Editor's note: This column, submitted by Vail Resorts, showcases the nonprofits that the company supports through its Vail Resorts Echo program.
Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. Habitat for Humanity does much more than build houses. We help local families become homeowners. Home ownership roots families in the community and creates stability in so many ways. Families don't have to worry about moving every year; they know where their children will attend school and what their monthly payments will be, year after year. Habitat homes are also structurally sound and here in Eagle County are built to LEED Certified Standards. This provides warmth in the winter and dryness when it rains offering not only physical comfort but also emotional reassurance.
Habitat homeowners actively participate in the building process. Each adult family member contributes 250 hours of "sweat equity" to the construction of their home. This allows families to have a stake in the game and gives them confidence in their knowledge and skills of construction. It also contributes to a sense of accomplishment.
"Building this home gave us a jump start on our confidence, and we feel like our hard work is going towards something we can be proud of," said Tanya Vasquez, a Habitat homeowner.
Once a family's basic need for housing is met they can begin to focus on bigger things like health, education and plans for a brighter future. Sixty percent of the school-age children of Habitat homeowners are on the honor roll and all of the recent high school graduates have continued on to college. We have several adult family members that have gone back to school to achieve a higher level of education. There have also been improvements in health including eliminated asthma attacks and lowered cholesterol. The research is clear: Decent housing positively impacts the health, education and future prospects of families. Additionally, homeowners take a more active role in the community than renters and are more likely to belong to a school or community organization.
Habitat for Humanity is definitely more than just a home builder. We also build a strong sense of community as it takes many volunteers, donors and partners to join together to execute these goals. Through our partnership with Vail Resorts Echo, Habitat for Humanity has been able to expand our impact in the community and increase our building capacity of LEED-certified homes in the valley. Through volunteerism, in-kind contributions and monetary investments, Vail Resorts Echo helps further our mission, which allows local families to realize their dream of homeownership.
Kristi Moon is public relations and marketing director for Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties. Through Vail Resorts Echo, Vail Resorts hopes to connect its communities to its efforts - from on the ground conservation programs to grants for local schools. Aimed at both protecting the natural resources that surround the resorts and helping build stronger communities where its employees live and work, Vail Resorts Echo encompasses three core efforts: environmental stewardship, charitable giving and community engagement. Learn more at www.vailresortsecho.com.