AmeriCorps’ team member makes a big impact in our work!

It’s AmeriCorps Week and we’re celebrating Melissa, who serves with us as a Construction Crew Leader.

Melissa’s year-long service began in October. Since then, she’s made a difference in the level of efficiency on our build sites. She’s also made a terrific impact on the lives of future Habitat homebuyers who work with her as they earn their required sweat equity.

“It’s great working with Melissa,” said Marquisha, who was accepted into our program in November. “She helps me a lot. She also steps right in and makes you feel comfortable.”

Melissa, our AmeriCorps Construction Crew Leader, right, and Marquisha, a future homebuyer, work together to build a Habitat home.

Melissa said she loves meeting and working with Marquisha and all future Habitat homebuyers.  “I love to hear them talk about how they’ll decorate their homes, like the curtains they’ll hang and which bedrooms will be their kid’s bedroom.”

Melissa wears a lot of hats in life and her experiences help her connect with the future homebuyers and construction volunteers. For example, Melissa has children, she’s a single mom, she’s a students and she’s also worked in the aircraft field – to name a few of her experiences. Melissa also is very friendly – hidden behind her mask is a warm smile!

Brian Knolla, who is on Wichita Habitat’s construction staff, said having Melissa and the other AmeriCorps’ members who have served with us in the past is wonderful. “It helps us to become more efficient,” he said. “Once the AmeriCorps person gets an understanding of our policies it allows us (construction staff) to can do other things, like working with groups of volunteers. It’s another person we can rely on every day that understands the work.”

Brian said over the years he’s enjoyed seeing all the AmeriCorps members get to know the volunteers and future homebuyers. “This give them a sense of accomplishment,” he said. “They also are excited to learn skills they didn’t have before.”

Melissa also is a student at Wichita State University where she’s studying ornithology (birds) and ichthyology (fish) and minoring in Spanish. She’ll graduates in May and plans to work to help wildlife.

Thank you, Melissa, for making a difference to our staff, future homebuyers, volunteers and our community!