The FICPA Young CPA committee recently hosted the CPA Day of Service on May 21, 2016. This event included many different volunteer opportunities in various locations around the state of Florida. One of the volunteer opportunities in Tampa Bay was to help build a house for Habitat for Humanity.I joined a group of almost 20 other CPAs, students and their family members. We all started at 8 AM at the build site in Clearwater, FL and worked until 2:30 PM. Our activities included cleaning up the work site, putting up the wall structure of the house, framing the windows and doorways, and various other tasks that our site supervisors assigned as needed. The site supervisors were very experienced in the construction industry and patiently explained how to complete each task they assigned to the volunteers.
About halfway through the morning, we took a break for the supervisors to tell us about the organization. They told us that all houses on the street surrounding our house were built by Habitat volunteers. It takes about 6-8 weeks for Habitat to build a house, from start to finish. This is significantly shorter than the amount of time it takes for commercial construction companies to build a similar house. Our site supervisors said that the inspectors often tell them that Habitat homes are built with higher quality than most other homes they inspect. They use durable building materials that are long-lasting and the homes are designed to be energy-efficient. Once the homes are built they are not given away. Habitat sells the homes to qualifying families with interest-free loans. Homeowners are also required to complete “sweat equity” hours by working at the build site and to attend classes that teach good homeowner techniques and financial management skills. It was important for us to learn about the organization so that we could truly see the value of our work.
Volunteering with the CPA Day of Service was a good experience for me. I enjoyed working with the other volunteers. Although the work was hard in the Florida heat and humidity, no one complained and I think we all had some fun. I enjoyed learning about Habitat for Humanity as an organization and getting involved in the community. I also learned a little about how a house is constructed, which I think will benefit me someday when I am a homeowner. It was fun to volunteer for a day but I think I’ll keep my day job.