5 Years: Happy HabiCorps Reunion!

HabiCorps, Habitat Chesapeake’s groundbreaking workforce development program, hosted its first-ever bowling reunion this past March, with alumni from the past 5 years of graduates as well as instructors and Habitat staff in attendance. Among the crash of bowling pins, alumni were able to catch up and reminisce about their time in the program as well as talk about where they’re headed.

Rick, a former instructor for the program, now flips houses and enjoys running his own business. Kristen, the program manager, racked up points alongside alumni and staff. Gary, a current instructor for the program, offered tips and tricks for better bowling technique. Dorian, a 2017-2018 HabiCorps alumnus, also joined the fun, and showed off his bowling skills alongside David, another HabiCorps alumnus. “It was great,” said Dorian, who was just a teenager when he completed the program.

A common question between alumni was whether they were a part of the program pre- or post-pandemic; the sudden 2020 COVID outbreak temporarily changed the look and feel of the HabiCorps program, but it didn’t deter graduates from learning skills they could apply to new career paths. The HabiCorps program includes skills training in construction, carpentry, and similar trades, and also recently added landscaping and property maintenance to the program. By learning concrete skills in construction and the trades, alumni are better prepared to apply for careers in those fields or pursue apprenticeships or further education, supported by an education grant awarded once they complete the program.

These skills are taught by instructors in a hands-on setting, often at Habitat homes alongside volunteers and future homebuyers. By working in Habitat homes, HabiCorps members contribute to the dream of a first-time homebuyer, while also gaining skills and experience in the process. HabiCorps trainees also have the opportunity to engage in professional development and career preparation to build soft skills for the workplace.

Taylor, who graduated in the summer of 2021, said she was “excited” about the next few months and the opportunities she planned to pursue. Many of her classmates expressed similar sentiments at the 2021 graduation last summer, where HabiCorps members and staff were joined by partners from Aerotek to celebrate.

Partners like Aerotek make HabiCorps possible – learn more about their commitment to workforce development programs and HabiCorps’ impact in this video. Also learn about Edwin, a HabiCorps alumnus from the very first HabiCorps trainee cohort, who graduated the program and went on to apprentice and work for a local Baltimore business and expand his skill repertoire with even higher hopes for the future. Read his story and look at photos of HabiCorps from across the years on our 40th Anniversary webpage now!

 

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About Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake

Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake (www.habitatchesapeake.org) brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Since 1982, Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake has built more than 780 homes in 19 communities, providing a brighter future for 2,700 children and family members. Homeownership is proven to transform lives – improving health, increasing children’s chances of academic success and offering an opportunity to build wealth across generations. Likewise, homeownership enhances neighborhoods by bringing tangible investment, engaged, long-term residents, rising property values and a sense of community.

Above: 2021 HabiCorps graduate Taylor bowls alongside other alumni, instructors, and Habitat staff. Below: The current cohort of HabiCorps trainees celebrated AmeriCorps week alongside our AmeriCorps service members just last week. Read about AmeriCorps and how their service helps Habitat’s mission here!

Attention Habitat homeowners and Applicants: We hope you and your loved ones are all safe and well! While we have suspended in-person meetings at this time due to social distancing recommendations, we are still here to serve you and answer questions you may have. Whether you are in the application process or an existing homeowner, our Homeowner Services staff is here to assist. Currently, the best way to reach us is to call our main office line at 410-366-1250 (9am-5pm) and follow our updated directory. These calls are being forwarded to our staff who are working remotely- if they are on another call or unable to answer please leave a voicemail and provide as much information as possible, including a good call back number and/or email address to reach you. Please feel free to email us for the quickest return time.

Applicants or Program Inquiries: mdubois@habitatchesapeake.org

Existing Habitat Homeowners: rtilghman@habitathchesapeake.org