Teaming Up to Make an Impact

Teaming up to make an impact in the community, Eileen Lee and Matthew Books (ITLDP Class of 2014) share their experience working with Habitat for Humanity in Lambertville, NJ

Habitat for Humanity is an international organization headquartered in Georgia that builds affordable homes for low-income families around the world. The Raritan Valley chapter is among several affiliates within New Jersey and serves the local Somerset and Hunterdon counties allowing locals to give back to the community. Volunteers in this chapter have built 48 homes since 1994, and on Friday, October 24, a group of Johnson & Johnson’s ITLDP members joined the efforts of helping out.

As we stood out in the mud and cool morning air, just off of Belvedere Avenue in Lambertville New Jersey at 8:30 am, 14 members of the ITLDP Class of 2013 and 2014 awaited their safety brief from the facilitators of Habitat for Humanity. Before we began working, we were introduced to the father and daughter that would be taking ownership of the house once it was completed. We were informed that they are required by Habitat to provide some “sweat equity” hours to help build the house. The facilitators also pointed out all the other houses in the area that had been built from volunteer work creating a “Habitat neighborhood” within the town. Seeing all the houses that were built from pure volunteer work was amazing and truly shows the impact of volunteer work and Habitat for Humanity.

Though uncertain of what would be in store for us throughout the day, we could tell it was going to be a busy and dirty day. Even though the house had its foundation and framing up as well as the eco-friendly foam insulation on the outside of the house (which will help cut down on energy costs for the new home owners), there was still a lot of work to be completed. Our facilitators Adam, Dave and Tom were there to assist us in whatever project we were tasked with during the day.
By: Eileen Lee and Matthew Books

The prior rainy days before our arrival left the front of the house a mud pit. We started off by moving all of the tools out of the way, laying gravel down to cover up the mud and flipping over wet scaffold boards. After our team effort to make the site safer and easier to walk, we began separating into different groups. Items we accomplished throughout the day were:
– Front Porch Roof / Fascia
– Roof work
– Staged for shingle installation
– Taped window frames
– Installed windows
– Dug 3 feet holes for cement footings to support a side porch

After a rewarding day of work on the job site, we all walked away knowing that we helped a family in need. Having the opportunity to work alongside the father and daughter was a great experience to directly see who would benefit from our efforts. Our day of volunteering concluded, and we walked away from the build site with a stronger sense of purpose, a stronger bond between each other, and the feeling of satisfaction knowing that we were able to help move this home into the next phase of construction. In the end, it was really about making an impact in the community; this is what Habitat for Humanity does in an amazing way. To get involved with this great cause, please go on the website: www.habitat.org to find a local chapter. A liaison will walk you through all the steps to volunteer. From individuals to corporate outings, Habitat for Humanity will work with anyone who is willing and able to help give families a new home, and hope. This is why working with Habitat for Humanity was so important to us, we were able to give back to the community and truly be able to live the Johnson and Johnson Credo to the fullest by giving back and taking care of our customers first, the people around the area.

About the authors:
Matthew Books is a 2014 Drexel Graduate in his first rotation working in Application Services supporting Our Source in New Brunswick, NJ
Eileen Lee is a 2014 Princeton graduate in her first rotation of ITLDP supporting the Application Services Reporting and Metrics team in Raritan, NJ.