Building a Better Life in Orlando

September 29, 2009

Seven Rollins community members joined dozens of local volunteers on September 26 to help construct a housing project for Habitat for Humanity Orlando.

Six students and one Rollins alumni and current staff member traveled to west Orlando to help in the construction of one of Habitat’s current housing projects, Staghorn Villas, its first multi-family community. Volunteers hung drywall, mowed grass and provided carpentry and painting services.

Habitat has already dedicated the first two buildings of the development, and construction is underway at the third.  Once completed, the 3.9-acre, $8 million community will consist of 12 townhomes, providing affordable homes for 58 local families.

Families chosen to live in Habitat homes are selected based on their level of need, willingness to become partners in the program and ability to repay the no-profit, no-interest loan. These families previously lived in substandard, overcrowded or overpriced living conditions.

The volunteer opportunity was hosted by J.U.M.P (Join Us in Making Progress), a student organization that provides volunteer activities for Rollins faculty, staff and students. Although the day was long and hot, everyone seemed to gain a sense of appreciation for the work the community can achieve.

“This is really a different look at what it means to serve your community,” said Rollins staff member and recent alumni Patrick McKelvey (Class of 2009).  “When selected, Habitat families are required to give 500 hours of sweat equity into building their house. The program is a hand up, not a hand out, because we are working alongside these families and providing them with the skills and opportunities to provide a better life for their family.”

Rollins group in front of the new Staghorn Villas Habitat for
Humanity housing development.

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