Catawba students help build Habitat house

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 11, 2012

Catawba College News Service
SALISBURY – Volunteer Catawba is partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Rowan County and a local family to build a home by Christmas.
The official groundbreaking for the home, located on Grants Crossing Lane, was held Sept. 22. The ceremony was attended by representatives of Habitat and Catawba College, as well as family members and friends of future homeowner Kimberly Cornelius and other community volunteers. Following a brief ceremony, which included music provide by members of the Cornelius family, Catawba’s team of volunteers went to work.
Kimberly Cornelius explained her feelings on ground-breaking day. “I am a single parent of a 4-year-old son, striving to be a great mom while preparing him for his future. When I was approved for the Habitat for Humanity Homeowners Program, I was ecstatic! Then to find out that Catawba College was sponsoring the construction of our home nearly blew my mind. I knew that our life was changing for the better!” she said.
“It means a lot to me to know that these students from Volunteer Catawba are giving of themselves to better the lives of others. When I think of how they are using their time and talent to build our home, I think of love, hope, compassion, unity, and most of all, God. They are all images of him. On my groundbreaking day, you could see smiling faces and determination all over the work site, despite any challenges we faced. That warmed my heart! The work that Catawba is doing is inspirational to me, and will be monumental in helping shape my son, Tristen’s, future.”
In recent months, many Catawba students have assisted with the construction of other Habitat homes, but this Cornelius home build is one sponsored exclusively by Volunteer Catawba. Despite the lofty goal of completing a home in three months, Volunteer Catawba has committed to provide volunteers on each Saturday through Dec. 23 to complete the job. Some building will occur on the home on selected Tuesdays and Thursdays.
According to Jay Laurens, coordinator of Outreach Programs at Catawba College’s Lilly Center for Vocation and Values, volunteers do not need to be experienced in construction or carpentry. “Energetic volunteers of all skill levels are needed,” he said. “Catawba College clubs, teams, residence halls and individual students/faculty/staff are encouraged to sign up now.”
Those interested in volunteering should e-mail Nate Hill, a student coordinator for Volunteer Catawba, at
Catawba’s campus food service provider, Chartwells, is providing box lunches for volunteers each Saturday during the Habitat build. In addition, churches and other groups occasionally prepare food and water for volunteers.
Habitat for Humanity of Rowan County was established in 1988 as an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. Since that time, the nonprofit, Christian housing ministry has been responsible for the construction of over 90 homes in Rowan County.
Habitat does not build houses for families, but with them. Family members and volunteers work side-by-side in building the home. Upon being selected for the Homeowners Program, each family must first work 100 hours in assisting with the construction of another family’s home. This is referred to as “sweat equity.” The family must then contribute an average of 300 additional hours of sweat equity during the construction of their own home. The remainder of the construction cost is financed through a no-interest loan, which must be repaid by the family.