MORRIS HABITAT FOR HUMANITY YOUTH UNITED GROUP CONTINUES TO HELP A GREAT CAUSE
Currently Morris Habitat for Humanity has co-presidents for their Youth United Organization. Bridget Zakrzewski from Chester, NJ and Candace Pallitto from Chatham, NJ have been sharing responsibilities to lead the group of high school students raise attention and much needed funds for Morris Habitat. This year has been a busy one for the group. At the end of December they stepped up to help at the big Give-Away Day at the ReStore, but that’s just the latest
Since 2004, Morris Youth United has planned, fundraised for, and built houses. Throughout the past year, Morris Youth United has successfully held events and fundraisers such as coffee houses, electronics recycling drives, t-shirt sales, gift wrapping, and restaurant nights. The proceeds from these events and fundraisers are contributed to Morris Youth United’s $15,000 pledge for a Habitat house being built on Lozier Road in Mount Olive.
Morris County Youth United is an organization of local middle and high school students who meet each month to discuss the need for affordable housing. There are nearly fifteen different schools and about forty members involved in Morris Youth United, and this number is only growing as more and more students learn about Habitat for Humanity and the importance of serving the local community. Students are given the opportunity to learn about serving others in meaningful and worthwhile ways through hands-on activities and organization.
The experience gained by its members cannot be underestimated. The group teaches young people about the need for affordable housing, how to advocate for it and how to spread the word throughout the community, and provides them with important leadership skills.
In the past their advocacy efforts included a presentation to the Morris County freeholders, meeting with Congressman Frelinghuysen, participating in Habitat International's national advocacy activities, and writing letters to state and federal legislatures. They have spread the word about Morris Habitat’s efforts by preparing and staffing tables at local town festivals, preparing poster boards of information for schools and youth groups, and preparing a lesson plan for younger students, as well as writing press releases to the media. Additionally, they also are responsible for scheduling their own construction work days (for those old enough) at the Morris Habitat construction sites.
Their grant writing efforts have brought attention to the group and to our County through skills learned from a State Farm Insurance grant funded workshop geared to young people on how to plan, set goals, and achieve them within this organization. With the confidence they acquired, these young people even succeeded in getting organizations that have never supported affordable housing before to make contributions.
Most importantly, much of the responsibility for running this group is given directly to the members, which means they must determine the amount of work/time they want to invest, what they want to accomplish and how to do so. They nominate officers and then those nominees must speak about themselves and what they plan to accomplish in their roles before a vote is taken. They learn the basis for running meetings (preparing agendas, setting meeting dates/venues, taking and writing minutes and follow-up), and since they are from different schools, it is an opportunity to get to know students from different parts of Morris County. Youth United members even campaign to bring new members onto the executive board, to ensure continuity of the group.
If you know someone in middle or high school who might be interested, please encourage them to attend one of the meetings to see what it is all about. Youth United meets the third Thursday of each month at the Morris Habitat Office right off Route 10 in Randolph across from the K-Mart shopping plaza from 7-8 pm. New members are always welcome.
About Morris Habitat for Humanity
Morris Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit housing agency dedicated to providing decent, affordable housing for low-income families in Morris County and the surrounding New Jersey area. Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Morris Habitat builds and rehabilitates houses in partnership with families in need. Since 1985 Morris Habitat has served 249 households though home ownership opportunities, home preservation, and international home building programs. In addition, proceeds from our ReStore, opened May 2007, have built 6 homes and diverted over 2,000 tons of useable material out of landfills. For more information about Morris Habitat call 973-891-1934 or visit www.morrishabitat.org. To learn about the ReStore call 973-366-3358 or go to www.morrishabitat.org and follow the ReStore link.
About Morris Habitat ReStore
Operated by Morris Habitat for Humanity, the ReStore sells donated building supplies and furnishings at huge savings off normal retail costs. Proceeds from the store have funded the construction of 6 houses since 2007 and kept more than 3,000 tons of materials out of landfills. Information on donating, volunteering, or any other aspect of the ReStore can be found on its website at www.morrisrestore.org or by calling (973) 366-3358.
Located at 274 South Salem Street, Randolph, NJ 07869, the ReStore is open Wednesday-Friday 10-6, (beginning January 3) Thursday night until 8pm. Saturday 10-5, and Sunday 10-5. Cash, debit cards, Visa and Mastercard are accepted. Donation drop offs can be made during store hours, or for larger items call 973-366-3358 to schedule a pick-up. Donations are tax-deductible.