The Miracle of Habitat for Humanity
There may be no more recognizable organization name that comes to mind when we think of community service than Habitat for Humanity. This is an organization that does not view world poverty or reaching out to the disadvantaged as just subjects of speeches. Habitat for Humanity literally puts their backs into the mission of helping the disadvantaged, one home at a time. There is no doubt that the high profile “celebrities” that have worked in Habitat for Humanity have done a lot to raise the awareness of the community services this fine organization does in communities around the nation and around the world. President Jimmy Carter’s tireless work with Habitat for Humanity has left us with even more powerful images of his leadership than perhaps he left us when he completed his term as President. But those images are never of an ex-president enjoying the accolades of admirers at an expensive Washington or Hollywood dinner to raise money for a cause.
No, the images of President Carter working with Habitat for Humanity are the images that anyone who gets involved with this cause will remember. They will recall images of dozens and dozens of helpful citizens, of all ages, races, creeds and backgrounds, working together with their sleeves rolled up to build a house for a neighbor, even if that neighbor is from halfway around the world. Considering that the mission of Habitat for Humanity is driven by the calling to build homes for people in need, one house at a time, the figures of their success are truly staggering. As of their 2005 figures, Habitat for Humanity had built over 200,000 homes worldwide and those homes have given safe, clean, affordable shelter to over one million needy people. No wonder, as each new owner of a Habitat for Humanity home looks at their beautiful new home, they universally call the work of Habitat for Humanity “a miracle.
” The organizational system that Habitat for Humanity uses is a model for helping the less fortunate but avoiding the pitfalls that often occur when a government agency gives a handout. The future owners of a Habitat home enter into an agreement to work shoulder to shoulder with the volunteers who are building their home investing “sweat equity” into that home. This investment builds pride and a sense of ownership. But along with those benefits, it takes those same new homeowners and adds them to the army of workers who will turn around and go out and help build another home for someone just like themselves who could use a helping hand to afford a home where their family can live. It is small wonder that Habitat for Humanity was awarded the Presidential Metal of Freedom in 1996, the highest civilian honor the government can give. When awarding this metal, President Clinton said that Habitat for Humanity was “…the most successful continuous community service project in the history of the United States. A truly phenomenal and “miraculous” movement such as Habitat for Humanity does not go unnoticed as we witnessed when President Carter, a tireless worker for Habitat for Humanity, was given the Nobel Peace Prize for his continuous work on behalf of the disadvantaged in our society and around the world. Thousands of citizens have flocked to work with others in Habitat for Humanity to build homes for their neighbors. The movement is ecumenical Christian, independent of government funding, non-profit and totally driven by an army of volunteers.
And yet is has truly been an example of how communities can come together to help others for the sheer joy of community service. PPPPP 608 .
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