Habitat for Humanity Club plans to build affordable housing

Members+of+the+high+schools+Habitat+for+Humanity+club+look+forward+to+building+high+quality+homes+in+the+Greater+Boston+area.

ELSIE MCKENDRY/SAGAMORE STAFF

Members of the high school’s Habitat for Humanity club look forward to building high quality homes in the Greater Boston area.

With helmets and goggles shielding their heads and hammers in their hands, students secure floor panels at a house only a 20-minute drive from the high school.

The Habitat for Humanity club focuses on two major goals: organizing “builds” where students build a home in the Greater Boston area and fundraising to make those builds possible. The club gives students the opportunity to give back to their communities.

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that works to provide affordable and high quality housing by building and repairing homes. As one of many high school and college chapters across the country, the Habitat for Humanity club works with the larger organization to coordinate their builds.

Despite never having attended a group build due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sophomore and club leader Dhevin Nahata said he is excited about going on one this year.

“I joined last year because it sounded interesting and I wanted to help out low-income families,” Nahata said.

Sophomore Jason Ribatt said he appreciates that the club is focused on two tangible interconnected missions: fundraising and building.

“I like that it’s two very concrete ideas. We’re trying to raise money to help other people, which I like because we’re not going to raise the money for ourselves,” Ribatt said.

As a well-established club at the high school, Interim Associate Dean of Students and club adviser Summer Williams said members of Habitat for Humanity are very passionate and this is reflected in their independence.

“It’s sort of self-sustaining, meaning my role as an adviser is not about trying to push or pull someone along. People are down there ready to do the work, and they’re ready to go,” Williams said.

The club is planning on organizing two builds this year as they received a grant supporting their efforts during the 2019-20 school year that will significantly help their accumulation of the required funds. Williams said the first build will likely take place in early spring as they are typically held outdoors.

On Thursday, Dec. 12, the club hosted a bake sale after school and they plan on hosting another soon to collect all the funds required to participate in the two builds.

While buying from Habitat for Humanity’s bake sales, Williams said she hopes other students learn about the club’s missions and their opportunities to help the greater good.

“Students are always drawn to the sweet, good things, but I also hope that they take some time to listen to what the club is trying to do,” Williams said. “I’m keenly aware that, right now, we’ve been living through a period of time that has created more individualism than I think is healthy, and we need to start moving back towards community.”

According to Williams, the club participated in a build in March 2019 on a house off of Gallivan Boulevard in Boston. She said this experience was meaningful because the club’s hard work made an impact on a stranger’s life.

“Each one of us has an opportunity to step outside of ourselves to do something good for someone else that we don’t even know. It’s a different feeling when you’ve done something for someone else, you don’t know that person, that person will never know that you’re there. But you know you’ve left a mark,” Williams said. “I don’t know who lives in that house but I know that house is occupied and that’s beautiful.”

Williams said the club has lots of potential, especially because of how driven its student members are towards supporting their larger community.

“I want to shout out all the students who take it upon themselves and walk their talk. It’s important that younger people, younger adults, see things in the world and say ‘I can do something. I may not be the thing that fixes it all but I can do a thing,’” Williams said. “To see students organized together around doing a thing, that gives me a lot of hope.”