How to change the world

Jonathan Reckford, Habitat for Humanity International CEOMy children give me a hard time for always wearing a shirt, hat or pin with the Habitat for Humanity logo whenever I am in public. The idea is that people will see it and strike up a conversation about our ministry. It works.

I was in the grocery store recently when an employee approached me and asked if he could help me find something. He saw the logo and began to tell me his story. He said he lives in a Habitat house, which has changed his life.

I hear that comment often, but I was struck at that moment with the thought that Habitat’s global efforts could be considered a “how-to” plan for transforming lives — really, for changing the world.

This issue of Habitat World is filled with specific (and terrific, I might add) how-to information that can benefit supporters, homeowners and Habitat organizations. How do you weatherize a house? How do you build a better budget? As I write this, I am just a few days away from leaving for a Global Village trip to Cambodia. Even as much as I travel, I would do well to look at the packing lists offered by members of our photo and video team — their “never leave home without it” suggestions.

I think you will enjoy and be inspired by these articles, and I love the way they point to a much larger story of how each of us can transform lives and communities. If you are reading this column, likely you are supporting Habitat’s efforts in some way already. I want to thank you for that. I also want to invite you and your friends to consider even more ways that you can make the world a better place.

Volunteer. You can do a variety of tasks on the worksite or help in many other ways. We need artists, attorneys, volunteer coordinators and teachers, for example — as well as those wonderful people who are willing to do whatever is needed.

Donate. Your generous gifts fund our mission. We also need items donated to local Habitat for Humanity ReStores. Those donations keep tons of material out of local landfills, provide affordable household items to the community and help fund our local work.

Speak up. Write a letter to local and national officials urging support of policies and systems that benefit affordable housing.

You may be doing all these things. Again, please accept my sincere thanks. But we must do more.

The reality is that escalating costs and the lack of adequate housing will continue to become a challenge for more and more people. Habitat’s vision is to change that. Please invite your network of friends and colleagues to join us. Tell them our ideas about how to change the world.

Jonathan Reckford, Habitat for Humanity International CEO