When I was with Volunteer Maryland, part of my service hours could be spent doing direct service volunteering in the community. I got a lot of information from people about the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition build in Baltimore because a lot of people knew how much I liked volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. I tried signing up, but never got any information back about when to show up. I had written the whole thing off, but someone that I served with convinced me to just show up because they really needed people to help with the build.
I’m glad she convinced me to go, because it was a great experience. Something even better, though, was getting to sit down and watch the show with my parents and tell them about the work that I got to do on the site. It was the first time that they got to see concrete results from something that I did during my service years. I got to talk to them about the volunteers I got to meet and work with, and all of the different reasons people came together to build the home. We talked about what the home meant for the girls that were living there, and what it meant for the people who worked on the site. I think they finally started to understand what I did with the last two years of my life, and why I chose to do it.
I’ve got to admit, I got a little misty during the show. It was the first time I’ve ever seen the reaction of the people who are going to use a home I helped to build. When I volunteered to help build a playground, I went to the grand opening but just hung out with the people I’d worked with. When the Habitat homes I’d worked on were being dedicated, I never went. It was great seeing everyone’s reaction and knowing that I helped to make them that happy, even if my part was only a small part of the overall project.