Zoe Kloth, a senior environmental studies major from Pickens, S.C., rolls cheerful blue paint on a Habitat for Humanity house on Pierpont Avenue in Spartanburg, about a mile from her Wofford College campus home. Splotches of paint stain her jeans, arms and hands, but nothing it seems can wipe the smile from her face.
"This is fun," says Kloth, a first-time Habitat volunteer, who admits she was intimidated at first. "I've never done this before, but I wanted to do it really well because it's going to be someone's home."
Kloth, who is a member of the Wofford Rifle Team, begins an eight-year commitment with the Army following graduation. She says she particularly likes the hands-on nature of Habitat for Humanity work.
"I'm also hoping to pick up some skills so maybe I can remodel my own home someday," she says.
Also working on the home on the warm March day were Wofford sophomores from Spartanburg, S.C., Gabby Boniface, a biology and Spanish major, and Rachel Dean, a Spanish major with a business economics minor. Although also new to Habitat work, Boniface is one of the few volunteers with some experience.
"My dad is super into do it yourself, so my brother and I are used to helping with stuff like this," she says. "Still I've learned a lot today. I know now what it takes to qualify for a Habitat house. Each homeowner has to put in at least 250 hours of sweat equity."
Dean signed up to help as a way to help fulfill her Bonner Scholar service commitment.
"Missy Joyner, the college's Vista/AmeriCorps representative, is always telling us about opportunities to serve through Habitat," she says. "It's amazing that 90 percent of the work on the house will be completed by volunteers."
"I show them how then let them do it," says Jeff Brockman, Habitat construction site manager for the house on Pierpont Avenue. "The people who volunteer have fun. They want to be here and even work in the rain."
Cole McCarty, a Wofford senior business economics major from Lexington, Ky., answered the call to work on the house after reading a note in the Wofford Daily Announcements.
"I did similar work in Honduras last May," says McCarty. "Wofford has a group called Friends Helping Honduras that goes and builds schools and clinics. I mixed concrete, moved bricks and did things to build a foundation. The painting we're doing on the Habitat house, however, is new to me."
The Wofford students helping with the Habitat build called the experience fun, rewarding and a worthwhile way to spend an afternoon.
"We also meet lots of great people from the community," says Kloth.
The house on Pierpont Avenue is being sponsored and built by Publix with the help of volunteers from across the Upstate community.
For more information or to get involved with Habitat, contact Joyner at 864-597-4405 or firstname.lastname@example.org.