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A family affair

Homeowners aren’t the only families on the JCWP build site this week. Amanda Wahlig, a recent graduate of Michigan State University, has made the trip to Benton Harbor with her father, and they are working side by side, driving nails on Nikkita Wofford’s house on East High Street. It seems that Habitat builds are becoming a real father-daughter event for the Wahligs.

Amanda Wahlig enjoys "family bonding" on the work site, both with her own father and with the homeowner family she's helping.

“We first built together in 2003. It’s always a good time doing this together,” Amanda says.

On this first day of building, the big job is raising the walls. Amanda and her father have helped construct the bones of this simple, decent home. Their help will mean that Nikkita and her four small children will now be able to enjoy a roof that does not sag and windows that keep out the cold.

For Amanda, the most exciting part of this build has been seeing Nikkita working on her own home. “The homeowner drove the first nail,” she says. “Getting the walls up is incredible.”

Habitat has always had family at its heart, and family volunteer groups are a Habitat staple. Anytime a father and daughter, mother and son, brother and sister give a week of hard labor to a Habitat build, another family comes closer to leaving behind their housing challenges, to having a safe place for their children to play, study and sleep.

“And it’s great meeting these people from across the country. It’s great working together,” Amanda says.

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