Not a member yet? Register now and get started.

lock and key

Sign in to your account.

Account Login

Forgot your password?

My Experience as an ABWK intern – Alvin

Posted by in A Brush with Kindness, Riverside, Volunteers | Comments Off on My Experience as an ABWK intern – Alvin
My Experience as an ABWK intern – Alvin

My name is Alvin Pereyra and I am a student at the University of California Riverside, studying sociology. As a sociology student I had the privilege of participating in an internship through UCR with an organization of my choice (as long as they accepted me of course!). Shortly after signing aboard through UCR, I received an email listing potential groups to work under and to my surprise; Habitat for Humanity had a branch in Riverside no less than a few blocks from campus! Habitat for Humanity has always been a well-known organization, but besides the rumor about former president Jimmy Carter starting the organization (which I later found out to be just a rumor!), I had no idea what to expect!  At this point my curiosity was peaked! I emailed Habitat for Humanity Riverside as soon as I had the chance and within a short amount of time, I was signed on board and ready to work!

100_9669 IMG_8845 100_9594

I learned that my internship would be split into two parts; Saturdays, I would assist with volunteers in Habitat for Humanity Riverside’s exterior home preservation service, A Brush with Kindness, and for a few hours in the middle of the week I would come into the office to add volunteers to the database and write a blog outlining the events of the previous Saturday. With this in mind, I came in eagerly on my first day of work; an early Saturday morning. At first, I was nervous, worried that I might make one too many mistakes. I did not have too much experience painting homes, yet here I was to guide volunteers! Thankfully, with the guidance of Daniel, A Brush with Kindness’ site supervisor, I was able to follow the flow of things relatively quickly. Within a few hours, the first home I was assigned to was painted! I left home that day, and every Saturday after that, with a sense of pride, knowing that I was able to spend a morning helping someone in need. Through these Saturdays on volunteer days, I learned how to work with volunteers I had never met. I learned to be patient with everyone we worked with and time management so that we would finish in a timely matter and work safely. I learned to open up to volunteers and show them that we were all working towards the same goal. I also left knowing that I can paint a wall easily and quickly with only a few splotches of paint on my clothes!Blog picture

The second part of my internship was done in the Habitat for Humanity Riverside office, where I was able to see another side of the organization. In the office, I learned that Habitat for Humanity Riverside is very well organized and runs very efficiently. The office presented a real glimpse into the life of a company whose sole goal is to help those in need; every worker did their part to ensure the company maintains its high standard of reaching out to the community. What really stood out to me was how warm and kind the personnel were. It was really refreshing to see people who were passionate about their work! Around every corner someone was working with a bright smile on their face! With the office work, I learned to work efficiently and stay organized or work will pile up! I learned to think more creatively when it came to writing the online blogs and that every single person contributed to making Habitat for Humanity Riverside the great organization that it is.

As time went on, I got into the routine of the work. I would meet with Daniel on site Saturdays and meet new volunteers almost every time. I made friends with returning volunteers as we bonded in the spirit of helping those in need. I learned that every single volunteer had a bright outlook, their own individual plans, ideas, and a compassionate heart that was distinct from every other volunteer. The homeowners who were in need of a bit of help were always welcoming and appreciative of the help their community was able to offer. I saw Daniel always working with patience for the volunteers and a smile on his face; his hard working attitude served as a motivation to the volunteers reminding them that they were painting not only a house, but someone’s home. It was a real privilege and honor learning from Daniel’s guidance. In the office, every single person radiated a sense of acceptance and warmth that made me feel as if I was truly part of the Habitat for Humanity Riverside family. Sim, Anita, Jenine, Kathy, Joe, Sarah, Angel and countless others stretched out a helping hand to me in the office and on the field, and without them I would have fumbled more times than I’d like to admit.

100_9760 CAM02490 100_9809

Overall, although my time with Habitat for Humanity Riverside was brief, I have learned so much. Whatever expectations I had coming in, were completely surpassed by how great and fulfilling the work was. I’ll never forget the dedication of all the volunteers taking that extra bit of effort to paint what seemed like an unreachable spot or having a homeowner mention that we’re the reason the world is so kind.

If there’s one thing I can say with absolute certainty, it is that although Habitat for Humanity is a huge and well –known organization, the unique and special people who comprise the company are some of the sweetest, most genuine, and kind people I have ever met. I hope to come back to Habitat for Humanity Riverside when I have the chance. If anyone is reading this is unsure whether they would like to volunteer their time with Habitat for Humanity Riverside, I would wholeheartedly recommend it; I know I have gained a memorable experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

-With much appreciation, Alvin Pereyra