WFU Student-Athletes Give Back Through Habitat for Humanity
Wake Forest student-athletes dedicated time to build a Habitat House

Oct. 18, 2011

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By Krista Brown, WakeForestSports.com

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Throughout this semester Wake Forest student-athletes have been working with Habitat for Humanity to build houses in Winston-Salem. Seven WFU athletic teams have volunteered to work on several houses on Trent Hill Drive. Men's and women's basketball, baseball, and the track & field teams have already dedicated a Saturday morning to helping build a Habitat house. Later on this month the women's tennis and men's golf teams will participate with the women's golf team lending a hand to Habitat in early November. The seven participating teams are the most Wake Forest has had work on a Habitat house.

Some of the student-athletes found deeper meaning in building a Habitat house that went far beyond the playing fields and courts to which they are accustomed. The men's basketball actually got to meet the family and sophomore center, Carson Desrosiers felt that made the Habitat event even more special.

"Meeting the family that was actually going to live in the house was kind of a cool experience," said Desrosiers, "It made us think that we can't sit around or goof around. We're building this for that family. It made us work that much harder.

"We literally just impacted somebody's life and you can't say that with too many things nowadays."

While the satisfaction that comes from giving back to the community is obvious, Ty Walker also felt that the community service project could help the Deacons on the court.

"Doing things like Habitat for Humanity gives you a chance to spend time with your teammates outside of school or outside of the basketball courts," the seven-foot senior center said, "Just being able to hang out with them and build team chemistry is definitely helpful."

Building a Habitat house has not only given the teams a chance to give back to the community but has also taught the student-athletes skills that most of them have probably never had to use before.

"Some of these athletes have never even held a hammer in their hand before," said the CHAMPS and Life Skills Coordinator, Julie Griffin, "It's interesting to walk in and see athletes running a saw, or hammering, or up on the roof. They're doing all kind of things."

Wake Forest in conjunction with the Medical center has sponsored a Habitat house for several years and several teams have found it beneficial to volunteer multiple years. For instance, men's baseball and track and field has participated three times, while men's basketball, women's tennis, and women's golf have each participated twice. Griffin hopes the participation will continue to grow as she believes this is one of most beneficial community service opportunities for student-athletes.

"You're doing something for a wonderful organization. They provide housing for people who are working toward getting a house. I think that one of the best community service projects you can do is something like that."

Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller as a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry with the mission of "seeking to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action." In order to accomplish its mission, Habitat "invites people of all backgrounds, races, and religions to build houses together in partnerships with families in need."

In the last 35 years, Habitat has built more than 400,000 houses and served over 2 million people not only in the United States, but also in Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity or if you would like volunteer or donate to Habitat visit www.habitat.org or call 1-800-422-4828.

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