Such is the doctrine for Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland.
On the heels of celebrating the construction of House No. 100, a community of volunteers last week wasted no time in dedicating Houses No. 101 and 102 in the organization’s third subdivision, Victory Cove, on the city’s southern edge off South Lee Highway.
To take a few moments to observe a milestone while looking back on 22 years of history is fitting as Habitat did with its 100th house in a Christmas luncheon. Yet, the construction dust had barely settled and table saw blades had not even cooled by the time volunteers were building again.
It is in this vein that we take a final look at the recent celebration, one that marked more than two decades of volunteerism and community inclusion in a cause that most consider unparalleled in its humanitarian outreach.
In doing so, we look to the words of Dr. Paul Conn, 26-year president of Lee University who delivered the inspiring keynote address. In it, he spoke to several critical points about the longstanding relationship between his school and the local Habitat affiliate.
One is the unique scenario of one nonprofit supporting another nonprofit financially. He explained Lee’s favor toward the group of American Dream builders with a question of his own, “... How can we not support Habitat?”
We believe this answer lies in the hearts of most individuals, organizations, churches, businesses and other nonprofits whose shared cause is this — people, and especially those people willing to work hard to change their course in life.
Lee University is doing it through multiple resources such as volunteer builders including staff, faculty, students and campus organizations; and also as a key financial donor. Lee served as lead sponsor for House No. 100. This was the community-minded university’s third home sponsorship.
And now, Lee will support Habitat through yet another means, as announced in Conn’s keynote. Using the timely analogy of the Little Drummer Boy, the longtime president said his school will now bring to Habitat for Humanity a new gift, one that it knows best; that is, education. Effective immediately, Lee University — under the stewardship of Vice President for Student Development Mike Hays — will provide a free college course to any member of a new Habitat for Humanity home in Cleveland.
This includes parents and their children who are looking to learn life skills or to sort out their education and career paths.
Like many Habitat supporters, Lee University steps forward to partner with this worthwhile organization because of commonalities in vision. Conn pointed to three specifically:
1. Both believe in the importance of family.
2. Both believe in serving others.
3. Both believe in the power of community.
Let none argue the merit of any of the three, and especially the third. “The power of community” defines the strength of a people, the depth of their conviction in helping others and the unlimited potential when visionaries of like mind and shared cause take to task as a collective.
The likable Lee leader said it best when he offered, “We believe in the impulse in the human spirit that says you haven’t really lived until you have lived a life of giving.”
This is the story behind Habitat for Humanity.
It is the compassion that leads a community to light its way.