Ground breaking for West Chester University’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity’s first sponsored home is scheduled to begin on Monday April 21, an accomplishment that the organization has been working towards for the past three years. Since it will take a few days to dig the initial hole for the foundation, student volunteers won’t start building until April 24. Before the end of the semester there are six scheduled building dates. The Habitat house, located on Poplar Street, is projected to be completed within a year.
To sponsor a Habitat house, it costs $80,000. “There was no way WCU chapter alone could finance this requirement, and we needed the support beyond the campus to make this happen,” said Jacqui Petock, the chapter’s president
The chapter made contact with local organizations and churches with the idea of creating a coalition, going in together to support a house. “We feel that this is a great way for students to directly help our West Chester community and allows them the opportunity to truly work with and form a bond with the community by allowing them to build side by side with community members,” Petock said.
They teamed up with eight local churches and together have raised most of the necessary funds to sponsor the house. Many fundraisers were held, including a spaghetti dinner, restaurant nights, concerts, bake sales and sunglass sales. The goal of their coalition is to create a continual process of sponsoring houses with the community.
This accomplishment of the West Chester chapter has come as a result of the hard work and dedication by the organization’s leaders and members. Over the past three years, the group has grown in size to about 150 members. They went from holding one or two events a year to holding up to five in one month.
The chapter strives to be active members in the community.
“We truly try to provide a well-rounded opportunity for our members, ranging from education, fundraisers, socials and volunteering. Even when we were unable to provide build dates to work on a house to our members we provided community service projects for them to impact the community around them,” said Petock.
Activities that they have participated in this year include “Philly Cares Day,” Adopt-a-Block, renovating a rehabilitation center for women in Chester County and making lunches for a local food bank.
“Next year, we have even more build dates, volunteering opportunities and large fundraising events to truly promote our message and mission on campus to all students,” said Petock.
“I think the greatest attribute of Habitat for Humanity is passion. Passion to server for others, make a difference, to impact our community, build friendships, hopes and homes,” Petock said.
Petock has been involved with the West Chester chapter for the past three years. She has also held the position secretary and participated in a service trip to Florida to build a home. Next year she will serve as the volunteer coordinator between the chapter and the coalition of community organizations.
The chapter hopes to continue expanding its presence on campus as well as strengthen its mission within the community.
Stephanie Lytle is a third-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at SL607914@wcupa.edu.