Mary has been volunteering with Habitat since 2008, when she saw Habitat volunteers working in her community and wanted to get involved. When she became a Habitat homeowner, her volunteer work continued. As a Habitat homeowner and volunteer, she knows both sides. “It’s an honor to volunteer and see the smile on other people’s faces. It’s an honor to know that people are helping you for no pay,” she said, “it builds a sense of community, I am so thankful for Habitat. The more I do, the more I want to do.”
Anfrila started volunteering with Habitat Oakland two years ago when she found us online while looking for volunteer opportunities. The importance of volunteering was emphasized throughout her childhood, so she took a day off from work and signed up right away to work on a build site. With no construction experience, she was happy to find that Habitat site supervisors and other volunteers are supportive and help her gain new skills that she continues to use on Habitat build sites, as well as at her own home. “The volunteers are so happy to teach you,” she said, “it’s like having a teacher that doesn’t grade you but says, hey, let me teach you more.”
Their Habitat journeys crossed last year during Rock the Block in Pontiac. Anfrila was one of the volunteers working to fix Mary’s driveway. Inviting the Habitat volunteers into her home throughout the day for bathroom and water breaks and working side-by-side, Mary met Anfrila and they’ve kept in contact ever since.
This past month, the women volunteered together to do landscaping at another Habitat home in Pontiac. Mary reflected on the landscaping that was done in her yard last year and says she continues to add to the flowers that come back each year, learning more by going to flower shops and reading about landscaping. “It’s amazing when you are able to give and make someone else’s day better. The homeowner can continue to take care of it and keep it going to make the neighborhood better,” said Anfrila.
While both women enjoy learning new skills and seeing the impact it can make on Oakland County, one of the lasting impacts of their volunteer work with Habitat has been the people they have met. Each time they volunteer, they get to meet new people who come from all different backgrounds. Having met only last year at Rock the Block, Anfrila and Mary have become close friends. “I was so excited this morning, I couldn’t even wait to see her,” said Mary.