Volunteers: the hearts & hands of Habitat
For forty years, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity (AAHH) has been bringing people together to build homes, communities, and hope. In no way is that more evident than through our volunteer program.
“Volunteerism is part of Habitat’s DNA, a central part of its ethos,” said Asheville Habitat’s Executive Director, Andy Barnett. “Community volunteers building alongside future homeowners was a founding principal of the Habitat for Humanity model and a large part of its continued success. Simply put, the Habitat model doesn’t work without volunteers.”
In celebration of National Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 17-22, we’re bringing volunteers from all areas of the operation together for a happy hour event. Throughout the week, volunteer managers will be delivering treats and gifts to all volunteer sites. “This celebratory week is an opportunity to reaffirm our gratitude for all the kind and caring people who share their time and talent with us. Our core volunteers are an extension of our staff and we want them to know how much we appreciate their ongoing efforts and commitment to our mission,” shared Carrie Burgin, ReStore Volunteer Manager.
Speaking of core volunteers, a handful reached noteworthy service milestones in 2022.
- ReStore core volunteer, Dick Manz, celebrates his 25th anniversary with the organization! Burgin notes, “Dick is a person of few words, and we would be wise to listen when he speaks. His dedication to Asheville Habitat is obvious when he volunteers. He never waivers from the cause he serves, be it our families, the ReStore, and most recently, heading up our vacuum repair department. Dick is a patient trainer, sharing his vast knowledge and experience to make everything the best it can be. His many years of service are a gift that AAHH can never repay, and we are so thankful for him!”
- Dick Allen celebrates his 20th anniversary as a volunteer with Asheville Habitat. Dick is a Construction Services core volunteer on the “Monday crew” who has contributed more than 8,500 hours of service to Habitat during his two-decade tenure! During a recent appreciation event, Stephanie Wallace, Construction Services Volunteer Manager, remarked, “Dick truly embodies the spirit of a servant heart. He’s humble, generous, and a genuinely good person to the core. He is a dedicated volunteer and an invaluable asset to Habitat for Humanity and the Asheville community.”
- ReStore core, Wayne Ruth, also reached the 20 year milestone. Through many years and many roles with Asheville Habitat, Wayne has supported the organization with his volunteerism, energy, ideas, and knowledge.
- The 15 year service milestone is celebrated by core construction volunteer Cetta Brown, and ReStore cores Bruce Ammerman, Resa Holt, Rhonda McKenna, and Yvonne Smith.
- 10 year milestones were achieved by: Bernhard Cordts, Walt Curl, Jesse Gingrich, Ken Kaplan, David Langdon, Georgena Millar, Cindy Stanton, Linda Urquhart, and Tom Weaver.
- Volunteers who reached the 5 year mark are: Melissa Banks, Jenny Bromley, Steven Casciato, Shirley Havera, Leslie Hennessee, Barbara Morgan, Eric Petersen, Larry Pierce, Bill Ryan, and Ann Schwarz.
Asheville Habitat’s volunteer program has grown over the years, alongside its programs. In addition to utilizing volunteers on new home construction, community volunteers work on home repair, deconstruction, in the ReStores, and in administrative capacities including office support and committee work. “Cores”- those who volunteer weekly and bi-monthly volunteers- are the foundation of Asheville Habitat’s volunteer program. Of the 54,362 hours of service provided in 2022, 38,744 hours (71%) were contributed by cores!
Rounding out the hours are contributions by individuals, high school and college students, and sponsoring groups including businesses, civic groups, and faith communities.
Some fun facts about our volunteer program:
- Asheville Habitat host volunteers of all ages, from students age 16 (minimum) to folks who are in their 80’s and enjoy staying active and engaged in their community, and everyone in between.
- Habitat for Humanity International’s Women Build program empowers women to build – and advocate for – affordable housing in their communities. Since 1994, Asheville Habitat’s Women Build program has raised more than $1.1 million and built 18 homes.
- Core volunteers and staff from the AVL and WVL ReStores together diverted 2,551 tons of usable material from landfills in 2022.
- Volunteer opportunities are available across the organization Monday through Saturday. Individuals and groups welcome! Visit ashevillehabitat.org/volunteer to learn more.