I did a SERVE “get on a bus” trip to do Habitat Roanoke. Habitat Roanoke is by Habitat for Humanity, and we worked with the specific branch in Roanoke. We worked on two houses, side by side, that were being built for two different families. Habitat Roanoke mission is to create community development to build homes for families that are in need. Generally, they have volunteers come in that are able to work on the project, so for a day, and others for longer amounts of time. Specifically we did many different things, some shoveled gravel and worked on the basement framework, and others helped insulate the walls of the house.
A really memorable and impactful part of this service trip was that the family receiving the house was also there. The son and daughter gave a brief speech thanking us, and that was really impactful because we were able to see the direct impact we could have on this family. I will remember that seemingly small tasks we are doing are important and make a difference because what I thought was a small task of moving gravel, ended up saving the other volunteers hours and hours of time and that each thing we are able to do is beneficial. This is related to community development because by adding new houses to this area has caused a chain reaction of other people doing work on their own homes, and decreased crime. This really makes me think about how drastic the impact of community is, and by improving one part this causes a much greater change. It makes me want to discover how we can use this community development more to keep having greater impacts, and makes me passionate about this community because I have already been able to see the impact this is being made. This relates to the readings about how communities need to decide and work themselves to better their community, not outside resources. I think this implements this because although outsiders are used, a big portion is having members from the community volunteer too. This is important because working with a community, and causing community involvement, really can make a large community wide impact.
I will use this experience in the future, as a basis for community involvement and development, showing how involving the community members is very beneficial to the success of the project. I want to continue to investigate the rewards of community members verse outside volunteerism, or a mixture of both to decide which causes the best community development. I definitely want to volunteer with this group again because the experience was very rewarding. I want to use this community volunteering in the future with other types of service, to see if the effects are equally beneficial, discovering the impacts of volunteering on the community more. Investigate if the impact is because development is being done, or because of the use of their own community members in the project. I was able to see a different program approach to volunteer, and see firsthand the impact of what we were doing. I would label this as an experience that educated me on community involvement and development.