Carter Work Project Day 1: ‘A Culture of Kindness’


carter-work-project-habitat-for-humanity-east-bay-silicon-valley-jimmy-carter-rosalynn-carter-volunteers-kindnessI spent the day with dozens of volunteers today in San Jose for Day 1 of Habitat for Humanity’s Carter Work Project. One of the best lines of the day was from a long-time volunteer who told me she volunteers because of Habitat’s “culture of kindness.”

Best moment of the day: when a member of one of the partner families—someone who thought she’d never be able to purchase a home in her lifetime—was in tears when I asked her what being able to purchase a Habitat home means to her. She could barely speak.

My day as a volunteer started at 6:30 a.m. at Lake Cunningham Park in East San Jose to help at the registration tables, before heading off to work sites to interview people and take photos as a Social Media Volunteer. Of the volunteers I met today, most were from around the Bay Area, but some were from as far away as Los Angeles.

Tomorrow’s day starts at 6 a.m., to greet the hundreds of volunteers showing up to work with President Jimmy Carter, his wife Rosalynn, and country music stars and husband and wife Garth Brooks and Tricia Yearwood. The couples worked in Oakland today.

Here are some other highlights from the day:

  • John Nadler, Vice Chair of Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley Board of Directors, told San Jose volunteers in opening remarks that the “partner families are the heart of Habitat and the volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization.”
  • I got to speak with the family whose home the Carters will be working on Tuesday. They are originally from Ethiopia and were “speechless” to find out first that they were chosen to become homeowners, and second that a former “president of America” was going to be working on their home. A site manager told me President Carter is scheduled to help install the front door.
  • Every where I went there were smiling, happy volunteers, from the folks at Lake Cunningham who welcomed volunteers and organized meals, to the people high atop a roof, scraping off old roofing tiles in preparation for installation of a new roof this week.

A good first day. Here’s to even more kindness coming our way tomorrow.