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Volunteers in Birmingham are driven by many things

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My first volunteer experience with Habitat


By Phillip Jordan


Volunteer Kelly Shannon helps install soffit board on the roof of the Gunter family’s home. ©Habitat for Humanity International/Ezra Millstein


Volunteer Jim Wallace helps paint the Kendall family’s house. ©Habitat for Humanity International/Ezra Millstein


Ask Habitat volunteers here about their motivation for volunteering, and you will frequently get as many answers as there are — well — volunteers.

For Ginger Singleton, inspiration proved divine. On her first Habitat build in Corpus Christi, Texas, Singleton signed her name on a wall frame along with the homeowner. Singleton decided to add Jeremiah 24:15 to the frame, a verse that ends with “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” When the homeowner read it, she began crying.

“She told me, ‘That’s my family verse that’s been passed down through the women of our family from my great-great-grandmother,’” Singleton said. “It was that moment for me where I just felt God spoke. I said, ‘OK, I should help build houses now.’”

Next door to where Singleton worked alongside her husband, Allen, to caulk a house in Habitat’s Wylam Oaks neighborhood, Kelly Shannon helped install soffit board. The 23-year-old said Habitat’s mission has impressed her enough that she wants to contribute full time. She hopes to gain a construction job with a Habitat affiliate and says studying sculpture in college helped prepare her for home construction.

“You learn a lot about tools,” Shannon said as she worked to trim a soffit piece that wouldn’t quite fit. “And problem-solving!”

Wilshaun Wren, another 23-year-old from Birmingham, might have the most direct connection to Habitat. He works for Valspar, which has helped Habitat turn its A Brush with Kindness repair program into a national initiative through donations of paint and cash.

“I’m glad to be part of a company that cares about doing something,” Wren said from a repair project in Fairfield. “But it means a lot to me personally to help somebody in need. It’s a chance to do a good deed, and I’ve seen neighborhoods here that need good deeds. I hope we can get more people to do this after they see the results we have here.”

Phillip Jordan is a writer/editor for Habitat for Humanity International.



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