.
Now I see this coming full circle. Instead of being on the receiving end of teaching, I am instructing others how to do things. Just in one day, I was able to take some of those same skills I learned in 2004 and teach others, things like: how to hold a paint brush the right way, patch a hole in the wall, and the proper way to clean a paint brush. It's the little tricks that make the job go smoother, and I hope that the people who I have taught can continue to pass the torch and instruct the next wave of volunteers the same things.
So, on top of simply helping build a community, a network of learning and sharing knowledge is created.