Over the past 9 weeks, Habitat Lake-Sumter hosted a summer-long volunteer experience for teens from across the United States. Through a new program in partnership with the Humanitarian Experience for Youth or HEFY, we greeted a new group of 16 student volunteers each week with the goal of providing much needed clean-up and repairs for families throughout Lake and Sumter Counties.
HEFY’s mission is to change lives through sustainable service, to impart the importance of volunteering and encourage growth in every individual during the process. As we close out the program, Habitat Lake-Sumter wants to share all the awesome work accomplished by HEFY volunteers this summer.
During their time in Florida, HEFY completed more than 25 projects throughout Leesburg, Clermont, Mascotte, Wildwood, and Mt. Dora, Florida. Each group took on projects that included exterior clean-up, pressure washing, painting, landscaping and minor repairs in homes and community buildings, including campgrounds, community centers, and even the President’s Hall of Fame in Clermont!
Habitat Lake-Sumter’s goal through the HEFY program is to partner with neighborhood advocates and families to uplift individual homes and communities. One homeowner, Donna, explained the sense of pride she feels in her home again.
“The kids were awesome – every group that came out was equally awesome and motivated to help. They worked hard and did more than I could ever do on my own. My son and I are once again able to enjoy the outside of our home – my son can play in the yard again! The impact the exterior clean-up made may seem small, but it makes a big difference.”
As we say goodbye to our final group of volunteers, Habitat Lake-Sumter’s staff members reflect on the summer.
“It has been an honor to see so many young individuals pull together each week to work towards a common goal – uplifting others. Each week they immersed themselves into communities across our two counties and helped many people that Habitat Lake-Sumter would not have been able to reach without their dedication and service. Each HEFY group was unique and made up of people from all around the country who wanted to make a difference – I am glad Habitat Lake-Sumter could provide that opportunity for an upcoming generation of leaders” – Veronica, Family Services Manager
“We look forward to hosting HEFY groups in the future to offer a hand-up to families and communities throughout our service area.” – Carlos, Volunteer Director