“Home is where it all starts. It’s where our children are raised and they learn how to go out into the world. It’s home that gives people the grounding they need. Habitat creates this stability,” says Linda Mealing, Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley volunteer.
Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley is committed to creating affordable homes for low-income families throughout Washtenaw County. With the attainment of a Habitat home, families find greater opportunities to improve their lives and children find more success in school and life.
Mealing, 68 of Ypsilanti, first heard about Habitat for Humanity’s work when her two nieces received Habitat homes. She began volunteering in 2009, after a member of her church suggested it, knowing she wanted to do more in her retirement.
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“I thought it was a blessing to get my own home after I married,” Mealing says. “It was such a joy and it’s still a joy knowing that this is my home, and to be able to be a part of someone else’s journey to getting their home and to share that feeling is great.”
Mealing volunteers as a Family Support Partner, serving as a voice for the families on a one-on-one basis. Every family that is accepted into Habitat’s program is assigned a partner who helps them stay on track, answers questions, see the bigger picture and makes sure they don’t get overwhelmed. Mealing goes through the entire journey, start to finish, with her families.
“It fits like a glove for me,” Mealing says. “I still have connections to these families, I see them out and about. Seeing how happy they are keeps me going and wanting to continue working with Habitat.”
Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley’s Executive Director, Sarah Stanton, believes Mealing’s work is a key piece of the program.
“Linda’s dedicated heart and passionate volunteer hours have helped guide many families to become successful homeowners,” Stanton says. “The guidance that our Family Support Partners commit to our potential homeowners is the backbone to the success of our program.”
Mealing also likes to get her hammer out and work on the homes as much as she can. She says she’s learned a lot of useful skills and so do the families that work on their own homes.
“These families learn how to do things like put up a screen or put up siding, so they’ll know how to take care of their home in the future,” Mealing says. “They learn about financing. They are getting a home that will last them a very long time.”
In addition to providing new, affordable homes to families in need, Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley also works to revitalize neighborhoods and partners with companies like DTE Energy to fulfill home appliance needs.
Mealing recalls Habitat restored homes in her neighborhood for the elderly who could no longer financially afford to keep their homes safe and up to date.
On a daily basis, Mealing gets to assist families in owning their first ever home. She gets to see the light in their eyes, their dreams coming true and their needs being met.
“If I can find ways to help other people so that everyday living is easier, that’s what the Lord expects of me.”
If you know a volunteer you would like to see featured, contact Terry Jacoby at firstname.lastname@example.org