Supporting the Community: Building with Habitat for Humanity
Tomorrow, more than 20 employee volunteers will be putting on their work boots and gloves to help build a home with Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis. Have you ever wondered what goes into building a house from the ground up? We asked Community Engagement Coordinator Amy Determan to share some of what makes the partnership between the Credit Union and Habitat for Humanity St. Louis so special. Check it out!
All HFHSL builds are unique, but what makes the AECU build special?
We are so grateful for the Credit Union’s financial support, but even more grateful for the opportunity to grow this relationship. Another rather impressive part of this relationship is the partnership as a whole. AECU is one of 14 bank and credit union partners who have joined together for this build. This kind of partnership can’t happen in every community. To have everyone come together to support Habitat’s mission is pretty phenomenal.
What do you think your constituents would say is the best thing about your organization?
We strive to ensure our constituents feel connected to our mission. It’s easy to get caught up in the drive for publicity or high figure partnerships, but if no one feels a connection to our families and why we do what we do, then we can’t call ourselves successful. We are all here to provide an opportunity for homeownership for a family who wouldn’t have that opportunity any other way. When our constituents are on a build site for the first time and swing a hammer alongside one of our partner families, they see our mission in action. I’m grateful we can provide that experience to our constituents.
What do you think your beneficiaries would say is the best thing about your organization?
One of my favorite “habitatisms” over the years is “habitat is a hand up, not a hand out.” I think the homeowners who qualify for and then purchase their homes through our program would tell you their favorite part is the opportunity we provide. Our families are hardworking and simply need a small lift, that opportunity to take the next step in their lives to make things better. Habitat helps families help themselves, and each family will tell you they are so grateful for that hand up, not hand out.
Tell me about one of your favorite builds.
Only one? That’s like picking your favorite child! Every build is moving and meaningful in its own way. Last year we completed a home in partnership with KMOV and 10 partners as part of Home for the Holidays. We went from a bare foundation to handing over the keys in 10 days. To call it organized chaos would be an understatement. Our construction staff was phenomenal, the volunteers and community partners were so supportive, and in the end we had a home dedication for a family everyone felt connected to. It went so well, that we are taking it on again this year!
Social Media is everywhere these days. What role does it play in your org., and what are some of the benefits it brings to HFHSL as a whole?
Social media plays a huge role at Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis. Our social media channels focus on advocacy, storytelling, upcoming events and most importantly on recognizing the hard work and time our volunteers and construction team dedicates to eliminating substandard housing. Being able to engage with our community not only spreads awareness of our mission where “Everyone deserves a decent place to live,” but it also helps us reach new audiences who may not understand exactly what we do.
The accessibility of social media benefits HFHSL because we’re able to engage in real time with our audience, all while advocating the importance of affordable housing. Whether it’s sharing a heartfelt moment between our homebuyers and our volunteers, or giving updates on our build progress, our followers are following because they either want to get involved with HFHSL or because they believe in our mission and want to make our shared community stronger.