Fall service project: Habitat for Humanity


On Nov. 1, 2014, students from Westminster joined forces with students from four other schools to complete the construction of a house for Habitat for Humanity. This house marked the 23rd house that Westminster has built, the program first coming to the school in 1992.

“We have been involved with Atlanta’s Habitat project for the past 23 years,” said community service coordinator Stan Moor. “Every year we partner with Lovett, Pace, Marist and Woodward to build a house.”

Each houses costs about $75,000, and the five schools split the price between them, raising money through various fundraisers. In the lower and middle schools, the kids are given Habitat for Humanity folding paper-houses to collect their spare change.

“I remember filling up my Habitat house as a second grader,” said junior Ashley Rey.  “It was so cool to be on the other side of that fundraiser and to actually use the donations.”

Members of the service council and those participating in Habitat for Humanity have attended assemblies in the lower school, educating the kids about what the program accomplishes and urging them to bring in money as a donation.

While the lower and middle schools raise money using their miniature Habitat houses, the upper school helps fundraise through Penny Wars during Homecoming week, which not only gets students excited about service but also fosters competition between the different grades. Though the seniors won the competition portion of the fundraiser this year, as they always do, all grades contributed to reaching Westminster’s goal.

Aside from Habitat houses and Penny Wars, there are other options for students and families looking to help out.

“We also do a few bake sales throughout the year,” said Moor. “This is the first year that we have sold the school directory with proceeds benefiting the Habitat for Humanity program.”

However, a student must be 16 years old to help out with the hands-on portion of Habitat. Most students become eligible to help their sophomore year, but this year most of the participating students were upperclassmen, such as senior Kennedy Copeland.

“I had a lot of friends who were on service council and told me about Habitat for Humanity,” said Copeland. “I helped out last year doing the first day build which was amazing. You get to try something you haven’t tried before, like hammering a wall, which is cool to experience.”

Habitat Build 2

The construction of the houses began late September and ran every Saturday until the final workday, Nov. 1. About ten kids from each school went to work on constructing the house on Saturdays in order to be ready for the dedication service on Nov. 8. The family is expected to move in shortly before Christmas.

“The family was so excited to get their house,” said Copeland. “The best part was definitely giving people something that they deserve.”

The homeowners are expected to assist students in assembling their home, working side by side with the volunteers.

“The people whose home it was helped us out, too,” said Rey. “It was a cool experience to work with them on the house they would be living in.”

The program helps the five high schools to bond with one another as they overcome school rivalries to benefit the community.

“Working hands on with all these different people was definitely the best part,” said junior Kellson Tucker. “It is such a great way to go out and meet new people while helping an excellent cause. You really make some lasting friendships.”

The culminating feeling of achievement after building a house from scratch as well as the friendships forged during the process have helped the Habitat for Humanity program become one of the most popular community service involvements.

“It is such a tangible thing and you can literally see the progress of what you have done,” said Moor. “I think that is part of why it has become such a popular program in the upper school. At the end there is this house you have built and a family gets to go live in it.”

Though the Habitat for Humanity house build acts as a great way to give back to the community, it is just one of many opportunities available for students, many in the Community Service Club.

“Every month there is a different list of service projects available,” said Moor. “I encourage students to come by and talk about ways that they can get involved with service at Westminster.”