By Chris Clarke
Habitat for Humanity International’s senior vice president of marketing and communications
A young girl looks out the window of her new house. The sun shines bright on her smiling face and the promise of a better future — thanks to the selfless gifts of her community and its generous volunteers. The image is from the cover of Habitat’s most recent annual report  and the little girl, Kenzie Jackson, is just one of the millions of people whose lives have been touched and whose futures have been changed by Habitat’s mission and its partner families, dedicated donors, advocates and volunteers.
Most of my days start early. In that quiet window, before phones begin to ring and meetings are scheduled, I spend a good half hour or more reviewing some portion of the hundreds of Habitat news stories and blogs about Habitat’s work. They come in around the clock and cover the gamut, from fundraising to wall raising, from groundbreakings for single homes to major subdivisions, from building high-rise condominiums in New York City to bamboo homes in Nepal. The stories come from all corners of the world, and I never cease to be awed, inspired and humbled by the efforts and outcomes reported.
If you have ever volunteered with one of our 1,500 affiliates in the U.S. or traveled overseas to work with us in one of the many countries around the world where we have a presence, you may have viewed the completion of a Habitat home as the culmination of a successful effort. In fact, it is more a beginning. The stability, safety and security made possible by a decent and affordable home opens up a world of possibilities for the low-income families we serve.
Within the pages of Habitat for Humanity’s 2011 wall calendar  you will find images and information that demonstrate the many ways our mission transforms the lives and communities we touch. I hope you will find the calendar both useful and informative — and that your interest and involvement in our work is further strengthened by what you see and read.
Of the nearly 75,000 houses we built, rehabbed or repaired this past year, among them was our 400,000th house. That translates to more than 2 million people living better lives and experiencing better opportunities in simple, decent homes they helped build — and it is double where we were just five short years ago. With your continued support, our work and our pace can continue in 2011 and beyond.