|Mark and Anad (Photo by Sarah)|
On Saturday, August 20, seven members of Humanists of Rhode Island converged on a construction site located at 38 Burnside St in Providence to help Habitat for Humanity build a house for a family in our community. In addition to myself (Steve) there was Sarah, Dan, Mark, Anad, Julia and Jess. We worked all day in both the hot sun and the drizzling rain, New England weather being what it is. By the end of a day of hard work we were all sweaty, tired messes, but we were also energized because we had done something great. We had worked to improve the lives of others.
Arriving at the site I surprised to see a group of fifteen or so candles and one or two empty vodka bottles arranged outside the construction site. Upon meeting Bob, one of the other volunteers at the site, I was informed that there had been a murder at that location one year ago. Building a house on that site took on added import to me at that point: we were reclaiming a place of tragedy as a place for hope.
I was pleased to meet Anad, a wonderful person who said that she wasn't sure that she was a Humanist, but was intrigued by the good work we were doing. What a compliment to our efforts, because being a Humanist is about helping our fellow humans and Anad realized that.
It was wonderful to work with Sarah, who took great photos of the event, and my brother Mark, who is fearless on the scaffolding and ladders. My nieces, Julia and Jessica helped out as well, showing that they are not little girls, but young women strong enough to do anything I could do, and better as well. There was also my friend Dan, a lawyer with a theater background in set construction. I never realized how adept he was with tools before this day.
It made me realize that we all have hidden strengths and talents, and that if we can just figure out ways to tap into them, we'll truly be able to transform the world.
Our next Habitat Volunteer effort will be on September 24, at 38 Burnside again. I hope to see you there. Click the link to sign up, or just show up if you're so inclined.