Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County

Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County

Learning New Skills: Rick’s Story

Rick Smith spent most of his working life behind a desk, crunching numbers. He was never much of a handyman, he says. When things broke around the house, he usually called a professional.

Now that he’s retired, that’s begun to change. A couple of years ago, Rick began volunteering at the Habitat for Humanity Store in Ferndale and occasionally on Habitat’s local home-building projects. There, he’s been learning lots of construction and repair skills that he never had time to learn before.

“I’m not as leery of taking something on as I used to be,” Rick says. “I never did think I liked doing (hands on) stuff. But I can tell you, I enjoy it!”

He’s taken to prowling the hardware store, looking for new tools. This Christmas, Rick was thrilled to receive a top of the line drill set from his wife, something he would never have asked for or expected a few years ago. He often brings it with him when he volunteers and has already used it to build fixtures at the Habitat Store.

There are a number of things he appreciates about volunteering with Habitat. He can help out on his schedule. Plus, he can choose what kind of work he does. Rick has back problems, but can find plenty to do at the Habitat Store that doesn’t require heavy lifting.

And he appreciates the relaxed environment. Whether on a Habitat construction site, at the store, in the office or special events, volunteers can get friendly help. People of different ages, abilities and motivations for volunteering can pursue many existing interests or new skills at Habitat and have fun doing it, he says.

“It’s an opportunity to learn without a lot of anxiety.”

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