Glade Spring resident Jimmy Smith has been volunteering his time and energy with Habitat for Humanity for the past year, so when he found out he and his family were eligible for a house of their own, it seemed like a dream come true.
Smith is just one of many families to benefit from Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry that has served 2.5 million people worldwide.
Sponsored by Emory & Henry College, construction on Smith’s house in Glade Spring began in March, when dozens of volunteers began donating their efforts. There are few days when Smith is not at the building site, working alongside the volunteers to build a home for his wife and two children.
Emory & Henry student Nikki Lynn has spent her senior year working with the campus chapter, as well as the Washington County organization, to coordinate the volunteer efforts. Lynn has arranged for student volunteers to travel hundreds of miles from Johns Hopkins University, Villanova University, and Providence College to lend a hand in building the house. These students started the initial work on the house and laid the groundwork for a successful volunteer effort to follow.
In addition to the out-of-town volunteers, Emory & Henry students have answered the call to help each weekend this month. Some of these groups include service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, Theta Chi social fraternity, Spiritual Life, and other individual student and community volunteers. The most recent construction effort was to put braces on the roof to further prevent potential tornado damage.
The campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity has been hard at work this semester to raise funds for the build. According to chapter president Jordan Remy, “I am absolutely blown away by the progress we've taken as a campus chapter this year. We've seen so much accomplished, such as the house that was completed last semester, and all the work on the Smith house this semester. I also am thoroughly impressed by the volunteers who have come in from the community and from other colleges, and all the time that some of my fellow Emory students have contributed.”
The campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity received recognition and a monetary gift at the 12th annual Hope Awards on April 16 for their contributions for affordable housing in Washington County, Va. The chapter has sponsored many fundraisers throughout the year, such as a dorm storm, a three on three basketball tournament, and a video game tournament.
With the help of E&H students, staff and faculty members, as well as members of the community, the Habitat for Humanity is projected to be completed by mid June.