Celebrating 40 years of homes, communities, and hope
FORTY YEARS OF…
We’re celebrating 40 years of SERVICE — including service to our communities through HabiCorps and AmeriCorps. HabiCorps graduate Edwin shares his story below, and hear from our sponsors and partners about why they support workforce development programs like HabiCorps. AmeriCorps service member Brandon shares his experience in a short video as we celebrate AmeriCorps Service Week.
Images, from the top: Edwin at his position with Ariosa & Company today; Edwin working with Dewalt power tools while in HabiCorps; Edwin and his graduating class pose together.
Fireproof Foundations – Edwin’s HabiCorps Story
As Habitat Chesapeake celebrates its 40th year of service, HabiCorps is also celebrating a milestone anniversary. The HabiCorps workforce development program, which offers training in the trades and construction to individuals experiencing barriers to employment in the Baltimore region, is now starting its fifth year. As a new cohort begins training, we can look back at some of our very first graduates, like Edwin.
“I always just wanted to get back into construction. I knew Habitat for Humanity and their scope, and it just inspired me even more. They brought a lot to the table [because] I’m trying to put a smile on somebody else’s face through the construction line of work,” says Edwin.
A Southern Maryland native, Edwin came to Baltimore with his wife and began seeking a new career path. “Before, I spent a lot of years unsure of a stable trade. I moved around a lot. I jumped from different employment to different employment, never really settling,” he said. He was referred to HabiCorps from Living Classrooms and found himself right at home. “It’s just like family, it’s a family-oriented program. They embrace you, like they’ve always known you.”
Edwin graduated from the very first HabiCorps class in 2017 and began working for Ariosa and Company. Since graduation, he also completed a 4-year apprenticeship program where he learned a multitude of skills in HVAC, plumbing, and electric, and became certified to install gas systems as well.
“I found this trade here to be my passion. I don’t know how or why it took so long, but here I am. I’m home right now, versus jumping in and out of different trades.”
This foundation of support would be critical when tragedy struck: several years ago, Edwin and his wife’s home in Baltimore city burned down. “We lost everything,” he says, reflecting back on that time.
Edwin’s determination didn’t waver; with support from his working family at Ariosa, Edwin is only looking forward to the future and his next steps. He recently earned his CDL permit, and hopes to earn his full license to begin driving trucks for Ariosa as well. He also wants to give back, and hopes he can work to ensure that the next generation of HabiCorps graduates has the tools and equipment they need to continue honing their craft.
“Everything happens for a reason,” he says. “I’m grateful for much; especially for Habitat for Humanity and their openness, honesty, patience, and love.”
Habitat Chesapeake is grateful to be working with such an incredible community, year after year, and we look forward to expanding our family in the years to come. To learn more about HabiCorps, visit habitatchesapeake.org/habicorps.
Thank you to our AmeriCorps service members who make our mission possible. From managing volunteers to helping us onsite, AmeriCorps lends critical support as we build homes and connect with communities. Learn more about the AmeriCorps experience at Habitat Chesapeake from Brandon and Mina here!