Beyond the Blueprints: Meet Melanie
Volunteering at a build site and using power tools were new to Melanie Boone, but the concept of helping families build their homes was familiar.
“Every day I help people build their home and make it their own,” says Boone, an interior designer.
Boone wanted to go beyond seeing blueprints and floorplans; she wanted to see how houses are built. Her interest in the construction process is what brought Boone to Habitat for Humanity of Omaha.
She began by volunteering at build sites six years ago. She then got involved with Habitat Omaha’s FRIENDS and young professionals groups, and the annual Brew Haha event. She also participated in Designer Challenge, an event that invited local interior design firms to create a display using materials donated to Omaha’s Habitat ReStore.
“I love volunteering at Habitat because everyone is so happy,” Boone says. “It’s like a family.”
In October, she was recognized as Habitat Omaha’s Volunteer of the Year. She says Habitat Omaha has given her many happy memories, and she was surprised and honored to receive the award.
Her favorite experience has been Band Build, an annual fundraiser organized by Omaha Habitat Young Professionals (Omaha HYP). From planning the event, to creating the posters and reaching out to the bands, Boones says it is exciting to see it all come together.
“Since I get to be involved from start to finish, seeing the results that night is really fun,” Boone says.
Being part of the family selection committee was also special. Boone went on home visits, interviewed families and helped them through the loan application process.
“I saw the living conditions some families were in, how motivated they were and how important this is to them,” Boone says.
Boone has come a long way from learning to use power tools to helping plan fundraisers. She has helped impact many families and has encouraged others, including her boyfriendand sister, to get involved. She encourages anyone interested in volunteering to attend Omaha HYP meetings.
“You can volunteer at a build site, join a committee, donate or simply attend our events,” Boone says. “Coming to those meetings and just seeing where the best fit is would be a great way to start.”