Rosemary Hodge began volunteering with Habitat Pinellas two years ago to give back to the community. “This community has help be enjoy the success I have experiences all through my career”.

Rosemary is a native Floridian, a proud mother of two boys and grandmother of three boys. She is a hairstylist and business owner of 37 years at Hair Factor in Dunedin. She is also a Long Leaf Native Pine farmer working with the state forestry division and a future vegetable Gardner.

She loves the latter stages of building, and especially “being able to volunteer my hours for deserving future homeowners. I enjoy rejoicing with them when they accomplish their requirements and watching them step into the hope of a better day.”

Some of her favorite memories as a Habitat Pinellas volunteer include assisting with staging the Habitat homes with The Warrick Dunn foundation, volunteering at the Valspar Tournament, and interacting with clients in the ReStore.

Thank you Rosemary for donating your time with Habitat Pinellas!

This month’s, our Volunteer Spotlight highlights Lurane Worth. Lurane is an RN who began volunteering with Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County in April of 2018. 

Lurane was affected by Hurricane Irma, both in Pinellas County and in the US Virgin Islands. She explains that she began volunteering with Habitat because "not having 'a roof over my head' gave me great compassion for the effects of homelessness, or the gravity of circumstances beyond someone’s control". 

Lurane loves the "hands on" aspect of volunteering with Habitat. "I love working beside other volunteers, candidates and homeowners. I'm impressed with the professional supervisors and staff. Habitat Pinellas combines 'community' with 'Humanity' right in our front yard!".

Lurane's favorite volunteer memory was at her first dedication. She was especially touched by the blessing of the home, with everyone in attendance laying their hands on the house. 

 

To learn more about our volunteer opportunities for individuals, groups and corporate teams, please click here.

 

 

This month’s Volunteer Spotlight is highlighting Alejundro Sanchez. Alejundro, a Verizon employee of 19 years, originally began volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in his home state of Washington.

“My first experience with Habitat for Humanity was in Washington State in a small town called Burlington. At 22, I was working for Horizon Bank. They asked if anyone would like to volunteer and I excitedly offered my time. I showed up at the site and was ambitious to help. I met a few of the new home owners that were more than excited to greet me and thank me for my time. I spent all day there and looked forward to learning more about building a home and all that goes into it. The pride I felt that day still resonates in my soul.”

In 2016, Alejundro and his partner moved to Florida and are currently in the process of building a home together. Alejundro continues to donate his time through the Pinellas affiliate.

“I initially volunteered to learn more about what it takes to build a home. I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to rely on the expertise of the onsite crew and foremen to teach me and help me avoid mistakes if I ever needed to work on my own house in the future. I hoped I would learn more about wiring, drywall, roofing and everything else. In a sense, it was kind of selfish, at first but my perspective changed once I realize who was depending on me to help and who was counting on me to put my hours in to finish the project on time. I soon found out how important volunteers are to the people who need this.”

Alejundro loves meeting new people through his experiences at the ReStore and on build sites.

“What I love about volunteering are the people you meet. I wouldn't have met any of the workers or volunteers if I didn't invest a little of myself to give back what I have been so graciously given. To name one man, specifically, is Dalton. He managed and volunteers at the Palm Harbor ReStore and each day I helped I saw how he ran the entire operation. He's what I would consider a solid pillar of the community. The hard work that he has put into the store, shows. It runs so smoothly; not only in the layout but also in the people who work and volunteer there. This has been my best experience volunteering.”

Habitat Pinellas is grateful for our amazing volunteers and their employers! Alejundro recently donated 50 hours of his time, and through his employer’s volunteer matching program, Verizon donated $750 to Habitat Pinellas.

Does your company offer a volunteer matching program? Contact Alison Riley at ariley@habitatpinellas.org to learn more. Interested in volunteering? Click here to find more information.

 

 

This month’s Volunteer Spotlight is on Diane Everhart. Diane is a New Jersey native but has spent the past 31 years in St. Petersburg. After only one week in the area, she began working for Maas Bros./Macy’s Department Store Furniture Gallery then retired 30 years later. She raised her two nephews from the time they were one and seven years old and provided them a home, which Diane refers to as a “fixer upper.” Over the years, the three of them spent countless hours renovating this house and made it a home; they were all very proud of their accomplishments.

In the early 2000s, Diane first experienced volunteering with Habitat through her employer. At that time she spent her volunteer hours repairing homes of the local elderly community. When asked what she most loves about volunteering, Diane stated, “Fellowship. [I appreciate] the knowledge and experience that I receive doing what I love to do [and] giving back.” She said her best memory of volunteering with Habitat was the experience of being present at the start of a build then witnessing the culmination of all of the hard work at the same home’s dedication with the new homeowners.

“My dad built our family home with his own hands and a very small crew. 50 years later, I seem to feel what he must have felt. From beginning to end, from the foundation to the presentation of the keys and a new beginning; it must be in [my] blood!”

To learn more about our volunteer opportunities for individuals, groups and corporate teams, please click here.

Volunteers are the heartbeat of Habitat for Humanity. Whether you are a builder or have never used a hammer, YOU can make a difference in your community. We're seeking volunteers who are available to help build on our construction site or can help lend a hand at our Habitat Pinellas or Habitat Palm Harbor ReStore.

To see all the positions currently available, please click here.

If you are interested in volunteering for a special event, please click here.

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Been thinking of volunteering, but worried you don't have the skills or know-how to build a house? You might be interested to know that the majority of folks who come out to help us have no experience what-so-ever building anything!

Some have never even used a hammer!

Our construction staff is skilled at training novice builders and you'll be amazed at how quickly they will have a team of volunteers being productive and effective! So don't be shy. You CAN do it!

No experience is necessary to come out and help us out! We provide the tools and the hard hat — all you need to bring is yourself, some gloves, closed toed shoes, and some sunscreen!

Register online today!

Thanks for supporting our mission of making sure everyone has a decent place to live!

See more pics on our Habitat Pinellas Global Village Trips Facebook page!

Between May 2nd and May 10th, a hardworking and adventurous group of Habitat for Humanity supporters are building homes for two families in a mountainous region of Guatemala. The build trip is part of Habitat International's Global Village program.

The team of 13 local men and women is working on two modest block homes and the work can be absolutely backbreaking because the tools and equipment we are accostumed to here in the U.S. are not available in Guatemala.

Led by Habitat Pinellas volunteer coordinator Linzy Wilson and COO Ron Spoor, the team includes Caldwell Buntin, Dan Stowers, George Glaros, Michael Alford, Randall Decker, Renee Athey, Robbie Burgess, Robert Reeves, Warren Wilford, and Wayne Wilford!

A world of thanks to our 2015 Global Village team who volunteers who not only are giving incredible amounts of their time and effort, but they also contributed the travel/accomodations cost of this endeavor.

Photo: Some of the Habitat Pinellas volunteers with their Guatemalan friends at the site of one the builds.

We are excited to introduce our new women's giving circle, "Hammers & Heels!"  Hammers & Heels is an exceptional group of women with a desire to impact the mission of Habitat for Humanity through philanthropy.

Hammers & Heels members are dedicated to supporting the work that Habitat Pinellas does throughout our county through strategic, intentional giving that invests in select projects that maximize the impact of our Habitat programs.

We are also thrilled to have Judy Mitchell, former president/owner of Peter R. Brown Construction, as our honorary chair to "kick-start" Hammers & Heels.

In a recent announcement about the launch of Hammers & Heels Judy said:
"For several years, my husband, Jeff, served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County. During those years, I was fortunate to have a ringside seat to observe how Habitat truly succeeds in its affordable home building program, providing "a hand up, not a hand out" and making a life-changing difference for low-income families right here in our Pinellas community.

And now, I have an opportunity to help Habitat Pinellas put hardworking families on the road to a brighter future.  As this year's Honorary Chair for the launch of Hammers & Heels, I'll be leading a group of amazing women who desire to make an impact through collective giving.  I invite you to join me as an inaugural member of Hammers & Heels and look forward to welcoming you at our member event in the fall."

Member benefits include a signature member gift, member-only social and educational programs, "insider" tours of homes and build sites, participation in annual women's events and more.

Click here to learn more about Hammers & Heels!

Kalotta Williams is a care taker.  A single mother of five, she had her hands full already when her sister unexpectedly passed away in 2009 leaving behind three children.  To Kalotta, there was never a question. She would surely take her nieces in and give them a home.  Living with eight children in a small four-bedroom home is enough of a challenge.  But the family also had to contend with a substandard HVAC system that increased the electric bill significantly and an unsafe neighbourhood.  They'd even experienced a break-in just before Christmas.

But Kalotta didn't let that weigh her down. She worked hard to provide for her family and keep the children healthy and happy.  Finding out they qualified for the Habitat Pinellas program turned their world around.

"We will finally have a home to call our own. It will be a stable and safe place for the kids," Kalotta said. Getting there didn't come easy though. "Becoming a homeowner is a process and if you are committed to the process there is a great outcome in the end."

The Williams family is grateful for all the help they've received from volunteers and plan to pay it forward. "I am able and willing to help someone else make their ultimate dream come true," said Kalotta.

HAPPY ENDING NOTE:  The Williams family home was dedicated in February in St. Petersburg! Many thanks to home sponsor Wells Fargo for helping to make the Williams family dreams come true!

 

Barbara Bennett is a supportive, nurturing single parent who has raised three sons. She chose to move her family into her parent's home so that she could better serve as a caretaker during a protracted illness. And while this offered stability, it meant that she and her son had to sleep in the same room. But it was still better than continually moving to find better accommodations.
 
When Barbara's father passed, she and her son moved into a very small two bedroom duplex. She was grateful when the landlord offered to move them into a larger place, but that was short-lived as a fire made the place uninhabitable.
 
"When I got the call (from Habitat Pinellas), I went into the bathroom at work and thanked God for his blessing to me and my son. This is a blessing."
 
Barbara has become an enthusiastic advocate for Habitat for Humanity, passing her story on to others and encouraging struggling people to apply for home ownership. "I'm following one of God's plans," she says. "For once in my life I'm helping a dream come true for me and my son."
 
Barbara has been surprised and gratified to meet and work alongside caring, loving people to build homes for others as well as for herself. "Things really move," she says. "It's surprising how fast a house can be built!"
 
Having moved many times in the past and three times in the last year alone, Barbara will now have stability living in a home of her own. She is looking forward to being able to save for the future. But her real joy is that she will accomplish what she once believed was impossible... home ownership. And she will have a legacy. In her words, "I can leave something of value to my family." 
      
Welcome Home, Barbara!
 
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Help them build their home in: Clearwater

We are still raising money to fund the building of this home. If this family inspires you: Donate TODAY!