Building dreams

Courtesy of Shirley Appel

Victor Duran

In a mission to help rebuild lives, a group of students and faculty ventured to the city of Lynwood on, April 3rd, to participate in the Habitat for Humanity program.

Key Club, Kiwans Club, and students from Vincent Appel’s woodshop class, put on hardhats and tool bags to lend a hand in the reconstruction of impoverished homes in Lynwood. These amiable students worked together on a project to build kitchens in five duplexes for ten families. The duplexes consisted of 2 restrooms, 3 bedrooms, 1 living room, and 1 kitchen.

“It was a self sacrificing experience that I shared with my students,” Appel said.  “ The event was character building; I was proud to say that those were my students working hard.”

The Habitat for Humanity program is a widespread nonprofit organization with a goal of eradicating poverty from the world. Through donations of money and construction materials, and a surplus of volunteer workers, Habitat for Humanity builds and remodels houses for the less fortunate. However, Habitat for Humanity simply doesn’t give out charity, applicants must be qualified. Families must live in inadequate living conditions, have a low income, be able to pay back a zero interest mortgage loan, and are willing to participate in the reconstruction of their own home.

“ I absolutely loved the event,” Key Club member Andrea Lomeli said. “I familiarized myself with what I want to do with my life, to help those get back on their feet.”

Lomeli hopes to be apart of the Peace Core in the future and continue her volunteer work in the Habitat program. Lomeli had the opportunity to connect with one of the future homeowners. She was a mother of five children, who Lomeli said was very grateful that complete strangers would spend their day to work and sweat in the hot sun to help her family.

As these students worked alongside each other, they also had the chance to get know a little something about one another.

“Work didn’t really seem like work to me, especially since I knew that I was helping someone,” junior Jonathan Mata said. “I really got to know some of the people I was working with.”

Mata is a part of Appel’s woodshop class and wants to specialize in a career that involves working with his hands.

Although they were focused on their work, students and staff shared a few laughs together as they reportedly saw principal Tom Houts “knocked out” in the lunch room after working like an ox.

“ Mr.Houts was all over the place, and by the time he was done he looked like he jumped into a pool,” Mata said.

For these students, a day on the construction site constituted of productive work ethic and emotional involvement in a community’s growth. Through Habitat, these students were not only given the chance to experience progression through a hard days work, but also make a connection with a community, in a journey to making their dreams come true.