Campus staff donate time, help to rebuild Norristown community

By Christine Graf
February 28, 2008

Megan Pellegrino

The chance to assist others by donating time and physical labor to better the Norristown community through Cabrini’s Habitat House arose for the Cabrini College community Friday, Feb. 15. This opportunity caught the attention of staff members Colleen Poole, an education field experience supervisor, and Brian Quirk, assistant director of cooperative education and career services.

“It (Habitat) was something I’ve always wanted to do and after reading the articles in The Loquitur about the Habitat for Humanity trip to New Orleans I was inspired,” Poole said.

Cabrini College is sponsoring a Habitat for Humanity project for the 50th anniversary of the college. Cabrini faculty, staff, alumni and students are all working together to help fund and build this $70 thousand house which will provide affordable living to a family located in the college’s partner community of Norristown.

Poole and Quirk participated in what Habitat calls build days, where volunteers from Cabrini College work from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The volunteers must watch a safety video and receive basic training from the Habitat staff before they get down and dirty doing various tasks such as, siding the house, installing insulating and caulking.

“This habitat project is a neat concept because it allows all of the Cabrini community to participate as opposed to just one specific group. This puts the meaning of community building behind the name Cabrini House,” Renee Roff, a junior education major and participant, said.

Although volunteers provide most of the labor, Habitat requires partner families to invest in so many hours of labor, called “sweat equity,” into building their homes and the homes of others.

Bridget Flynn, a junior education major and a member of the Habitat club on campus, said that although the work is not always easy it gives you unique experience.

“You do things with Habitat for Humanity that you would not normally do, which gives you valuable life skills that you might not have ever learned,” Flynn said.

Flynn recalls one particular experience she had with Habitat when a house was complete and they held a house warming ceremony.

“There were so many different people there who helped make the house possible, and it was a good feeling to see strangers celebrating a goal they all worked to accomplish for a family in need,” Flynn said.

Flynn’s sister Kathleen Flynn, a freshman communication major, found it was a good way to get involved on campus and meet new people.

“At the end of the day you can see the progress you made on the house and feel a sense of accomplishment.” You realize you are not just building a house, you are “making a difference,” K. Flynn said.

“The staff was so friendly and patient. They really are amazing people to be able to explain the process each day to new people. It is just a great organization,” Poole said.

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Christine Graf

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