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The Antelope

Psychology Club volunteers for Habitat for Humanity

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Amanda Demilt

Antelope Staff

The Kearney Area Habitat for Humanity’s mission vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Through the UNK Psychology Club, sophomore English major Jasmine Beringer from David City, takes time to bring that vision to life.

Beringer has volunteered for the KAHfH for approximately a year.

Habitat for Humanity is a global non-profit organization that partners with families in various communities all over the world to help them build or improve a place they can call home. “Habitat homeowners help build their homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Habitat homeowners achieve the strength, stability and independence they need to build a better life for themselves and their families,” Beringer said.

The Psychology Club generally takes between 10 and 20 students on the Habitat service projects. During the time they volunteer, the work they do depends on the weather. In milder weather, the club volunteers work outside on the building of the home by laying the foundation or painting.

During the colder months of the year they typically work indoors in the Habitat warehouse. “Whatever the long-term volunteers tell us to do, we do!” Beringer said.

In the 25 years that the KAHfH has been in existence, 76 families in Kearney have moved into new homes. Without the countless number of volunteers from the area, including the Psychology Club as well as several other UNK organizations, the building of the homes would not have been possible.

Psychology professor Dr. Krista Fritson advises the Psychology Club and is in charge of setting up volunteer times for the club. Fritson has been the Psychology Club advisor for 13 years and has volunteered with the KAHfH for the past three years.

“Psych Club is an academic, service and educational club. We do community service events twice each semester. Students have chosen Habitat for Humanity due to the ability to interact with community members and provide service work,” Fritson said.

“I enjoy knowing I’m a part of the solution versus part of the problem regarding the support of fellow community members,” said Fritson.

KAHfH does just that. The program works with the families to build or improve their homes. After the application process, families are chosen based on three specific criteria. The family must demonstrate the need for a safe affordable home, be willing to work alongside the volunteers and the Habitat for Humanity to build the home and they must be able and willing to pay the affordable home mortgage.

“The families who apply for this program are not just looking for a donation. They are willing to work for the help they receive. I love volunteering my time for a group who offers a hand-up rather than a hand-out,” Beringer said of volunteering.

There are many ways to become involved with and volunteer for the KAHfH. Volunteers can travel and build with the program as a volunteer for a designated length of time, or a person can volunteer for an extended period. A volunteer can spend their time with the organization for shorter amounts of time as well. The Psychology Club volunteers on a Saturday once a semester. The student members of the Psychology Club are first invited to volunteer. Psychology Club members then can invite family or friends who wish to participate.

The work done building the homes is rewarding to both the homeowner and the volunteer. Beringer’s favorite part of the organization is simple. “You are changing the lives of the families who you are working side-by-side with when you volunteer, which is special. Few organizations exist where you see the impact first-hand,” Beringer said. She says the work done building the homes is rewarding to both the homeowner and the volunteer.

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