Habitat for Humanity was started by a young, self-made millionaire and his wife, who sold their possessions and dedicated their lives to service. Their work started on a farm in rural Georgia, with the notion of radical inclusivity.
It continues today throughout the world…and right here in New Castle County.
When I reflect on conversations I have with donors, volunteers, and families – those we consider to be in the “Habitat hug” – it feels like I talk a lot about WHAT we do, and maybe have spent less time talking about WHY we do it.
Personally, I was called to Christian service through Habitat some 27 years ago when I heard the words ‘be with my people.’ I have lived this call with a desire to alleviate poverty and improve the health and wellbeing of families of color. To use my privilege as a white person, to give voice and opportunity to those who have systematically been denied some of the very opportunities I have enjoyed.
I have had the opportunity to get a college education, and raise my family in the neighborhood and the home I grew up in Newark. I am a proud UD grad and over the past two + decades, I have also been able to add Wilmington, its neighborhoods and its citizens into my heart of concern. I have enjoyed witnessing, first-hand, the impact of our work together, here at Habitat.
Last year, we gathered for a simple mortgage burning celebration for a Habitat homeowner. The fulfillment of that note is a culmination of hard work and a dream for our homeowner AND her family. Owning real estate, has created wealth and options, and this has traditionally been the way that generations have moved up and out of poverty. Making THAT opportunity a reality for others IS our work together.
Thank you for your interest in offering a hand-up to those in need. Thank you for your support of Habitat. And thank you for the opportunity to fulfill my ministry.
Kevin L. Smith, CEO
(message updated September 23, 2020)