High School Build Ignites Teen Synergy


With no expectation of reward or praise, some 320 students from across the city dedicated eight Saturdays this fall to construct a new home during our high school partnership. Up to 320 students have a helping hand in the building process.  This build brings together students and faculty from College Park to Duluth.

Among the group of students representing seven independent and public schools is Woodward Academy senior, Alex Burgess. Alex has volunteered with Atlanta Habitat over three years as a Woodward Academy student and on his own. His experience has led him to supervisor training because he wants to give in a bigger way.

“Atlanta Habitat has introduced me to a lot of inspiring people who I would not have without this experience.” Alex says. “Whether it’s fellow students like me, skilled supervisors or the homebuyers and their families, Atlanta Habitat builds bring out the best in people in a truly fun and hands-on setting.”

Alex’s mentor, David-Aaron Roth, helps orchestrate the relationship with Woodward and Atlanta Habitat. “When you come to this type of build, you get to watch our students get out of themselves and their world. They enter a realm that is not their own, and I’m proud to see them step up to the plate.”

Alongside the students building her new home is first-time homebuyer, Erica O., mother of Jabari, 17, and Asia, 14. Jabari is excited to help and proud to know his efforts will contribute to a new home for his family. Asia is thrilled because she will no longer have to share a room with her brother.

“For years I was stressed trying to find a stable home where I could raise my kids.” Erica, who has been a hospital lab technician for 14 years, says. “I want to have my family somewhere safe and comfortable, and this is the answer.” While this is a new adventure for Erica, she is no stranger to home improvement. Some of her favorite hobbies include DIY projects and watching home makeover shows. She says her interest in home improvement has helped make her house-build even more interesting.

The 2018 High School Build concluded in early November with a traditional house dedication filled with positive affirmations, a last bit of hard work and joy. Thanks to the students of Westminster Schools, Woodward Academy, Marist School, Riverwood International Charter School, North Springs Charter High School, Decatur High School and Notre Dame Academy, each build day was a Saturday well-spent.