By Liz Sheehan
LONG BRANCH – What have a group of students and Mike Nolan, manager of the WindMill, the popular West End hot dog restaurant in Long Branch, been working on together?
A new house on Seventh Avenue for Nolan, and his wife, Samantha, and their two teenage children.
The students are members of a campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County, hailing from districts such as Rumson-Fair Haven Regional, Long Branch, Marlboro and Manalapan. Their project was done under Habitat’s “The House That Youth Built” program.
“The family was so sweet and they were so thankful,” said Charlotte Miller, of Rumson, the head of the 70-member RFH Habitat for Humanity chapter. For three years the high school junior has volunteered to help out on Habitat projects, and through the experience has gotten to see what she called “the real world,” a perspective that she believes will help her in her future studies in medicine.
Helping to build a house can be hard work. There are usually two construction workers who instruct the volunteers how to carry out their tasks. The high school crew put in four hours on Saturdays. Two weeks ago the volunteers installed insulation in the new home. “A heavy duty job,” Miller said.
In addition to working on constructing a new home, the students in the RFH chapter participate in a Brush With Kindness, a Habitat program that helps seniors with cleanup and minor repairs.
The chapter raises funds for the construction of the house through a candy cane sale, which earned them $300, and a car wash which brought in $1,000, Miller said.
Nolan, who expects to move into the home in coming weeks, became involved with Habitat for Humanity in 2012 when he volunteered with the Salvation Army to serve meals to Habitat’s Carter Work Project, to aid those affected by Super Storm Sandy. His participation was described in a Habitat newsletter.
Inspired by meeting fomer U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, Habitat’s ambassadors, Nolan then volunteered to work at several Habitat construction sites.
The Nolan family, who currently live in an apartment, qualified for a Habitat house by meeting certain financial criteria. The Nolans put more than 200 hours of sweat equity into their house and will buy it with an affordable 30-year, zero percent interest mortgage, according to the organization.
The house was built on land donated by the city of Long Branch, the first of three properties donated to Habitat. Long Branch High School’s Project Lead the Way civil engineering program provided 63 students who participated in the project.
This is only the second “House that Youth Built” home project. The first house was in Port Monmouth for the Henn family, to replace their home which was destroyed by Super Storm Sandy.
A third house is planned which will be supported by a grant from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board, a group of 30 youth leaders who are responsible for distributing $5 million to youth lead projects across the country, according to Habitat.
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