Alums, juniors work on FrogHouse
Annual event helps one Fort Worth family get into a new Habitat for Humanity Home.
by Rick Waters '95
Updated: Tuesday, March 23, 2010
TCU alumni and members of the junior class worked together Friday and Saturday on a Habitat for Humanity house in southeast Fort Worth. (Photos by Glen E. Ellman)
Bad weather was looming, but the work continued. Good thing there were extra pairs of hands.
Day 8 of construction at 3132 Evangeline Road, site of the junior class's Habitat for Humanity House, was nearly perfect. Sunshine was plentiful, but it wasn't ungodly hot. Conversation and laughter helped break up the tedium of pounding nails or sawing boards. A dozen or so TCU alumni had shown up to lend a hand. And the three-bedroom, two-bath structure was starting to take shape.
Frame was completed. Sheetrock set. Today, the siding was going up.
But by late Friday afternoon, cold and rain were barreling from the west and had the potential to derail the progress.
"We'll just worry about that tomorrow," said Trae Dickerson, junior psychology major from Texarkana who is one of the student leaders on the project.
It began in August, as it has done the last four years, with the junior class meeting to plan with Habitat for Humanity. Over the fall and winter, the group raise more than $30,000 for construction materials. Construction began in March. April 27 is the scheduled dedication.
The 1,200-square-foot house in southeast Fort Worth near the Forest Hill border will then be owned by Alex and Katherine Vazquez and their two children, Isabel and Sebastian. The couple have been longing to escape undesirable living conditions at an apartment complex.
"We've lived with ignored maintenance requests and we fear for the safety our our kids," Katherine said. "Alex and I both grew up in broken families. We were having to move all the time and we never had a chance to plant roots and build relationships with the community. We feel like we can have that here. We're so very grateful."
Both Alex and Katherine work and are attending school, but both have found time to help out with construction, which is a Habitat requirement.
Having help from TCU alumni is a welcome sight for the juniors, but they're used to it as Habitat volunteers drop by for work hours at a time.
"This is my favorite Alumni Association event every year," said Susan McInnis '67, the coordinator for TCU's Fort Worth Alumni Board Volunteer Network. "The teamwork that is required to pull this off is amazing to watch. I enjoy seeing the students and alums working side by side. It's TCU giving back directly to the community."
As in previous years, about 30 alums filled up six shifts over two days.
But ownership of the project begins and ends with the student, and each has their own reasons for being involved.
"To be ethical leaders like our mission statement says," says Kelvin Chen, an entrepreneurial studies major from China. "It's just doing what we say we're supposed to be doing."
Dickerson just likes getting his hands dirty.
"I like it because it is a step beyond just making a donation," he said. "You have to raise funds and put in some sweat equity. You actually get to see a difference being made in someone's life."
Gisella Haidar, an economics major from Argentina, says she wants to make her new home – Fort Worth – a better place.
"I like to help benefit the community. It gives me meaning and a purpose," she said.