Over the past year or longer, I’ve been searching a place to invest some of my time and talents towards making the world a better place. Throughout my career, I’ve found that if I volunteer some time outside of work to an organization or cause that I care about, I felt better balance in my life overall. Giving back to your community (whatever that means to you) is fulfilling in a way that helps smooth over the times when work gets stressful or isn’t going well. Not to mention the many, many other benefits.
For the past few years, I haven’t been volunteering as much of my time as in the past and I’ve felt the void. While work and life are good, I have felt like I’m being selfish, too much take and not enough give. I’ve got a couple of causes I’m very passionate about, but the right opportunity has yet to emerge to dive head first into it.
About a month ago, a friend asked if I would consider joining him on a Habitat for Humanity Global Village trip to Guatemala in December. It sounded like an amazing opportunity to give back in a meaningful way while also getting uncomfortable in a lot of ways. I know that this trip will cause growth in my understanding of the challenges that exist around the world and also in my heart.
I checked my calendar. The dates were open. I asked my wife what she thought. She said, “you need to go.”
So I am headed to Guatemala.
I served as a board member of Habitat for Humanity Omaha for six years, serving one as the board chair. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. There are lots of things to love about Habitat, but the thing I love the most is that Habitat’s model isn’t about a handout. It’s about a “hand up.” People aren’t given a Habitat house. Habitat home owners invest significant hours of time building their home along side volunteers. This “sweat equity” is how they pay for the interest on their home. When they are presented with the keys to their new home, they also take on the responsibility of an interest-free mortgage on their house. It’s far from a free house. Habitat gives those who are motivated the opportunity to change the trajectory of their family’s lives for the better by making a safe, affordable home possible.
This Global Village trip to Guatemala is an example of how Habitat expands it’s impact around the global to people and communities who really need it. Beyond building houses, we will also have the opportunity to volunteer in the community and to learn about the challenges that exist there (some estimates put well over half the population of Guatemala as living in poverty).
I’d like to invite you to support me on this endeavor by making a donation to support this effort. Here’s a link to my fundraising page that provides more information about the trip with instructions for how to donate: share.habitat.org/jason-lauritsen-gv16232.
I share this with you in hopes that we can together make the work at least a little bit better place.
Thank you for your support.