By SHEA STASKOWSKI
The Starkville Academy Anchor Club rolled up their sleeves to do their part to help contribute to the two Apostle’s Habitat for Humanity homes.
The two homes broke ground in early March as the start of the annual Collegiate Challenge, which sees university teams from all over the nation spend their spring break building the home. However, with a few weeks of down time between challenge teams, the homes were still in need of volunteers, and the Anchor Club answered the call April 2.
Anchor Club member and SA junior Britney Jacks had seen a television special on Habitat for Humanity, and though she had never participated before, the program touched her.
“I wanted to help with (Habitat) because I saw how much the family [on television] appreciated the work other people had done,” Jacks explained of the television program. “I felt like it would be good to have the opportunity to provide something for a family who actually needed it.”
So Jacks met with her Anchor Club, a club of predominantly females, and proposed that they make Habitat one of their service projects.
“We are just so excited about these young people taking this on,” said Freddie Rasberry, Habitat director. “If they can learn early in life how to do community service, if they can make that connection, they will place that roll of service throughout their lives. It will be such a blessing, not just to them, but to whom they help also.”
The girls, along with school administrators and teachers, arrived to the job site not knowing what to expect, and all of the girls without construction experience.
“One of the most challenging aspects was not being used to building and just being around something new in general,” club member Julianne Jackson said. “I had been around tools before, but I had definitely never put up siding, so that was a challenge. My first time [putting up siding] is going to be really memorable because it was for someone else.”
With two challenge teams completing most of the basic construction, the SA team were unsure of what their responsibilities would be.
“I really didn’t know what to expect. I thought were were going to be hammering and building walls,” Jacks said.
“Usually, a lot of these kids come with their group, and they have no actual thoughts of picking up a hammer or breaking a nail,” Rasberry said. “But by the time they get here, put a hard hat and nail apron on and work for about 30 minutes, they start to see that they can do this, and before you know it, they have become Habitat engineers and they’re enthusiastic about helping everyone else. It’s pretty amazing to see.”
The Anchor Club built a roof on a storage shed, completed the siding of on house and started on the other, painted trim and rolled final coats on sealant on the cement floors.
“It was hard getting over your nerves of thinking you’re going to do something wrong,” Jacks said. “But they didn’t care if you weren’t perfect because you were putting forth effort and time into a house for someone else who needs it, and that’s really all that mattered.”
The Anchor Club will be returning to the job site at the end of the month for another day of service before the homes are complete.
“Getting to help twice makes you feel like you didn’t have to do it — you chose to do it,” Jacks said of their return. “You put of little of yourself into the home, and I can’t wait to see the progress.”
To find out more about volunteering for Habitat, contact Office Manager Peggy Branch at 324-7008, or visit http://www.starkvillehabitat.com .