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University Communications

January 15, 2010

I Have a Dream: La Salle Students Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity on MLK Day and Help a Woman’s Dream Become a Reality

A group of La Salle University students will spend Martin Luther King Day volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. Their work on a house in Germantown will help one local woman realize a lifelong dream—a home to call her own.

The La Salle students will spend the day priming and painting the house’s interior. “Although I’ve done other service projects in the past, I am really excited to be volunteering on MLK Day,” said La Salle senior Meg Weiss. “It really puts King’s legacy into perspective because his mission was so deeply rooted in service to others.”

The Church Lane house is the result of a unique partnership between Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia, La Salle University, and Interfaith Houses for Habitat. La Salle purchased the house, donated it to Habitat Philadelphia, and Interfaith Houses for Habitat raised the money for the renovation. When the house is completed in April, volunteers from each of the partner organizations will have put in countless hours turning the run-down house, which Habitat refers to as a “gut-rehab project,” into a home for Nykia Reid and her family. In addition to La Salle students, a group of alumni will volunteer next month.

“Habitat is thrilled with the opportunity to collaborate with La Salle and Interfaith Houses in this unique partnership,” said Corinne O’Connell, Director of Development and Communication for Habitat Philadelphia. “We commend La Salle in its commitment to helping the local community and neighbors. La Salle’s donation helps one more Philadelphian achieve the dream of home ownership.”

The Church Lane project represents the 143rd affordable home built by Habitat Philadelphia. Habitat partners with low-income working families who invest 350 hours of sweat equity both in the classroom taking financial literacy classes and on Habitat construction projects. Upon completion of their 350 hours, partner families purchase their home with a zero-interest mortgage from Habitat Philadelphia.

According to O’Connell, the house will be as energy-efficient and environmentally friendly as possible. The house will have low-VOC paints, bamboo floors, low-flow toilets, and Energy-Star appliances and windows. In addition to these products’ environmental impact, they will keep the house’s energy usage down, making energy bills more manageable for Reid.

“This house is more than just brick and mortar,” said O’Connell. “This is a life-changing opportunity for the homeowners—this will be their home.”