“My name is Hannah Burton and I am currently a freshman at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. I began an extraordinary journey in Eustis, Florida, on January 15, 2023. I had the chance to volunteer at Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter for two weeks with a few of my classmates. We had the opportunity to provide service in Eustis, Mascotte, Fruitland Park, and Leesburg, four cities in Lake County.
We painted an entire house’s outside as a group, added siding to two other homes, tore apart one’s interior to begin the process of a fresh new start, and constructed a house from nothing more than a pad of cement, complete with walls and a roof.
Being able to connect to the individuals we are helping is what made this experience so unique. The stories of their journeys, the reasons why they needed our assistance, and their gratitude for having us here made working so much more rewarding. I personally want to go into the public service once I graduate from college which made this an amazing opportunity to discover what real recovery work is like.
This journey has been enlightening, humbling, and a great opportunity for friendship-building with people I might not have otherwise met. By interacting and speaking with the homeowners, supervisors, and volunteers, I have gained more knowledge about poverty, privilege, and gratitude. Overall, I never planned for the impact this experience would have for me and a bit of my heart will always remain in Lake County, Florida.” – Hannah
Hannah is one of 36 students that came with Cadet Group A from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. The cadets, along with Seniors and their Instructors, worked hard throughout the week doing building, repairing, and rehabbing sites in Eustis, Wildwood, Mascotte, and Clermont. During their two week stay, they framed walls, secured trusses, and put up plywood at a new construction site in Eustis. For their Preservation and Repair projects, cadets installed siding and windows at a site in Wildwood and rehabbed the flooring and assisted with wiring and plumbing to add to the renovation process in Mascotte.
Aside from all of their incredible industriousness, the cadets also got to have fun on trips to Universal and visited the historic sites in St Augustine too. After one of their workdays, the Lake County Emergency Operations Center was generous enough to give the cadets a tour of their facility. This gave the cadets a real world look at the true scale and capabilities of a county EOC. At the end of their time here, the community came together with the Knights of Columbus, a charitable organization that has been working closely with Habitat Lake-Sumter, providing a cookout lunch for the cadets to thank them for all of their hard work.
To learn more about our volunteer opportunities, reach out to Carlos@HabitatLS.org or 352-483-0434 ext. 119