After JCWP, 'you won't be the same'
Danita Shelton, an industrial electrician from Detroit, Mich., has helped build Habitat houses in Ecuador and Mexico, but this project has special meaning for her. “It gives me a sense of pride to help in my own backyard,” she says. “I feel more of a connection. I can come and check on the family from time to time.” Danita also looks forward to serving as an unofficial tour guide for friends she has met on other builds. “I can’t wait to show people around my hometown,” she says.
In addition to working on House #15, Danita served on the JCWP hospitality committee, which has allowed her to see another side of the project. “It’s a lot of work to get to this point,” she says. “It’s been interesting to be on the planning side.”
Danita’s dedication to the elimination of poverty housing has not gone unnoticed. She was recently awarded the Bernie Firestone Award by the United Way of Southeastern Michigan. This award is given to rank-and-file members of metro Detroit unions who have shown a commitment to volunteerism. The award includes a $1,000 check to be donated to the recipient’s organization of choice. Danita donated her check to HFH Detroit.
When asked what she would tell someone who has never participated in a Habitat build before, she doesn’t hesitate to respond: “After the build is over and we dedicate the houses you will be hooked. I guarantee you’ll be saving up to get ready for the next build. You won’t be the same.”
Danita plans to participate in the JCWP 2006 in Mumbai, India.