VITAC Volunteers: Habitat Build Day 2013


VITAC Habitat buildProviding accessible media for the deaf  and hard of hearing may be VITAC’s bread and butter, but that’s not the only way our 330+ employees are helping the community. Last Saturday, a crew of 15 VITAC employees, friends, and relatives convened in McKeesport, PA, for VITAC’s first annual Habitat for Humanity corporate build.

Despite traffic delays and detours, volunteers from nearly every department turned out bright and early on Saturday morning, ready to work hard and talk shop with their coworkers from across the aisle or across the state. Superstars/Realtime Captioners Jen Murray and Julie Layton came the furthest, braving five hours on the highways from eastern Pennsylvania to the Pittsburgh area for the build, but even the locals had to push through bad weather and road closures to make it to the cozy build site across the street from McKeesport High School.

The house, a charming three-bedroom with a basement and two baths, was the Julie and Jensame one sponsored by Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star outfielder Andrew McCutchen as part of the team’s promotion of local charitable causes. While the future hall-of-famer was not there, VITAC volunteers got to paint, garden, and laquer under the same roof as the center fielder.

Volunteers started the day by prepping the bedrooms for painting — brown for the master, red for the play room, and for the teenage daughter’s room — hot pink, obviously! The highlight of the morning was when the future homeowners themselves showed up to help, though they had long ago completed the volunteer hours that Habitat requires of homeowners-to-be. They were all very appreciative of VITAC’s help and just about outworked all of us over the course of the day!

Everyone contributed heroically to the 4-5 hour task of renovation (still in progress), and the project took on a life of its own. Though the agenda included only painting and drywall installation, the volunteers gravitated towards their areas of expertise, and by the end of the day, VITAC had checked the following off its bucket list: weeding, lacquering, removing doors, scraping decals from windows, stripping paint from the back porch, mastering the shrinking-garden-hose technology, and leaving behind a cozy, comfortable home.

The day went quickly, and when it came time to close up shop, Damon Ealy said what others surely thought: “When can I come back and finish the job?” We got a lot done, met some of our out-of-town coworkers, and really just had a blast! From everyone at VITAC, thanks to everyone who helped make this wonderful team build possible. Tune in next year for part two…

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit that offers subsidized housing and renovation for low-income families. The organization relies on corporate sponsorship, donations of money or materials, and the sweat equity of volunteers to make this happen. To volunteer with Habitat locally, click here. To check out more pictures, visit our Facebook page.