Making great connections

By Jon Slock, Twin Cities Habitat Young Professionals Network member and volunteer

I began volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in college because I wanted to give back to the community. I expected that working with Twin Cities Habitat would be a rewarding experience. What I didn’t know was that it would also be a great way to network with people, especially since I joined the Habitat Young Professionals Network in Minneapolis/St. Paul three years ago.

HYPN aims to engage Habitat supporters in their early 20s to early 40s. It’s a growing network of supporters involved in a multi-faceted program that encourages long-term engagement, creates partnerships, broadens support and raises awareness of Habitat’s work among young professionals.

Truth be told, I love to sleep in on Saturdays. Since joining the network, getting up early has been a lot easier because I know I’ll make great connections at HYPN events. We often work on construction sites, but also host social activities. I’ve been able to enjoy salsa lessons and skating, thanks to HYPN. I’ve also attended cookouts, baseball games and riverboat cruises­­. At the most recent holiday party, I had the honor of winning the ugliest sweater contest. When the prize is free tickets to the affiliate’s annual black-tie gala, I think that there’s no shame in looking bad in public.

HYPN even enabled me to get a picture with the Carters during the 2010 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project in Minneapolis/St. Paul. To this day, it’s one of my favorite memories.

Many of the people I’ve met via HYPN have turned into great friends. That’s been one of the fantastic outcomes and certainly not something I originally expected when I first started with HYPN. I imagine our friendship and service with Habitat will continue for years to come.