Helping families get homes

RHS student sponsors tool drive
By: Michael Althouse
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Rocklin High School sophomore Nick Schafer was simply looking for a way to help his community. His search led him to create the Habitat for Humanity Club at Rocklin High School. According to its Web site, Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry. The organization builds homes for selected low-income families with family members contributing to the labor of actually building the home. When completed, the home is purchased under terms the family can afford. Locally, Foothills Habitat for Humanity of Placer County is building a home in Rocklin for a selected family. The local organization’s mission statement reads, “Foothills Habitat for Humanity builds simple, safe, affordable ownership-housing for low income families by partnering with God’s people from all walks of life.” The home in Rocklin is sponsored by SS. Peter and Paul Church - the same church the Schafer family belongs to. According to Darcy Wharton, the church’s coordinator of adult faith formation, Schafer got interested in being of service at about the same time the church started working with Habitat for Humanity. “He’s a great kid, they’re a real grounded family,” Wharton said. “He came to me and asked how we could work together.” Wharton added that very few high school students have the initiative to start something like this. Although Schafer said the club is anxious to get involved in actually building homes in the future, currently the club is sponsoring several upcoming “tool drives” to support the project. “We are planning to help paint and do some gardening this summer (on the current build),” he said. “This year has been difficult because it’s the first year,” he said. “Right now we’re doing a tool drive at Rocklin High School this Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. Eight to 12 members of the club will be out there collecting tools.” The tools donated will either be used to build homes or sold in Habitat for Humanity’s store, “Restore,” with the proceeds going directly to the area chapter of Habitat for Humanity. “The tool drive is for Restore,” Schafer said. “This being our first drive, our expectations are low, but we are hoping to get as many tools and building supplies as possible.” According to Schafer, Habitat for Humanity provides more than just a place to live. “Owning a home is one of the most important things you can have,” he said. Restore opened last February at 8280 Industrial Ave. in Roseville, according to Foothills Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Tertia Hawkins. The warehouse is already stocked with new and used building supplies and materials, tools, fixtures and some furniture donated by local builders and individuals. Hawkins said that business is good, possibly due to the current real estate market. “People are looking at improving their own home instead of moving up,” she said. Restore, like Habitat for Humanity, is staffed primarily by volunteers. Each has just one employee. In addition to his desire to help his community, Schafer is also an avid golfer, said his mother, Jackie Schafer. “He has been involved with an organization called ‘First Tee,’” she said. “It teaches kids life skills lessons through the game of golf. It’s very big on core values.” Schafer said her son has been involved with the organization since he was bout 4 ½. “It has given him the experience to see things from outside his community and made him realize how important it is to give back,” she said. Regarding the club at Rocklin High, “I think a lot of the kids really want to get out there and start building. I don’t think Nick knew how much work was involved at the administrative level.”