By Alex Berkman
Currently, hundreds of thousands of individuals in the United States alone lack a serviceable shelter. Habitat for Humanity was established to address the issue of homelessness, a challenge that has plagued millions across the globe. Habitat is a non-profit NGO, or non-governmental organization, with a mission to build and restore houses, shelters, and entire communities for people in need of a home. Throughout high schools across the country, including our very own Byram Hills, exists outlets of this organization.
The Habitat club contributes to the overall mission of Habitat for Humanity by (1) raising money for the organization, (2) attending meetings across Westchester to discuss the issue of poverty, and finally my personal favorite, (3) participating at local builds in need of construction or refurbishment. Particularly, regarding the monthly builds, Jessica Shaw, a Byram Hills English teacher and club sponsor for Habitat for Humanity, explained that “Students gain the opportunity to step outside of their comfort zone, and know that what they are working towards has a lasting impact.” Habitat is different because, unlike most clubs, it provides one with a unique experience, building homes while doing good for the world, and the opportunity to interact with communities outside of Byram Hills and Armonk. President of the Habitat club and Senior at Byram Hills, Kallie Hoffman, emphasized the importance for expanding the club in order to further support the impoverished individuals of Westchester. Kallie commented that, “It is fundamental in pulling people out of poverty and helping to provide families with more financial freedom, independence, and stability.” She added, “With more people involved, we can” … “help even more people.”
As a member of the Habitat for Humanity club, I can appreciate the significance of the work that we are completing. I know it sounds cliché, but every time I step out onto the construction property, I know that I will be making a genuine impact on our community. By just hammering a single nail, or putting up one plank, I realized that even the smallest contributions serve a purpose and contribute to Habitat’s mission. Ms. Shaw said it best, “We rise by lifting others. It’s something that speaks to who we are as a district, and who we are as a club.” This club provides students with the opportunity to socialize, step outside one’s comfort zone, and most importantly be apart of a greater cause. That is what makes Habitat for Humanity so special, and that is why YOU … should join!