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I leave for Haiti next week

By Karen Haycox, senior director for U.S. Engagement

When I was asked to share my Habitat for Humanity experience a little while ago, I was both flattered and thrilled to share a brief glimpse of my life while working with Habitat, not only as a staff member but also as a volunteer.

My name is Karen Haycox, and I am just days away from taking my next Carter Work Project trip to Haiti – to help finish the job we started last year. This marks my ninth year of participating in the Carter Work Project. As soon as I return, I will resume tackling the extra challenges we face in the U.S. after the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy. I know that Habitat’s building and recovery efforts are more important than ever as natural disasters occur more frequently.

Over the years, I have truly come to believe that the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project is the gold standard for Habitat’s volunteers and sponsors. The Carters chose to return the project to Haiti in consecutive years because of the depth of the disaster from 2010’s earthquake. In addition, the Carter Work Project is a microcosm of so much of our work in other areas around the world, and we are applying proven solutions to build hope and strong communities there.

The Carters themselves are a personal inspiration. Year after year, I am amazed and humbled by their dedication to Habitat’s work. They are true humanitarians and an ongoing source of encouragement to me and so many others.

This year, I am especially looking forward to meeting the homeowners again. Last year, local residents in Léogâne performed songs and rejoiced with us, not only for the homes we’d built together but for the gift of friendship as a whole. Our community of global citizens coming together helped our brothers and sisters in need of better homes transform their lives for generations to come.

This volunteer experience changes and enriches my own life as much as it does the families of Léogâne and other places I’ve worked with partner homeowners.

As part of this partnership, we leave behind not only safe, decent places for people to live, but also skills that will help a family to thrive once we’ve moved on.

As we leave for Haiti next week, I hope you’ll pray for us and consider making a financial gift to advance our work in Haiti and around the world. We are grateful for the outpouring of support our donors have shown throughout these tough times, and hope that you will continue to change lives through your dedication to our mission. I look forward to sharing more of my experience in Haiti with you in the coming weeks.