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Working on Habitat Project Makes Strong Impression

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Emma Bateski, McKayla Blackwelder and Jordan Melton, Cabarrus Health Alliance Apr 30, 2018

The TRAIL (Taking Responsible Actions in Life) program is an intensive mentoring program that utilizes the Search Institutes asset building approach to improve the lives of teens in our community.

An essential piece of the TRAIL program is the high school component, whereby a select group of students are trained and given opportunities to serve as role models and educators to help instill positive attitudes regarding healthy decision-making. This mentoring approach is unique and innovative strategy in changing social norms and youth behaviors.

The high school mentors wear several hats on the council. They act as peer mentors in the middle schools and youth representatives on multiple coalitions in the community. The mentors also serve Cabarrus County through their extensive community service. One of their acts of service this year was working with Habitat for Humanity. They volunteered their time and helped with flooring and landscaping.

Emma Bateski:

“As a TRAIL Teen mentor, one of the many opportunities that I have been blessed with is volunteering with Habitat for Humanity to provide a home for a family in need. Other TRAIL members and I worked together to landscape the yard of a beautiful, newly-built home in Kannapolis that would soon become a playground for three young kids. We raked the yard so the seed would hold, spread grass seed and fertilizer, and laid down straw to top it off so the seed wouldn’t blow away. We also planted bushes and flowers, making the home look fresh and vibrant for move-in day in mid-April. Most of us take simple things such as walking into our own home for granted; many people don’t have this luxury. To be a part of the solution to this problem is truly life changing and enlightening.”

McKayla Blackwelder:

“The Habitat for Humanity project was one to never be forgotten. Coming into a community service activity, it is always easy to try and predict what is to be accomplished; however, it is never what is expected. After arriving, we were assigned our jobs then eagerly began working. It became very hot and sunny quickly; nonetheless, it was a great learning experience. The landscaping task was difficult due prior weather issues making the soil impossible to break up. This task was indeed challenging, it was very worth it once the importance and value of the work we had just completed was understood. Personally, through this work and others like it, I believe that the actual activity is significant, but the reflection and understanding of the work can be just as impactful. My team and I experienced some hours of a laborious job, yet this has no comparison to this family that does nothing but work hard humbly and with grace. I am honored to have been a part of this experience, and look forward to more in the future.”