On Saturday, September 18th, our Student Service Program members had the opportunity to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties. The students worked on a house in Clearwater, FL right off of the Pinellas Trail for The Nazario Family.
The Nazario’s have struggled with living in their overcrowded apartment and the increasing rent prices. Teresa and her 10-year-old son, Ismael, are working towards their forever home. Teresa is a Radiation Medical Assistant who enjoys spending time with her son, especially on their “Lazy Sundays” where they lay in bed and enjoy each other’s company.
Our students were able to help put some of the finishing touches on the outside of the home, which included sodding and landscaping. Here you can see the transformation:
Antra Sharma, a current student at King High School, shared her experience volunteering:
This experience was full of learning and service that caused a direct impact. Our group was stationed on a home that was being built for a low income family of two and our job was to aid with the landscaping around the yard of the house. This involved leveling the soil, digging holes for plants, spreading countless sheets of sod, breaking through any extra concrete, helping with a fence, washing down the sidewalk, and raking mulch around the plants. During my experience, I learned how the Habitat for Humanity program functions and it was a delight to hear that this home was being given to a family in need and that our help with the landscaping made such an impact. We were informed that the house was being given to the family by the end of this week which was a shock to many of us because our duty finished one of the last tasks that the organization needed to complete.
Specifically, my job was to collaborate with another member to determine how the plants should be lined up and start digging through the dirt to place the plants in. We collaborated in a way where one of us quickly dug the hole and the other person placed the plant in; this strategy allowed us to complete the task efficiently. After this, I was helping with trash collection, placing the grass on the plain dirt, and cleaning the sidewalks after everything was completed. This experience helped me realize the importance of communication and collaboration, because without a team member, my aid in this project would not have been as impactful.
Throughout this experience, there were times where I had the urge to sit down and take long breaks, but I was encouraged by the supervisor who kept explaining the impact our work will have on the family coming to live here. This helped me commit and persevere through the task, forgetting about the humid weather and early timing. Overall, this experience taught me more about the families that are not necessarily homeless, but struggle with a stable household. Through my role in landscaping, it was delightful to see the change we made as a group which emphasized on the benefits of collaboration and helped me realize the importance of perseverance as the struggles lead to a surprising outcome.
Check out more photos from the day: