Residents of Lakewood Ranch's Lake Club community come together to build for Habitat for Humanity.
In case you didn’t notice, giving back is sort of a big deal around here. There are giving circles and galas, foundations and fundraisers galore. It’s one of the things that makes this area vibrant, generous and community-oriented.
Yet in a place where giving back often means enjoying a few drinks and making a donation (and don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that), we learned about a group that got to work helping others by doing just that — work.
A group of residents in The Lake Club (or TLC, as they refer to themselves) took on a big initiative recently: building two houses in Habitat for Humanity Sarasota’s new development. The Hammock Place neighborhood in Sarasota is a first for the local Habitat organization. In addition to its usual infill projects, it is creating an affordable housing community of 40 single-family homes all made by Habitat and its volunteers.
When Lake Club resident Jay Traverso discovered the project, he got to work. First, he solicited sponsorships from builders. After getting Stock Signature Homes to commit, he turned to his neighbors for help. He literally went door to door to ask who would pitch in and come build the homes.
You’ll find the tale of that effort in this issue. What we don’t say in the story is what struck me as most remarkable: Here are residents from one of the ritziest developments in Lakewood Ranch, donning hard hats to build foundations and erect walls.
It would have been so much easier to write a check — and most of these people likely could afford to — but instead they gave what Habitat calls “sweat equity” to the project, often working alongside the people who would eventually live in the homes, because a certain number of hours of “sweat equity” is required of the eventual homeowners as well.
How cool is that?
In addition to doing something good, the TLC residents talked about the new skills they learned while working on the project (like operating a jigsaw), the fun they had (like break times catered by other TLC neighbors) and the bonds they built with one another.
Their work on these two homes is finished, but now TLC neighbors are looking for more hands-on volunteer projects to do.
Who knew that working to build someone else’s community could help strengthen your own?
Kat Hughes is executive editor of LWR Life.