Aloha Habitat for Humanity!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013



Not working for a non-profit has been really hard for me.  I know that’s where I want to spend my career but I made a tactical move to the for-profit industry because this is different aspect of Marketing and Event Planning that I know I need to gain experience.  I told myself it would be okay because once I got settled I’d find somewhere to volunteer so that I could still fulfill that part of my life.  False, does not work like that.  Working at a non-profit helped me get out of bed each morning.  Even if I’d had a particularly bad week or if I knew that upcoming day was going to be crazy, I still genuinely looked forward to going into the office because I was so inspired by what my work was doing in the world.  That feeling can’t be replicated by volunteering a few hours a week.  And worst of all is that I’ve had THE HARDEST time finding somewhere to volunteer here!  Props to the Montgomery County United Way back home in The Woodlands because if you wanted somewhere to give back, they could send you a list of non-profit organizations that were ready to take your help right then.  Their volunteer website was also top notch.

I was trolling the internet looking simultaneously for volunteer opportunities in Bham and researching trips for the fall when I happened upon Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village program.  What? That’s PERFECT for me!  I already love Habitat, I've worked with them in the past and this would allow me to travel abroad!  Seriously that is my dream job.  Traveling the world, helping people in need, raising funds for NPOs along the way.  So I looked into the available trips and was instantly drawn to the Kauai trip.  I know Hawaii isn’t exactly traveling abroad but I’ve seen first-hand how horrible the homeless situation is in Hawaii and I just knew this was the trip I was meant to go on.

Some of you may know, my mom’s parents live on Oahu.  My grandpa is actually from there; he was there when Pearl Harbor was bombed (such an amazing story, I’ll post that one later if y’all want!).  They’ve been there about 10 years now so I’ve been to visit 3 times and my parents have been like 6 or so times.  Every time we go, the first thing we notice while driving down Hwy 93 along the beach to my g-parents place is the homeless people.  Remember learning in U.S. History about “Hoovervilles” during the Great Depression?  Entire shanty towns built from cardboard and tents under bridges and in abandoned parts of town?  Well, that’s the only way I can describe what you see on these beaches.  Especially as you go further north on the west coast away from the touristy part of the Island.  The beaches are lined with these make shift towns consisting of homes built from broken cars, tarps and tents.  School buses actually have stops near these “towns” because there are so many children living there.  Apparently the problem on Kauai is even worse.

Image above from (http://zkahlina.ca/eng/2010/10/11/camping-free-in-hawaii/).
When I first saw this, my thought was- “Nice, living on the beach!”  Man was I wrong.  They shower in the little outdoor showers meant to wash sand off after leaving the beach and get ready in the disgusting public bathrooms scattered along the coast.  Trash doesn’t get picked up in these areas so they either let it pile up or have to take it to a dumpster behind the nearest store.  It just isn’t the way anyone should live.  Local authorities do their best to keep it clean and help families afford a better place to live but they can’t keep up due to the incredible wealth gap on the Islands.  For locals it's basically that if you work in tourism- you’re rich, if you don’t- you can barely scrape by.  During the rainy winter season, everyone suffers.

Habitat for Humanity believes that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live.  Habitat builds and repairs houses all over the world using volunteer labor (like me) and donations.  Their partner families then purchase these homes through no-profit, no-interest mortgage loans or innovative financing methods. (www.habitat.org/how/about_us.aspx)  For those of you who may have a problem with non-profit giving because you don’t believe in “giving free handouts”… well, that’s so not what is being done here. 

My parents took this when they visited Kauai last week!
The trip I’m going on will be from December 26th – January 5th! I’m especially excited because we'll be building in a Habitat for Humanity neighborhood!! How cool is that? They're actually working to build a whole neighborhood of affordable homes!

I’ve set myself the hefty goal of raising $2000 before November 16th.  That’s only 2 months away(eek)!  If you feel inclined to help me help others, I would greatly appreciate a donation for our trip.  You better believe I’ll be blogging every day while I’m there and live tweeting the whole thing.  Trust me, Beth with power tools is gonna be super entertaining.  Any amount that you’re able to give would be SO GREATLY appreciated!  Your donations are tax deductible and go directly to the trip that I’m going on, not my flight there or anything like that.  If you don’t want to donate to my trip, please consider working with your local Habitat for Humanity on a build near you!  There are so many ways to give back :)

Click here for my official fundraising page!


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