April 7, 2006
EDITOR'S NOTE --- On Sunday, March 12, members of the Santa Clara women's soccer team traded in their cleats and shin guards for hard hats and hammers while participating in a Habitat for Humanity homebuilding project. Participating in this project were Katie Araujo, Marian Dalmy, Kendall Doherty, Tina Estrada, Kelly Giddings, Courtney Lewis, Meagan McCray, Casey Pleas, Danielle Potts, Tiffany Roberts, Julie Ryder, Carrie Schuler, Elyse Shelger and Hayley Siegel. The leader of this group outing, sophomore midfielder Brittany Klein, reflected on the team's homebuilding experience.
One day, after our team had worked out, we began talking about possible community service projects that we could get involved with as a team. The idea of volunteering with Habitat for Humanity was one that seemed to capture our team's attention. After agreeing that we would all participate in a Habitat for Humanity project, all that was left was to plan when and where it would take place. Soon enough, Habitat for Humanity was able to schedule us to help with a building site in San Jose.
Upon our arrival we found that we would be working on two separate sites where a few houses are being built for underprivileged families of four. The houses we volunteered to help build will ultimately take a total of about eight to nine months of construction to be complete.
For most of us on the team, this was the first time we had participated in a project of this nature. We really didn't know what to expect. Once we began working on the houses, we realized that we would have to be focused and would need to have the mindset to work hard for the entire four-hour shift.
Most of our assignments consisted of hammering nails. Marian, Tiff, Carrie and Tina bravely spent the day working ten feet above the ground while the rest of us hammered away and up vertical boards below. Hayley was quickly given the job of managing the power saw when the men in charge saw that she wasn't very compatible with the hammer. Dani aided Hayley with cutting out the windows. Meagan, Kelly, Kendall and I worked on one section of the house while Katie, Courtney, Ryder, Elyse and Casey worked on another.
Some of my teammates met a few of the family members that we were building the houses for. Being able to see and meet people who you are helping makes the experience that much more special, and it was obvious that my teammates were grateful to have met those individuals.
We are a very fortunate group of people, and by volunteering to take part in a Habitat for Humanity project, we were able to help the less fortunate. We realized how powerful of a group we can be off the field when we come together and extend our efforts to unfamiliar grounds which better the lives of others.