By: Melissa Herazo
Waking up at 5:30 am isn’t always easy (especially for a college student), but it was a
little easier knowing that I was on my way to help build the interior of a single-family
home with Habitat for Humanity in Capital Heights, Maryland.
I jumped out of bed, put on my Boland blue polo, jeans, and sneakers. I met the rest of the associates that were carpooling together at Boland Headquarters in Gaithersburg,
As we were riding to the location, I had no idea what was in store for the day. I was a bit
worried knowing that I had never built anything before, let alone the interior of a home. When we arrived at the site in Capital Heights, we were greeted by the Habitat for Humanity staff, and 13 other Boland associates that were also ready to get started on
the house. Some of our other Boland team members drove separately to the Habitat for
Humanity ReStore in Rockville, to help move, label, and sell used furniture.
Our construction team started bright and early to get as much done as possible. One of
the Habitat for Humanity staff members began by giving us a bit of background on how
the organization started, and how families in need can apply for a home in the area.
We were introduced to the Project Manager, who gave us a quick tour of the one floor
home and the ideas for each room.
He then broke us into smaller groups of three and four with an assigned professional.
We got a quick safety course on using the electric saw, and each one of us did a test
run with a piece of wood. I wasn’t sure if I was ready, but I took it head-on!
Two groups were focusing on creating support beams, another two groups focusing on
building the walls and the last group completing the siding in the back of the home.
People always mention that Boland is a family-oriented business, and I really saw first hand evidence of that. I was grouped with two sisters who work together at Boland, Lisa Sweeney and Cindy Roland, and our assigned Professional Leader, John.
Our job was to create support beams for the wall that was being put together by other
groups. As we were working, we saw that not only were out tasks physically challenging, but mentally challenging as a team as well. We learned to depend on each other, and to be in constant communication.
One of my favorite things to do was getting to take my turn to measure, and screw support beams into the ceiling where the wall was going to be. As one team member was measuring and screwing the beams in, another had to keep the ladder steady.
After working for quite some time, we took a lunch break and had a chance to chat with
the team to see how they were doing in the process. I watched the construction workers
on the roof, and thought to myself, “If I am already tired and it’s only 11:30 am, I can’t imagine how they feel at the end of the day.”
We walked back inside after eating, and I realized that the inside was starting to come
together! We had walls up, and you could begin to see the different rooms forming
together, and not just one big room. It was a great feeling, and I was even more motivated to get back to work with my team.
Before we left, we had the chance to write support and love messages on the wall to
wish the family good luck on their new home. We were all touched and felt like we were a part of that home because we helped build it.
Each inch of the home had a special place in our hearts and was very meaningful to
each of us. As I walked out of the house, I thought about the family and reaction they will have when they walk into their home for the first time.
I am grateful that Boland gives us opportunities like this to make an impact in our community!