Making a foundation of color, love
By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on August 11, 2010 1:46 PM
Terrance Nicholson, background, admires hand-painted bricks that were designed by children from the summer program at the Goldsboro YMCA as Will Norris, foreground, looks on. The bricks are being used as foundation blocks for a house being built by Habitat For Humanity in Goldsboro.
Painted bricks that were designed by children from the summer program at the Goldsboro YMCA.
The rows of colorful bricks in the foundation of Crystal Williams' home on National Drive won't be visible from the outside once the house is completed, but the children who painted them will know they're there.
Dozens of kids crowded around the work site to see where the bricks they painted at the Family Y's summer camp eventually ended up: In the walls of a Habitat for Humanity home.
It was the first attempt at "Building Blocks," a new Habitat program pioneered by Director of Development Elizabeth Rutland.
For insurance reasons, children and teens under the age of 17 cannot work on Habitat construction sites. The Building Blocks program is a way to get the younger set involved with Habitat for Humanity before they are old enough to volunteer, and maybe to get their parents involved, too, Mrs. Rutland said.
"They got to paint the bricks, and we talked to them about what Habitat does and how it builds houses for less fortunate families," she said.
More than 150 kids and teens ages 5-16 helped decorate the bricks with paint and stickers. The non-profit organization is seeking a grant from the Clifford's Big Give program.
When the bricks were placed in the foundation, Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro-Wayne held a special ceremony so the contributors could see first-hand how their efforts added to Ms. Williams' home.
Bobby Stocks, 13, pointed out his own stripe-patterned brick where it was cemented in with the others.
"It was really interesting. I'm just happy to see I was able to do something to help this family," he said.
The teenager said he hopes to return to Habitat for Humanity when he is older to help build homes.
"I'll do it any day. ... I'd love to do this," Stocks said.
Majesti Smith and Laquacia McCullen, both 13, said they had never seen a house being built before.
"I like having the experience to make somebody have a happy home," Miss Smith said.
Victoria Preble, 13, went for a literal interpretation with her Building Blocks art project.
"Mine's the one that's broken that says, 'this is a brick,'" she said, leaning over the edge of the wall to get a look.
Madison Wildman, 13, said learning about the Habitat for Humanity mission made her think more about the things she is grateful to have in her own life.
"I think that it shows everyone really what a blessing you have, and really how grateful you should be all the time," she said.
Family Y Youth Team employee Rachel Hines said that the children and teens she works with at the local summer camp enjoyed the chance to help out in their own way.
"I thought it was really cool, and then coming to the Y and talking to the kids about it, it got them excited to learn about how other people may live, and how they can help," said. "I'm touched, honestly, I love it."
The kids also wrote encouraging messages to Crystal and her four-year-old daughter on the unfinished sides of the storage shed in what will be her new back yard.
The Y campers heard a few words about the importance of volunteering from Goldsboro-Wayne Habitat founder Bill Edgerton and Maurice Nickelson, both members of the Goldsboro Optimist Club.
"No matter what age you are, there are things you can do to help someone else, and that's what life's all about," Nickelson told the group of about 20 kids.
The three-bedroom, two-bathroom home, still under construction, is sponsored by Collins Wealth Management. Ms. Williams will pay a 20-year mortgage on the home.
Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro Wayne was founded in 2001 by Bill and Jan Edgerton. To date, 40 homes have been completed in Goldsboro and the surrounding county. Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro Wayne is multi-faceted; they we build new homes for families and run a recycled building materials store known as the Habitat ReStore.