2013 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree

Habitat for Humanity in Nassau County, NY, Inc.

Habitat for Humanity in Nassau County, NY, Inc.

Madeline Sgueglia, President

Habitat for Humanity in Nassau County, NY, Inc. (HFHNC) provides simple, decent, affordable houses to hard-working, low-income families. Selected families are given an interest-free mortgage with no down payment, and in return are asked to commit 300 "sweat equity" hours to help build their home. But there's more to the average HFHNC construction project than building a house. While bettering the lives of Nassau County residents, the humanitarian organization is also building the future of the Long Island students.

Career and technical education students from throughout the county -- from schools such as Nassau BOCES Barry Tech, Carey High School and Hofstra University -- are getting on-the-job training by volunteering for HFHNC house builds. The level of training these students receive during such a project is unparalleled. They have the opportunity to put their skills to the test on a job site under actual working conditions.

"It's one thing to learn in a classroom, but it is another thing entirely to learn on a functioning job site," said the Education Partner Award nominator. "Students who volunteer with Habitat for Humanity are getting real-life training that cannot be duplicated in a classroom."

Nor does the HFHNC commitment to education stop there. The organization regularly sends speakers to local schools and universities, educating students about the need to address the housing issues facing their communities and encouraging them to take an active role in the solution.

Girl Scout troops regularly visit HFHNC job sites, delivering lunch to the volunteers and receiving tours of the construction site. The scouts learn about various construction methods and the value of "green" technology.

"We are committed to the development of our communities and the empowerment of families through our housing ministry," said HFHNC President Madeline Sgueglia. "We believe that affordable housing is a matter of conscience. Our job sites provide a safe harbor where people of diverse backgrounds cross the barriers of color, class, religion and language to build something positive together. Volunteering provides a tremendous amount of inspiration and satisfaction. It's a wonderful opportunity to give back to Nassau County."