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Hundreds of Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps members gather for annual Build-A-Thon

DALLAS (May 14, 2006) — More than 230 AmeriCorps members from across the nation will gather to build 10 Habitat for Humanity houses in seven days in the historic Joppa neighborhood in Dallas. The 11th annual AmeriCorps Build-A-Thon will bring together all the committed people serving Habitat for Humanity through the AmeriCorps National Direct program for community service.

“The Build-A-Thon is a wonderful way for members to recognize their impact on the community,” said Zanquetta Gray, AmeriCorps national direct program director for Habitat for Humanity International. “They get a chance to work with all 230 members. They can see that they are part of a larger, national movement powered by the spirit of service.”

The Build-A-Thon will be located in the neighborhood of Joppa in Dallas. Joppa has a rich history, which adds to the significance of Build-A-Thon. Joppa was founded by freed slaves from a nearby plantation in the 1860s and is one of the best preserved Freedman communities in Texas. Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity is sponsoring the 20-house blitz build, with AmeriCorps members responsible for constructing 10 houses. Three of the houses are designated for evacuee families from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita who have permanently relocated.

AmeriCorps National Direct members serve with Habitat affiliates in communities at 39 locations across the United States. By the end of this term, AmeriCorps National Direct members will have built more than 1,000 Habitat homes and helped recruit more than 125,000 volunteers.

“AmeriCorps is an important Habitat partner,” Gray said. “AmeriCorps members are more than volunteers because the work to increase the capacity of Habitat affiliates. Their work as volunteer recruiters, construction supervisors and family supporters allows Habitat to be a good steward of resources, partner with more families and build more houses in partnership with low-income families.”

Habitat for Humanity International was one of the first organizations to partner with AmeriCorps when it was founded 12 years ago. Since AmeriCorps began serving with Habitat for Humanity in 1994, members have helped build more than 7,000 homes. Currently, AmeriCorps members give 632,400 hours per year to build Habitat homes around the country.

About AmeriCorps
AmeriCorps engages Americans in innovative, intensive service to meet community needs in education, the environment, public safety, homeland security and other areas. Members serve with national non-profit organizations, as well as with hundreds of smaller community organizations, both secular and faith-based. AmeriCorps is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, and is part of USA Freedom Corps, a White House initiative to foster a culture of citizenship, service and responsibility, and to help all Americans answer the president’s call to service. For more information, visit www.nationalservice.org.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International, based in Americus, Ga., is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since 1976, Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses in nearly 100 countries, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for one million people. www.habitat.org.

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