Remember When? JCWP 1984 in New York City

In 1984, President Jimmy Carter was on a trip to New York City and stopped by a Habitat project on the Lower East Side during a morning jog. The project was struggling. Not even realizing he was talking out loud, he thought to himself, 'Rosalynn and I should come up and give them a hand.'

Someone heard him and told Millard Fuller. Fuller called him, and before he knew it, they were on a bus with about 40 other volunteers to help with the rehab project.

That was the story President Carter shared with more than 2,000 volunteers who turned out for the 2000 Jimmy Carter Work Project in New York to build 22 homes - the renovation of a 10-unit building on West 134th Street in Harlem and the construction of 12 new row houses in Brooklyn's Bedford Stuyvesant.

"That first year we didn't know if we could get any volunteers to pay their own way to go with us," says Jimmy Carter. "We loaded on a Trailways bus and drove 24 hours from southwest Georgia to New York. We all slept on a church floor in Lower Manhattan."

"We came in 1984 because we felt so sorry for the volunteers on the Lower East Side," President Carter said. "It's heartwarming to be back. We go to the original site and the whole area is transformed."

When they first came to New York in 1984, it never occurred to the First Family that the Jimmy Carter Work Project would become the international phenomenon it is today.

"I didn't think I'd come a second year," President Carter said. "I never had any concept it would ever expand."

Sixteen years later, the former U.S. president is continuing the pattern of partnership with Habitat for Humanity that began years ago. The times have changed and the Jimmy Carter Work Project has expanded dramatically. In fact, last year's JCWP in the Philippines involved 14,000 volunteers building 293 houses.

After years of traveling throughout the US and around the world, President Carter said it was particularly satisfying to be back in New York, the only city to which the Jimmy Carter Work Project has been more than once. This year, volunteers are coming from all over the world to participate in this tradition of service as the JCWP returns to New York City, where Habitat for Humanity will build its 100,000th house.

"All of it started in New York City," he said. "I thought I knew what southern hospitality was. You've taught me a few things here."

More JCWP Updates Today

N.Y.: New York City Volunteers Build on Faith
Fla.: 100 Houses Creating New Neighborhood in Jacksonville
Ga.: Carters Help Reach Milestones in Home County

Full Index of JCWP 2000 Stories

Volunteer Opportunity Is A Gift, Says Actress Sarandon
Brooklyn Mother Comes "Full Circle"
Habitat's Work Mirrors Harlem's Overall Rejuvenation
Baynes Family To Become Habitat's 100,000th Homeowners
New York City Volunteers Build on Faith
Ga.: Carters Swing Hammers In Their Hometown
Volunteer Has Long History of Habitat Service
Vera Thomas Thankful for "Victory House"
Sumter County Declares Victory over Substandard Housing
Carters Help Reach Milestones in Home County
Fla.: Diverse Volunteers Make JCWP Possible
Carter Builds in Jacksonville
Top 5 Things I Learned in Jacksonville
A New Homeowner's Journey of Faith
100 Houses Creating New Neighborhood
Plus: The Hughleys Celebrate Their New House, Habitat's 100,001st
Past JCWP Homeowners Now JCWP Volunteers
Building On Faith Week Underway Worldwide
JCWP 2001 Heads to Korea
Remember When? JCWP 1984 in N.Y.C.
More About JCWP 2000

JCWP 2000 Sponsors

JCWP Overviews

2001 -- Korea
2000 -- N.Y., Fla., Ga.
1999 -- Philippines
1998 -- Houston, Texas
1997 -- Kentucky/Tennessee
1984-96 -- Photo History

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