Last week I witnessed something I’ve always wanted to see…
Working in the nonprofit world, I’m constantly hearing visionary people expressing their plans to change the world. And I my blasé brain often thinks, “Sure, that sounds like a good idea.”
And truly I’ve heard hear tons of great ideas… but I don’t always get to see the impact of these ideas coming into full fruition. Can this good idea really make lasting change in the world?
“I have some nails in these walls,” said Janet Stewart, a homeowner with Habitat for Humanity. During an interview with this awesome woman, she told me about the first time she built a house. It was August 1991 at the first ever Habitat Women Build and Janet was building the home that would belong to her and her two young daughters.
Janet discovered her hidden talent for hammer work and was humbled to be amongst so many amazing women (amazing strangers) who were there to give her family a new life.
“They saved us, they really did.”
I always thought Habitat sounded like a good idea: ending cycles of poverty with affordable housing built by volunteers and the future homeowners.
Then I met Janet and knew she was some kind of amazing.
I heard the 25 year-long story of how becoming a homeowner lead to her daughters blossoming into the successful business women, being able to pay for college, becoming amateur handy-women, feeling like good things can happen in life…
It may sound simple, and it is. But after struggling as a single mom, wanting better for your daughters and not being able to offer it to them, moving year after year chasing cheaper rent even if it took your family into a bad part of town… simple and stable is dream.
Janet told me her story. I met her daughter. She shared about her great career in accounting. We joked about my utter failures in math class.
I felt the solid wall that Janet nailed together. I saw the family photos on that wall displaying the great life made in this home. I laughed and was encouraged by this strong, joyful, grateful family.
I witnessed something I’ve always wanted to see… an idea that truly changed lives forever.