The symphony of hammering at the Olive Ave. house echoes from room to room. The melody is hope, the harmony is stability, and it is performed by the many volunteers who are writing the song of a brighter future for homeowners Brenda, Gerardo and their three children.
Among the volunteers is Juliette, a vibrant 17-year-old high school senior who knows a thing or two about creating music and the arts. She is currently a student at a distinguished arts school in Duarte. Her ambition is to attend college focusing on a BFA in musical theatre.
Juliette has been looking forward to volunteering on a construction site since she began volunteering at the ReStores at age 15. (Minimum age to volunteer on the construction site is 16). SGV Habitat is Juliette’s first experience volunteering with an international non-profit organization. As a member of the National Honors Society, she is encouraged to complete community service hours. Upon researching various non-profits, Juliette found the idea of building homes a fun and unique way to spend her time. After a year volunteering at the ReStores, she was excited for the first day she stepped on the construction site.
“I was nervously excited on my first day,” Juliette recalls. “Everyone at the site was encouraging, and I never felt I was doing something way too hard or too easy; the crew keeps us engaged,” she explained.
Even at age 17, Juliette recognizes the struggles families have seeking affordable housing. As a child of a single mom they have moved many times throughout the San Gabriel Valley, as her mother strived for better opportunities. Although, her mom is an educated professional, finding an affordable home for their family was a struggle. Juliette sees how the cost of owning a home in the San Gabriel Valley is out of reach for many families. This is one of the reasons she decided to volunteer for SGV Habitat.
She hopes to one day own a home of her own and recounts the skills she has attained while working with the construction crew: training on how to use power tools, components of a house, drywalling, hammering, installation, problem solving, reading a blueprint and more.
“Teens like me, are going to one day own a home, and working with Habitat is the best kind of training,” Juliette explained. “You are going to want to know how to fix things in your home, so you don’t have to pay someone to do it for you,” she continued.
Juliette was surprised to learn that there is a right way to hammer and a wrong way, and learning how to hammer in the proper manner makes the task at hand easier. Hammering proved to have another valuable use for Juliette. It is therapeutic.
“When you have a hard day at school, if you are frustrated with a grade you received on a test, or you don’t like your homework assignment—just hammer it away! Your English teacher didn’t like your essay –Hammer it! Hammering is a terrific therapeutic release!” Juliette said with a smile.
The most valuable insight Juliette gained from volunteering was the way it made her feel.
“Working with John, the Construction Site Supervisor, I felt that he trusted me with the given task. I felt included, and empowered by the skills I learned,” Juliette said reflecting on her days volunteering.
“When a bunch of people come together to do something for others, it gives off a great energy.” Juliette shared. “There is so much negative noise all around us. But when you step on that construction site, everything outside evaporates, and I am just surrounded by goodness. You are reminded that humanity is good.”
For more information about youth volunteering please contact Tywanna Hill, volunteer coordination at email@example.com