It changed my life,” explained Dalia. “I never thought the simple act of volunteering could do that.” Dalia has an inspiring passion for serving others. “It all started in the Habitat program,” she said.
Dalia and her family moved into their Habitat home about six years ago. Before, her family lived in an area of town where safety was an issue and living conditions were substandard. “Our Habitat home really brought us together as a family. As a family, we’re all more responsible and connected than we’ve ever been. We’re getting our debt paid off, and the home really united us. If I could describe home in one word it’d be blessed.”
To assist her family in the homeownership process, Dalia volunteered for sweat equity hours with Habitat Kent. “What really inspired me was volunteering alongside the future homeowners." One of the families she volunteered alongside was originally from Africa. “Hearing their story and what they went through changed my life.”
Dalia didn’t stop at helping her family fulfill their sweat equity hours. She decided to volunteer her time to help other Habitat families as well. “I figured, why not speed up the process so they can move into their home sooner? If their living conditions are inadequate, I want to help out as much as I can.”
What’s so inspiring about Dalia’s story is how she’s paying it forward. “When I was young, I used to sit outside Cherry Street Health Clinic at 5am because I had terrible toothaches. It was a first come first serve basis so you had to get there early. Now my passion is to serve and educate those who can’t afford healthcare and don’t know how to qualify. I love to see people smile and I want to serve the Grand Rapids community through dentistry.” Dalia also seeks to serve globally. “Soon, I’m going on a mission trip to Panama to serve health needs that have never been met.”
When her family began the Habitat partnership, Dalia wasn’t quite sure what was next for her career. But after her volunteering experience, it was clearer than ever. “Whether it’s volunteering or in my career, all I want to do is serve others.”
Dalia currently volunteers at Health Intervention Services (H.I.S) here in Grand Rapids and continues to stay involved with Habitat Kent as well.
Dalia’s servant heart is contagious. And thanks to you, pay it forward stories like Dalia’s are possible.
In my short time here at Habitat, I've been inspired by the numerous amount of stories of hardworking volunteers, families, and staff. My prayer is that in my position as Community Outreach and Marketing Assistant, I can do these stories justice.