Why I Volunteer: In memory of my daughter...

Resolve to volunteer in 2014
Friday, December 13, 2013

Coastal Habitat for Humanity
By Leah Rocktashel

Since its founding in 1994, Coastal Habitat has run on the energy of its volunteers – from construction sites to back-office administration to the ReStore resale store.  Some start because of a New Year's resolution, others for reasons more personal.  Regardless of the reason, each volunteer is welcomed and guaranteed to make a long-term impact on Southern Monmouth County.  This season, as our Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative teams continue to repair post-Superstorm Sandy, we need support from "winter warrior" construction volunteers – with any or zero skill level - more than ever. 

Continue reading for one volunteer's inspiring story of making a difference in the community on behalf of her daughter and her daughter’s young friends.

Karen, a retired systems analyst for a national insurance company started volunteering for Coastal Habitat three years ago.  She enjoys working with her hands and wanted to find an organization that would give her the rewarding feeling of helping people.  She also has a beautiful and personal story of how she first became interested in volunteering:

"My daughter was killed at Virginia Tech on April 16th, 2007 and when I retired, I had the opportunity to do something in her memory and in the memory of the thirty-one others who died that day.  They were young people who wanted to make a difference in the world and I felt if they weren't here to do that, I would do what I could; I knew this would be something for which my daughter would smile down on me.

"I’ve found that what little knowledge I have is appreciated, which is nice.  I've learned so much more than I had hoped I would.  I wasn't sure how things would work, whether I would be stuck pushing the broom or using the nail gun…well, I've used the nail gun and it's been very rewarding!  Everyday can be different.  I enjoy doing all the tasks, whether it is framing or putting in a window or the inside work such as painting or sheetrocking; it’s all great stuff.  It's a nice feeling of accomplishment. Sometimes I go home very tired, but it's a good tired."

Karen concluded:  "We always have a great time.  There are always many chuckles and belly laughs.  It is difficult to put into words how much volunteering for Coastal Habitat for Humanity means to me; it means a lot.  It is a good thing to do and it leaves me with a good feeling."

Please resolve to volunteer with a local charity in 2014.  Coastal Habitat has a volunteer role for everyone, no matter the skill set with some roles requiring as little as three hours a month.  Please complete the Volunteer Skills form now and our coordinator will be in touch within 72 hours.