Jesse Willms: Working up a Sweat

Posted by Jesse Willms on December 02, 2010

I know I’ve been talking about the good work of Habitat For Humanity for a long time, but I just wanted to update this blog because we finally got out there to help them build homes for people in Edmonton. I went out there with five of my employees on Nov. 30, and we spent the entire day working hard at Anderson Gardens. It was very cold, but the hard work kept us warm, and it was nice to know we were working to build better lives for our neighbors.

As you probably well know, Habitat For Humanity is based on the idea that home ownership is one of the best ways to break the cycle of poverty. They believe that it’s far better for hardworking people to use their money to build up equity in a home than  to use their paycheck for rent every month.

So, they get volunteers together to build homes and then arrange mortgages for people with monthly payments that are the same or lower than the rent they used to be paying before.

The new homeowners themselves also work on building the house, building up what is considered “sweat equity” in the home. They are required to volunteer 500 hours on site.

Habitat For Humanity International was founded in 1976, and Habitat For Humanity Canada was founded in 1985, but it wasn’t until 1991 that Edmonton launched its own local Habitat For Humanity branch. Since then, Habitat For Humanity Edmonton has built more than 130 homes for people in our community.

On that cold Tuesday, we spent a good part of the day hauling drywall into the homes. We even got into a contest with one of the other teams to see who could carry the most drywall the fastest. Heck, it was a good way to keep warm.

Then, when we were done with that, we spent the rest of the day helping build two decks. While I don’t think any of us are going to quit our day jobs and become contractors anytime soon, I do think we did a heck of a job. It was fun to learn a new skill set and get put into an environment that we knew nothing about!

Beyond that, it was simply fun to be out there and working up a sweat. It’s nice to get out of the office every once in awhile. We felt like we were helping the community while also getting a good physical workout.

The people at Habitat For Humanity were very nice, hardworking people, and it was a joy to help them out. This was our first time volunteering for Habitat For Humanity, but it won’t be the last.

Of course, next time we might wait until spring.