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Twice as nice

Blogger Stephanie Ham

Stories and jokes are coming your way from the 2012 Milwaukee and Los Angeles Build-a-Thon events
By Stephanie Ham

All AmeriCorps members serving a term with Habitat for Humanity are blessed to experience many amazing things; one of them being the upcoming annual AmeriCorps Build-a-Thon!

As we all attend a regional Build-a-Thon, I have been given the opportunity to attend the Milwaukee blitz build next week, then scurry back to Los Angeles for my Habitat affiliate’s AmeriCorps Build-a-Thon.

And you have been given the opportunity to read my stories (ramblings) about both! Twice as nice, right? (Say yes.)

When I found out that I was attending the Milwaukee Build-a-Thon, staff members at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles who attended Milwaukee’s AmeriCorps Build-a-Thon last year, gushed about all the fun I would have. Stories of build day successes, evening activities, cross-country AmeriCorps friendships, and re-enactments of embarrassing moments suddenly filled the room.

If three former AmeriCorps were getting all crazy at 9 a.m. about a build a year ago, I knew I was in for an adventure!

Our information packets arrived with plans for themed build days, team building, and baseball games. It seems like summer camp 2.0, and who didn’t love summer camp? I was pumped!

We are framing six houses in one week and partnering with community groups on an additional four homes. Each house’s Habitat partner homeowners are also working with us on site. Mmmmm pumped… and that is only for the Milwaukee Build-a-Thon; I get to do it all twice. Murmurs around the LA Habitat office include energy-packed events, build competitions, and beach bonfires. Again, pumped!

While these two Build-a-Thons are happening across the country from each other, in seemingly different communities, I expect Los Angeles and Wisconsin have many things in common. Beyond being rabid football fans, and having amazing cheese at our fingertips, we are all lending a hand for the betterment of the community, and bound to each other and those in need.

Stick with me for the next two weeks and I’ll keep you linked in to all the build day adventures, all the camaraderie, and all the Wisconsin and LA jokes. (Joke No. 1: How do you keep the Green Bay Packers out of your front yard? Put up goal posts.)

Stephanie Ham is a first-year AmeriCorps member serving as volunteer coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles, which coordinates and recognizes more than 10,000 volunteers annually. Ham moved to Los Angeles from Kingston, Jamaica, where she served as a youth and literacy counselor at an after school center. Ham began volunteering for Habitat for Humanity with the East Bay affiliate in Oakland, Calif. in high school and spent three summers working as their construction site crew leader.