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Volunteers build houses, grow community

Kita Karna, Copy & Design Chief

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Painting day -- Seniors Chis Lagosz (left) and Jack Kowalczyk (right) prime the walls of a house with the staff and volunteer members of Habitat for Humanity in East Hartford on February 22. A total of nine students and three faculty members attended the field trip completing various tasks such as cutting and drilling drywall, and cleaning, priming and painting the corners, ceilings and walls of the house.

Nine students from the junior and senior classes and three faculty members traveled to East Hartford on February 22 to volunteer their time to build and paint a house with the staff of Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat for Humanity was founded on the idea of providing shelter to all individuals in the community and increasing financial literacy education through the numerous programs offered by the organization according to Senior Site Supervisor Len Turpin.

 “Our goal is to provide simple, decent, and affordable housing, because every man, woman, and child deserves to have a place called home. We also have the goal of educating our community about financial literacy because knowledge empowers people to be successful homeowners. Also, the ReStore is an important part of our mission, as it provides affordable items for homes and provides our affiliate with more funding toward our housing effort,” Turpin said.

On the day of the build, all volunteers split into groups to work on various tasks. In the basement, students worked with a group leader to measure, cut and drill sheetrock into the frame and apply a compound to the new wall to cover blemishes and provide durability to the wall.

“We were able to put up sheetrock all along the staircase, and complete most of the work needed. It was great to see it all come together and to know a family was going to have a clean, well-made basement. It was also great knowing that I improved my skills that could help me work on a house in the future,” senior Jon Olshefski said.

Another group focused on the techniques of priming and painting the walls. The lesson started with the safeties of using paint, and then volunteers proceeded to clean and prime the corners of the house, walls, and ceiling on both the first and second floors. Towards the end of the day, students began to paint primarily the ceiling of the kitchen.

“I enjoyed my day volunteering with Habitat. After painting for six hours, I began to understand the hard work that all volunteers provide for those who need the help. It felt good to take a day off from school and give back to a good organization,” junior Madeleine Parent said.

 According to Habitat staff member Nico Aiudi, through the efforts of the high school’s  volunteer students, more work was completed on the house than expected.

“At our meeting at the beginning of the week, we only planned on priming the walls, but the students’ work ethic passed our expectations and we were able to begin attending to other tasks and floors in the house,” Aiudi said.

Farmington has been in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity for at least ten years where students worked on various tasks such as painting, roofing, framing, and siding.

“Through this partnership, it has given opportunity for hundreds of students to experience various different stages of homebuilding on these build sites. As the adviser, I have been on many of these builds over the years, but every time I have the opportunity to work with students on these Habitat builds, I see a sense of pride and accomplishment while they are working, and I think it will be something they remember doing for years to come,” Corrigan said.

The school has continued to offer this field trip to students to emphasize the importance of community involvement outside of the town according to Corrigan.

“I think that it is important for students in Farmington to see that there is a world outside of Farmington and they can make a difference in someone’s life by taking the time to volunteer their services for the greater good of the community around us,” Corrigan said.

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Volunteers build houses, grow community