Time To Spare. A Construction Volunteer Spotlight, Jonah Farris

By Kiarra Driscoll

A humanitarian at his core, Jonah Farris, is perfect to kick off National Volunteer Appreciation Week. Farris has been volunteering with Asheville Habitat’s construction team for around a year now. He started volunteering simply because he had a day he could. 

“I had Friday’s off and have a strong belief that everyone deserves to have a stable home they can own. You pay rent all the time and there is never any room to save; especially when living paycheck to paycheck,” said Farris.   

Farris was familiar with Habitat before, as his dad used to work at a Habitat affiliate in Raleigh. This previous knowledge was all but a steppingstone on his path of becoming one of our Core volunteers.  

After showing a level of commitment and interest, Habitat’s Construction Services Volunteer Manager reached out to Jonah to see if he wanted to be a core member.  

“This means that I come out one day a week to whichever jobsite I’m told, lately it’s been Glenn Bridge,” said Farris.  

Jonah took almost no hesitation in accepting this commitment. Being a core volunteer didnt feel like a commitment, but rather hanging out with his friends and learning new things. When asked what his favorite part of volunteering was, he answered plainly, the volunteers.  

I’ve made a lot of friends here and have been given the opportunity to meet people I would have never met. Especially people out of my age group, a lot of volunteers are retired. That’s been cool,” said Farris.   

Jonah had very minimal experience with construction before volunteering and by becoming friends with other volunteers he has gained valuable construction experience. Some of these skills applied to his own home.  

“I’ve learned a lot of skills for my own house. “I’ve never worked in construction before,“ said Farris. 

For those who have no experience at all but are interested in helping out, working with our construction team teaches you the skills you need to know. Farris now has the confidence and ability to work on roofs and frame walls. “There is absolutely something you can do here with your current skill set and you will learn a ton of new stuff in the process. It will only help you build skills; it will only help you gain confidence in what you doI’ve seen people come out at all skill levels, people that have never picked up a hammer and now they’re building frames. There is always something you can do,said Farris.

With these skills Jonah learned, he has applied his knowledge to others, especially our Student Build groups.  Student Build is an annual build where students from seven local schools come together to raise $55,000 in sponsorship funds and volunteer to build a house. “I like working with them. I enjoy teaching them. I don’t have much, but what I do brings joy to me. I think it is really cool, because I never had something like this in college or High School,” said Farris.