The members of Huntington High School’s Habitat for Humanity club all have one thing in common: An interest in helping others enjoy a better life by providing them with a decent place to live.
The club was recently approved to travel to Houston, Texas where the Huntington group will join with Bay Area Habitat for Humanity in addressing critical housing needs following three 500 year floods and Hurricane Harvey, which tore through the region.
The club is led by Quinn Blackburn (president), Kyle Chin (treasurer) and Casey DiGiacomo (secretary). It includes about 100 members.
The Huntington School Board approved the upcoming trip during a public meeting of trustees this past Monday night in the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School auditorium.
As many as 20 club members are expected to participate in the trip to Texas, which will stretch from February 17-24 and be led by faculty advisor and chapter founder Robert Gilmor III.
“We help in the clean-up and rebuilding of the hard hit area of Houston,” Mr. Gilmor said. “We are very excited and eager to get to Texas and help with any and all areas of the rebuilding efforts of Texas families.
Huntington Habitat typically travels out of state during vacation periods so students don’t miss any class time. The teenagers volunteer for the work and pay their own way.
The club is filled with energetic members. “We have our first build this Saturday,” Mr. Blackburn said. “We have two goals this year: To get the underclassmen more involved and to raise as much money as we can for the hurricane victims.”
There are some new initiatives planned, too. “I came up with a fundraising idea to start a music festival at the high school, which is planned to take place May 19,” Mr. Blackburn said. “I have already started planning it. To me, this is a great way to not only raise a lot of money, but to also get the underclassmen involved.”
Keeping freshmen and sophomores involved in the club has been a challenge. “Since you need to be 16 to go on the out of state trips, we have had problems keeping the underclassmen involved the last couple of years,” Mr. Blackburn said. “I want to make the club thrive like it did in the past so any way to keep the underclassmen engaged is great.”
The club holds after school bake sales to raise funds. The group will be seeking approval to take a second out of state trip in the spring to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where they will also participate in housing builds.
While there are 100 club members, not all of them participate on a regular basis. But, those that do, give it their all. “I think the year is going great,” Mr. Blackburn said. “I see a lot of engaged members all around who are eager to help out and get started.”
While Huntington High School’s Habitat for Humanity has done extensive traveling during its history, the club has never neglected needs in its own backyard right here on Long Island.
“We are off to a build this Saturday in Mastic Beach to help in the local Habitats’ rebuilding efforts,” Mr. Gilmor said.