Kimberlee Kocienski

Watching the sunrise over Louisiana as our plane took me home was one of the most breathtaking sights and a perfect way to end an amazing week. I learned how to use different tools and actually put up walls in a house, explored a city full of rich culture and pride, and create friendships that I never would’ve had if it weren’t for going on this build trip. I have learned so much about everything Habitat for Humanity has to offer and the whole process of people having to actually put in hours of working for Habitat, as well as taking classes to teach them how to maintain their houses. I think this process is something that makes volunteering for Habitat that much more important.  We’re lending a helping hand for people who not only are in need of a new home, but are willing to put in the time and effort to earn it. As I watched the sun slowly rise to start off my day, I realized that this trip was much more than learning how to hammer a nail and build a house, but to help create a new home and guide people to the start of their new and better lives.  Not only have I learned so much about New Orleans, Habitat, and the amazing group of people I got to share this experience with, but I learned a lot about myself.  I was able to push through my comfort zone when at the build site.  Being able to branch out try new things helped feed into the confidence that I have the ability to actually help people.  I also realized the type of attitude I should have about life. One with positivity and patience. These two things alone I saw everywhere during our week, and had a big impact when interacting with people to successfully get things done. Basically everyone I interacted with was always so kind and giving.  They were all-around happy people. One thing I will never forget about this trip is that happiness is truly contagious.  You never know what someone could be going through and just a welcoming smile or ounce of positivity could be mean everything.  Being on this trip also helped me realize how grateful I am for everything I have and all of the great opportunities I have been presented with.  And even though I am truly blessed, something could happen in the blink of an eye where everything could be taken away from me.  This life-changing experience proves why you should enjoy and be grateful for everything you have today, always give out a helping hand when you can, and in the end do what truly makes you happy.

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