A family affair

Among the nearly 600 volunteers building in Santo, Haiti, are a number of people who have turned the trip into an extraordinary type of family vacation. Fathers and daughters, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives — they're all spending quality time together while helping others.

Compiled by Soyia Ellison and Phil Kloer
  • What's good for the Carters...  Shepard Farrar and John Garren married nearly 15 years ago after a whirlwind courtship. They have learned that playing together and working together builds a strong relationship. The couple, who live in Arlington, Virginia, say they are excited to be doing something together that allows them to give back — and to be spending time in the company of a pair they consider role models for marriage partnerships: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter.  ©Habitat for Humanity International/Ezra Millstein
  • All grown up, siblings come home to help  Siblings Marc and Marvena Edmond grew up in Haiti and live now in New Jersey and New York, respectively. They left Haiti when they were children, and had not returned until last year's Carter Work Project. Seeing their devastated home country was heartbreaking, but seeing that they could make a difference made returning this year a no-brainer. Working together on the project has made them closer than ever: "She's looking out for me," Marc says, "and I'm looking out for her."  ©Habitat for Humanity International/Ezra Millstein
  • Dad brings a little back-up  David Waud of Lake Forest, Illinois, brought not one but two daughters with him to this year's Carter Work Project. Last year, he came by himself after searching Google for a way to help Haiti. The 2011 experience was "tremendous," and he wanted Haley, 23, and Dana, 27, to be a part of it. Their team members keep marveling over how much the sisters seem to really like each other, which makes the girls laugh. "We're a very close family," the proud father says.  ©Habitat for Humanity International/Ezra Millstein
  • 'New' cousins bring it full circle  Sisters Pat Falkner and Mary Mizroch discovered they were related to Caroline Corvington because of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and now they are reunited and back to help. The quake spurred Mizroch, a retired nurse in San Rafael, California, who knew her grandfather was Haitian, to research her genealogy, and she discovered Corvington was her cousin. Mizroch and Falkner flew to Washington, D.C., to meet their "new" cousin Corvington, a program analyst for the National Weather Service. "When we heard about the Carter Work Project in Haiti, we said we have to do this," Falkner says. "It's like a full circle."  ©Habitat for Humanity International/Allen Sullivan
  • Building a legacy  Brian Thompson jokes that he and his father, David, "work better together in public." But clearly he likes working with his dad — he didn't include his construction experience on his Carter Work Project application for fear he wouldn't be able to work on the same house as his equally experienced dad. Brian, 26, builds decks for a living; his dad is president of the board of Habitat for Humanity of East King County in Seattle, Washington. David took Brian on his first Habitat build when he was 16: "It was great for our relationship," dad says.  ©Habitat for Humanity International/Allen Sullivan