In the habit of helping

Student gets involved in Habitat for Humanity
By: Susan Belknap, Placer Herald Editor
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Although Nick Schafer has never been homeless, he wants to do what he can to help those without a permanent shelter. Schafer, a junior at Rocklin High School, started a student Habitat for Humanity Club last year. He’d been hearing about the plight of the homeless at his church and decided to act. “This was something I’ve always been interested in. I got in touch with the Foothills Habitat for Humanity organization and they thought it was a good idea to get students involved,” Schafer said. “Our group feels that if you can get just one person to step out, it will make a difference.” Schafer admits that even though the club started with just a few members, he is trying to get the word out to his fellow students as much as possible. “We had a tool drive where we collected tools at various schools and churches around town,” Schafer said. “We collected a fair amount and donated them to the Habitat’s ReStore, which is Foothills Habitat for Humanity’s discount building materials outlet.” This past week the school club sponsored an event called, Act! Speak! Build! where club members provided educational material about homelessness to the Rocklin High students and displayed a 8-foot by 4-foot map of California marked with 9,500 nails. “Each nail represents 10 homeless children in California,” Schafer said. “I really wanted to build this display that would cause students to think about those 95,000 kids who are homeless and ask themselves, ‘where are you sleeping tonight?’” Schafer said about 60 students showed up at the school event last week. “We had a booth set up in the quad and distributed flyers and letters to the students informing them about the homeless and the Habitat for Humanity organization,” Schafer said. Desiree Adaway, Habitat’s senior director of Habitat’s volunteer mobilization said she is grateful for people like Schafer and other young people who are concerned about the issues of the homeless. “Every year, youth groups raise their voices about the need to eliminate substandard housing conditions and to help make affordable housing possible,” Adaway said. Tertia Hawkins, executive director for Foothills Habitat for Humanity, said having the high school kids involved brings public awareness to the organization and its mission. “I find high school kids are savvy and caring people,” Hawkins said. “The more they see and understand the needs around them and have the opportunity to provide assistance, the more empowered and knowledgeable they will be as adults to create better systems for dealing with society issues and, hopefully, find solutions.” Club member Tori Shirhall got involved with the club last year and is pleased with the club’s progress. “This is really a great cause,” Shirhall said. “Just to get the word out and make people be aware with help today and in the future.”