When E&H student Mallory Cox refers to her service work in the community, few people realize Cox is talking about swinging a hammer, mixing mortar and even hanging shingles on a roof.
A senior from Suffolk, Va., Cox logs at least six hours each week serving the campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity, an organization that builds and repairs houses throughout the world using volunteer labor and donations. The campus chapter partners with the Washington County, Va., Habitat for Humanity which has built 16 houses since its formation in 1998.
In fact, Cox’s service work has become such an integral part of her life at Emory & Henry that she was made president of the campus organization at the beginning of this semester.
A secondary English education major with a special education endorsement, Cox admitted she knew little about how to construct a house until she began volunteering with the chapter last fall. “I had barely heard of Habitat for Humanity before I came to college,” she said. After her friend, Jordan Remy, who was president of the chapter last year, convinced her to help, she never wanted to leave.
A few months after joining the campus chapter, Cox enrolled in the AmeriCorps program through the Appalachian Center for Community Service. Cox uses her service hours at Habitat for Humanity to satisfy the requirements of the AmeriCorps program which places thousands of young adults throughout the country at service positions where they learn valuable work skills, earn money for their college education, and become better citizens.
As an AmeriCorps member, Cox is eligible to receive a monetary stipend after completing 300 service hours at the end of one calendar year. When she’s not working at a building site, Cox helps with office work. “With a new house starting in a few weeks, I’ll definitely gain more service hours. The stipend for the program is only allowed to be used for education, so I plan to put it toward my loans,” she said.
Cox said the campus chapter needs more volunteers to help with office and site work. “Don’t be afraid to show up and start learning. Habitat is a good way to learn useful skills. You don’t just learn how to build a house. You meet new people and learn about the community,” said Cox who calls Emory her “home away from home.”
“Serving with Habitat is fantastic, even though it places me outside of my comfort zone. I enjoy meeting the families who are receiving the homes. I just love getting to know people all over Southwest Virginia,” she said.
“I have friends at Old Dominion and Princeton universities who don’t understand why I went to Emory & Henry College because it’s so small compared to their schools. I tell them it’s such a gratifying experience serving the people in this community. I wouldn’t trade this for anything.”
To learn more about the AmeriCorps program and how you can benefit, contact Gloria Surber in the Appalachian Center at (276) 944-6817 or firstname.lastname@example.org.