Fort Collins Team Partners With Habitat for Humanity
Here at Newton, we love coming to work every day and we are passionate about what we do. However, we recognize that a great job is just one of many aspects that make up a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. As such, our team has a multitude of passions and interests that we pursue outside of the office. One passion that is widely shared amongst all Newton employees is philanthropy. We believe in the importance of uplifting the communities where we live and work by providing a helping hand to those in need. For this reason, engaging in community outreach and service opportunities is an integral part of our workplace culture and one that we draw great pride from.
Although our team may be small, and work is non-stop, we refuse to let that stop us from making a positive impact on our communities. Our most recent outreach initiative was carried out by our team in Fort Collins, Colorado on Tuesday, May 10th. The event was organized by our Director of Engineering, Nathaniel Hazelton, in partnership with Fort Collins’ Habitat for Humanity.
Below is our Q&A with Nathaniel where he provides some context about the event and information about how the day went:
How did you get involved with Habitat for Humanity and what has your experience with them been like?
When I was in college, I enrolled in a public service class and part of the curriculum was to volunteer for 80 hours. We had a selection of organizations to choose from to complete the service and one option was Habitat for Humanity. I chose Habitat for Humanity because it sounded like an awesome opportunity and an interesting way to get involved in the community. Every Saturday, I went to a Habitat for Humanity work site and helped to build affordable housing options for members of the community. It was a great college experience and one that has stuck with me throughout the years.
After graduating, I didn’t volunteer with Habitat for Humanity again until about 6 or 7 years ago. While I was working for Intel, they hosted several community service days, and these ended up being one of my favorite aspects about working there. When we did a Habitat build day, I thought: If I ever get an opportunity to organize an event like this, I am definitely going to do it. This was my motivation for bringing the Fort Collins team out to this Habitat for Humanity project.
Outside of your background with the organization, why did you end up choosing to partner with Habitat for Humanity?
Outside of my background with the organization, I really believe in what they stand for. Everybody should have access to affordable housing. Habitat for Humanity gives people the opportunity to access affordable housing with dignity. They also allow the local community to take action, get their hands dirty, and make a difference. It is a unique kind of service opportunity.
Additionally, a team build day is a great way for us to get out of the office and work on a project outside of our everyday work environment. Construction is a far cry from what people are used to normally doing, especially our team made up of engineers and developers. It’s fascinating though, over the years, I have realized that this kind of work is something that technical teams tend to identify with and end up really enjoying.
How did you go about organizing and promoting the event?
I contacted the volunteer coordinator at the Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity directly. I let him know that I had a group of 10 people who were interested in doing community service and asked him what days would work best for them. He suggested a Tuesday, which is usually one of their slower volunteer days, and set it up. It was an easy process.
Promoting the event across our organization was also incredibly easy with the help of Paycor “Community Partners”. They sent me a questionnaire inquiring about the build day and someone on their side published an article about the service opportunity to all Paycor employees. This was great for drawing attention to our cause. Paycor runs a friendly service competition where employees get badges for donating to service events. This promotion and awareness drove several Paycor employees to donate to Habitat for Humanity. It was great seeing how supportive and engaged Paycor was in the event.
How did the event go? What did the team accomplish during the day?
The build day was awesome! The entire team had an outstanding time and we left with a great sense of accomplishment. As a team, we finished off the framing and sheathing for the entire first floor of a two-story duplex. Looking back, the amount of work we got done is pretty incredible.
The Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity chapter did a great job organizing the event. There is an official foreman who manages the site, and then a “sub-foreman” who is more in charge of managing the volunteers. The sub-foreman helps to explain what needs to get done and organizes volunteers accordingly.
There are tricks for staying busy throughout the day. When you complete a task, ask the sub-foreman for guidance. If the sub-foreman is not available,there are always some experienced volunteers present that are willing to guide you as well. This is one cool thing about Habitat for Humanity – you do have some freedom in how you complete your work. At times leaders will ask you for help on a side project. For example, a group from our team was working on one section of the duplex, sheathing, while another group of Newton employees was working on another side of the house doing house wrap.
Favorite part of the day
My favorite part of the day was seeing how engrossed the team became with the event. The interesting thing about technical folks is everybody just wants to put their heads down and get to work, whatever that work is, so everybody worked really hard, and we got a ton of work done.
I definitely want to keep up with our community outreach efforts going forward on a continuous basis. Everybody really enjoyed the build day so I would like to keep doing it. Now that we all know the general workflow of these build days, they will be even more enjoyable and easier to plan on a recurring basis. It will be a great way to get to know new people on the team, as well.
Furthermore, I’m going to see if the team members here in Fort Collins have other ideas about different forms of outreach that we can complete. The awesome thing about community service is that there are so many great organizations that offer unique opportunities to make a positive impact on our community.
More Information on Habitat for Humanity
The Habitat for Humanity Fort Collins Branch is an affiliate of the Habitat for Humanity International organization, a global, non-profit housing organization that is:
“dedicated to eliminating substandard housing in the Fort Collins area and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. Habitat for Humanity was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, durable place to live in dignity and safety, and that decent shelter in decent communities should be a matter of conscience and action for all.”
The Fort Collins Habitat branch practices a “hand-up, not a hand-out” policy. Through their program, they allow eligible homeowners access to housing by providing them with a 0% interest loan and monthly mortgage payments that do not exceed 30% of their income. Habitat homeowners also save a down payment and contribute up to 500 hours of “sweat equity” in the building of their home and at the ReStore, a retail outlet that reclaims items and sells them at reduced prices. The revenue from the ReStore drives the construction of more homes.
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