Student Forums
A journal of social practice & professional engagement for the Antioch community

Serving Rural Athens County: Chloe Harvey 27′ with Habitat for Humanity and Rural Action

The summer before the start of my first year of college, I served at Rural Action through AmeriCorps in their Environmental Education branch. I felt like it was a great experience and it was very meaningful work to me. Teaching the next generation the same love and care that I had instilled in myself growing up for the environment. From the start of the service term I knew that I wanted to come back and serve again, but I was committed to going to Antioch for college, we are still on quarters and this service position is set up to align with Ohio University’s semester terms. As a result of this, it is a little more work to get this to work for my co-op. I had to find another position to take between the end of term at Antioch and the beginning of the service term with AmeriCorps.  In this time I have found work with a local branch of Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat for Humanity is a organization that is committed to building affordable housing for those disadvantaged in the community. Here is a link to their mission statement and history on the organization The work that I am doing directly impacts the community in Glouster, Ohio were I am assisting in the building of a house for a woman who is also helping on this house. I have volunteered on two different weeks. The first shift that I worked, I was the only volunteer there, the only other person there was in charge of the build. His name is RJ and he was newly hired for Habitat for Humanity to help finish this build. For the first shift we were scheduled to work from 9am to 4pm, during this time it was planned that we were putting up all of the external walls, but when I was the only one scheduled they figured it would not be all completed in one day.  We started a little slow, we accidentally put two walls up in the wrong spot because the house was set up in a way that RJ never saw before and expected it to be the same as all the others he had built before. Once we figured out the set up of this house and got our mistake fixed, we hit a stride and were able to get all of the walls up before 2:30pm.

On another shift that I was there, we worked on the front deck of the same house I was working on during the first shift. It had been about two weeks since I was last at that house and work there kept going. When I was there last the basement/foundation was done and we set up the exterior walls. When I was back the walls were fully built up, not just the studs anymore, as well as interior walls were up and built. The foundation was no longer surrounded by a moat and the entrances for the basement from the outside were built. It is very impressive what can be done in such a short amount of time. Another part of Habitat for Humanity is that anyone can volunteer no matter if you have experience in the field or not. I have some experience in this work but not on the same scale as a whole house. My father was a carpenter for a while and he kept using those skills as well as teaching his kids the basics of building and repairing. As a result it was easier for me to catch on to the work we are doing.

Looking forward, the position with Rural Action is about to start and since I have been with this organization before I know what to expect to some degree. I have been told that this summer we are doing more summer camps than last, which I am excited to see as we did a good few before. I am also excited to expand my knowledge and connections in the local communities here, both in nature and in the intricate social dynamics of the area I owe so much to.

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