Students help Habitats for Humanity rebuild lives

Laughter fills the room coming from Justina Fasano and Gracen Kenney, two volunteers at the Habitat for Humanity Society.
“It makes me feel good to help out the people,” said Fasano. “It’s the thought of helping others that gives me that great feeling making me want to come back every week.”
Fasano and Kenney, both sophomores, are volunteers who devote 3 to 4 hours of their free time doing housekeeping duties and stocking shelves for the Habitat for Humanity every Saturday. Habitat for Humanity helps construct homes that have been destroyed after disasters, are involved in economic issues, and or for the homeless. Kenney and Fasano are not 16 yet, so they don’t have the opportunity to travel across the world to contribute as they hope to do one day.
The time spent helping others together, has enhanced the two girls’ friendship.
“Being with Justina makes my time more enjoyable,” Kenney said. “Sharing this helps our friendship and the community, which is a plus.”
The unique experiences the girls share while volunteering has developed the girls’ friendship into one that is special and will last forever.
“It gives me the motivation to do more and pushes me to be a better person,” Fasano said.
Their kindness of the two friends has not only affected them, but also all of the people that their kindness extends to.
“The warm sense of pride in my heart when I volunteer really gets to me after I’m done,” said Kenney. “It becomes a realization of how thankful and blessed I am.”
Sometimes people aren’t aware of things that are happening in their own community. It brings joy to people’s heart to see that teenagers have this urge to do a random act of kindness. For the two of them, it isn’t a house chore. It’s enjoyment.
Paul Hochendoner, operation manager at the Habitat for Humanity, is very pleased to see the girls walk in every Saturday. Southmoreland doesn’t require a certain criteria of community service, but the girls devote their free time to the community more than the time they spend on their social lives.
“It’s quite amazing to see girls who freely give back to the area without even being asked,” said Hochendoner.
The number of people giving up their time is not as many as they would like. Due to the few number of volunteers, Fasano and Kenney are the youngest and some of the most persistent of them all. They had reached out to the Habitat for Humanity in the end of September and are still continuing to provide their time to them. The girls are asked to do simple tasks such as stalking shelves and testing light bulbs. The little work may seem small, but it does help the community more than they may realize. Habitat for Humanity has affected many lives, and the small warehouse in Greensburg makes all the difference too.
“I had a lady come in the store recently,” said Hochendoner. “She told me ‘Thank you, I wouldn’t be able to afford these blinds if it wasn’t for this place.’ Blinds don’t come across as much too some, but we were able to give someone something who could never afford it before.”
The appreciation of their time makes all their volunteer work even more worth it. The two girls don’t see it as chore, but more of a hobby to share together.
“You always see them laughing together,” said Hochendoner. “That’s when you know they enjoy it which is quite amazing.”
Kenney and Fasano’s friendship is unlike any other.
“We both have similar goals which contribute to bettering ourselves every day,” said Fasano.
They plan to keep making each other better and to continue their volunteer work at the Habitat for Humanity.
“Were making a difference together,” said Kenney, “and still having fun.”

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