Arizona Daily Wildcat April 1, 1998
Volunteering is a hands-on experience
All Wildcat Habitat for Humanity needs is a pair of willing hands to help build houses for needy Tucson families.
Engineering freshman Daryl Nauman, co-chairman of the Wildcat group, said no experience is necessary to volunteer at Habitat for Humanity's Tucson site.
"If you're not experienced, there will be someone who can show you what to do," Nauman said. "They know they're working with volunteers with little experience, so if you just ask them they'll show you."
"They" are the members of Tucson Habitat for Humanity. Tucson Habitat for Humanity and Wildcat Habitat for Humanity are members of International Habitat for Humanity, which works to build homes all over the world.
The international organization is the 17th-largest home builder in the United States, according to a Wildcat Habitat for Humanity pamphlet.
The Tucson group operates on donations for funding. Wills, corporations and individuals often designate that money be sent to the non-profit organization, said Amelia Reyes-Bryson, the community outreach coordinator for Tucson Habitat for Humanity.
"Habitat for Humanity works in partnership with God and people everywhere by building and renovating houses - so there are decent houses and decent communities for people to live and grow," according to International Habitat for Humanity's mission statement.
"The number of houses we can build depends on the number of volunteers we have," Reyes-Bryson said. She said 108 homes have been completed by the organization in Tucson.
Nauman said the Wildcat group, which has 20 to 30 members who go to the building site near "A" Mountain each Saturday, find the work rewarding.
"The students feel pretty satisfied that their time is well spent," Nauman said. "You could be sleeping in on a Saturday but instead you're out donating your time. That says a lot for the people who are involved."
The finished homes are given to low-income families who are legal U.S. residents and have contributed between 200 to 400 "sweat equity" hours of service in building their houses. The family is then given a no-interest mortgage from the organization.
The residents pay about $300 each month in rent until the homes, which are worth about $60,000 each, are paid off.
The average house has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a stove and a refrigerator.
"I'm doing this because I totally believe in the mission to provide adequate and decent houses for people in need - people who work hard but just can't afford to get a home," Reyes-Bryson said.
"When I see the families and children who receive the home, it's so worth it," she added.
Nauman agreed building a home with his own hands is a great feeling.
"The building is really hands-on rewarding when you see at the end of the day what you've done with a house," he said. "In a few hours you might have the walls up from the frame or you might finish the inside walls."
Nauman said there is something different to do each time the group goes to the building site.
"We may be painting at one house and framing at another," he said.
Nauman encourages anyone interested in a hands-on volunteer opportunity to get involved with Wildcat Habitat for Humanity.
"You don't even need tools," Nauman said. "If you have a hammer or some tools bring them out, but every weekend we work on something different so you don't know what you need."
Students interested in volunteering with Wildcat Habitat for Humanity can contact Daryl Nauman at 695-0530.