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Opinion: Nonprofit work offers way to do something, understand others
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Copper Glen is a community off Baker Road with several Habitat for Humanity of Hall County homes. - photo by Scott Rogers

Most of the letters The Times has published recently addressing the racial divide in this country contain the same vague ideas of how to heal this seemingly endless open wound. 

"We must learn to listen, we need to understand each other better, we need to get more actively involved, we need to work together," etc. (you get the idea.) All admirable platitudes but noticeably missing any specific or concrete suggestions as to how to achieve these noble goals.

To that end, I have a perfect example of how to achieve all those goals and more. It's simple and fun: Get your self out to a Habitat for Humanity of Hall County build site and you will see every one of the aforementioned ideas in real time.

I am a volunteer leader and have worked on the last 23 homes Habitat has built in Hall County. Guess what? Seventeen of those homes were built for minority homeowner partners, many of whom are single mothers. We have built a home for a family from Cameroon and a home for a family from Myanmar. Volunteers work right alongside the families and get to know their situations and learn the hardships they have endured. 

We sweat with them, freeze with them, eat lunch with them and share their joy the day they move in. Not only are the families diverse, volunteers come from almost every demographic you can think of. Habitat is color/race blind. It is a model for how our society should look.

Take away: If you really want to help the problem, not just talk about it, Habitat (or virtually any nonprofit) will help you on that path. You will find that families in safe and affordable housing are happier, healthier, more successful and are better citizens and members of their community.

Try it once. Worst case, you still get a T-shirt and sometimes even a free lunch.

Tom Reiter


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