Habitat for Humanity, Habitat for Promoting Community

— Wilston Johnston
Project Manager, Technology


Dorian and Wilston

My build partner for the day, Dorian (left). We did good work together!

Earlier this month, 13 of my colleagues and I spent our Commonwealth VTO (volunteer time off) day working for Habitat for Humanity. Habitat offers two ways to volunteer: either helping in the building of affordable housing (sold at no profit) or working in one of its ReStores. The ReStores are retail outlets that sell new and used building and household materials that are donated by companies and individuals. The profits from these ReStores help to fund the affordable housing builds.

One volunteer team (Daniel Bishop-Schaffer, Kyle Thoma, and Becca Baillargeon) helped the good folks staff the ReStore at 1580 VFW Parkway in West Roxbury for the day. Their day involved stocking shelves, handling delivery and pickups, helping customers, and cleaning up. (They even got to use a price gun! How can you not get excited about having your own price gun and the power to price items for whatever you think is justified?!?) It was a busy day that culminated with unloading a supply truck delivery. The truck may have showed up a couple hours late, but the three of them took it in stride and got the job done.

The second group (Dorian Carbunari, John Moore, Jon Bray, Matt Surette, Peter Wheeler, Paul Monayer, Jon Munro, Matthew Daiute, Jonathan Aibel, Charlotte Eastman, and me) worked on the build site at 38 Woodbine Street in Roxbury. We were continuing a build that started in May but had a projected completion date of winter 2015 (more on that later!). We met the building site supervisor who thanked us for coming then handed us off to his two junior supervisors.

Based on the initial task the two supervisors assigned us, it was my opinion that they thought we were just another bunch of pretty office workers. Were they ever wrong! By the end of the day, we installed a staircase and two sets of hand rails, corrected several mistakes (mainly misaligned boards and studs) made by a former volunteer crew, installed foam insulation and strapping, installed exterior scaffolding support, and built the two long walls for a shed that they will be using as an office. At the end of the day, the site supervisors commented that they were very impressed with the amount and quality of work that we got done. We were, without a doubt, very proud of our accomplishments. (You know you had a wonderful day when the only thing that went wrong was the pizza delivery being late.)

Our build site

Our build site

Want to lend a hand?

Want to help me try to move up that winter 2015 completion date? There are two families who will be waiting for another year for this building to be completed. I am planning on donating as many Saturdays as I can to help move this project along. Please contact me if you would like me to add you to my e-mail list of volunteers. The plan is to work with Habitat to identify Saturdays that they need help, communicate this info using the e-mail list, then organize individual Saturdays based on who can make it. (If power tools aren’t your thing, then please consider helping out at the ReStores.)

I am very proud to work for a company that promotes this amount of community caring and giving back!

Build team2

Our Habitat build team

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