As part of this year’s Volunteer Appreciation Week, Habitat is highlighting the people who are at the heart of our organization and help to make our mission possible: our volunteers.
Today’s spotlight: Our HOC Partners
At Habitat for Humanity, every homeowner candidate is paired with a HOC Partner at the beginning of their Habitat journey. Their job is to be a source for guidance, mentorship, and encouragement throughout their time in the program. These individuals are involved with every step of their journey, beginning at the first “home visit” which takes place before the applicant is accepted. Our HOC Partners are not a part of our Habitat staff. They are members of the community who volunteer to help guide these individuals out of the goodness of their hearts. Below you will find some testimonials and clips from our homeowners that show how important and life-changing these volunteers can be
Recent homeowner, April Jack, was greatly impacted by her HOC partner, Gloria Haut, or as she called her, “Mrs. Gloria”. She says that Mrs. Gloria is always positive when it comes to encouraging those who need encouragement. She is one of the most down to earth, easy going women that can be understanding when you need it the most.
“I remember the day that I met Mrs. Gloria and how we immediately started sharing things we both have in common,” April says. “I remember telling Mrs. Gloria all the things that I had on my plate while still trying to maintain my journey through the Habitat program and she would always give me great advice and tell me how good I am doing and how even though I have a lot on my plate I can do it and she believed in me since day one. I would like to say that I really appreciate Mrs. Gloria for always being there for me and my son Isaiah and for believing in me even when there were times, I didn’t believe in myself!”
April will never forget all the times she would share with Gloria. No matter how exhausted she was from all the things that April had on her plate, Gloria would be there to give her words of encouragement and a big push to carry on through her journey. “Not a lot of HOC Partners will bring you coffee on a long day you are volunteering but Mrs. Gloria did without any hesitation and that will always stick with me how much she truly cared and wanted me to succeed through the Habitat Program.”
Michael & Amy Neeb
Michael and Amy Neeb are very special supporters of Habitat Pinellas Pasco. Not only are they HOC Partners to families in our program, but they have also been sponsors for some of the homes as well. Recently, they were sponsors for the Bolden Family home which was dedicated in January of 2022. They are also sponsoring the Pici Family home which is set to be dedicated on April 25th.
Briana Gibbons, whose home was dedicated at the end of March, was fortunate enough to have the Neeb’s as her HOC Partners. She says that her favorite thing about her partners that they were very encouraging throughout her Habitat journey. They would call and text her just to check in, give her positive feedback, and encourage her to keep going because she was so close to the end. “My HOC partners helped me on my Habitat journey by simply being there,” she said. “Our communication was awesome. Mr. and Mrs. Neeb were very encouraging throughout my journey and always made an effort to check on me. When I found out things from Habitat, they were the first people to know what was going on.”
“There are two special moments that I will always remember with my HOC partners. The first moment is of them giving me my Bible at my dedication and the second moment is of them blessing me with a brand new washer and dryer. I was not expecting them to do that. This was one of the best things someone could get a new homeowner. I’m so thankful and blessed to have met Mr. and Mrs. Neeb and have them as my partners.”
You can watch these two special moments in the clip below:
Monica Allen is a current Homeowner Candidate in our program. She was partnered with Julie Cline for her time in the program. So far, Julie has helped out Monica is many ways. “I really love my HOC Partner because she is always so polite, so comforting with her words of encouragement and most of all anytime I reach out to her she is available,” Monica says. Julie has been gracious enough to donate her volunteer hours to the Allen Family and Monica has been forever grateful. “So far in my journey Julie has helped me by donating her hard earned volunteer hours as well as getting a few of her other partners to donate towards my goal to help me out because she understands that I am a single parent trying to do this on my own.”
On December 12th, 2021, Monica received an email from Julie congratulating her for officially being accepted into the program. “I was so excited and thankful that I had other people rooting for my success who I never met before!”
Each and every one of our HOC Partners plays an important and integral part in the journey of our Habitat Homeowners. We thank them for their continued volunteer service towards supporting our mission so that everyone has a safe place to call home.