Habitat for Humanity returns to Glenbrooks

A+Habitat+for+Humanity+construction+team+member+builds+a+home+located+in+Waukegan.+The+construction+for+this+home+began+in+April%2C+and+is+scheduled+to+be+completed+this+summer.+Photo+by+Natalie+Sandlow

A Habitat for Humanity construction team member builds a home located in Waukegan. The construction for this home began in April, and is scheduled to be completed this summer. Photo by Natalie Sandlow

Baeyoung Yoo, Staff Writer

When sophomore Eileen Park received an email from the school about the Habitat for Humanity program, she decided to apply. After attending school virtually, Park found herself wanting an in-person experience and to help make a difference in someone’s life by giving back to the community.

The Habitat for Humanity summer program, canceled last year due to COVID-19, is scheduled to return to the Glenbrook Summer School program this year to serve low-income communities in Lake County. The district is set to provide transportation to and from worksites for students, faculty program leaders and teacher chaperones each day. The program consists of four one-week sessions offered throughout June and July. 

John Finan, Spanish teacher and instructional supervisor for Glenbrook Summer School, said in a video conference that participants will work at two building sites in Waukegan, as well as in the Habitat for Humanity Lake County ReStore in Gurnee, where students will help with tasks such as assembling furniture. 

Tim Biondo, marketing manager at Habitat for Humanity Lake County, said in a phone interview that the ReStore is a facility that sells new and used home and building products to the public. The funds are then used to support the organization’s mission of building homes in Lake County. 

According to Finan, students in each week-long session will rotate between the building sites and the ReStore from Tuesday through Saturday of that session. As each session takes 22 students, six students, as opposed to 12 previously, would go to each site to abide by the reduced crew size. The other 10 students for that day would volunteer at the ReStore. 

Math teacher Anthony DiCristofano, who participated in the program two years ago as a teacher chaperone, said in a video conference that he plans to participate in the program this July. Although he says the experience will not be the same as when groups work together and live together during the week, he believes most of the team building and camaraderie that comes from the job site will remain this year.

According to Park, she feels participating in the program will be a great opportunity to be with others.

“I feel like after the COVID pandemic, we kind of lost how to … socialize with each other, so I feel like it will be a great experience to just get back to … normal and just learn how to get back to communicating with others,” Park said.

According to Biondo, the goal for the staff at Habitat for Humanity Lake County is to provide men, women and children from hard-working, low-income families in Lake County with a home. 

“Everybody deserves a decent place to live, and we want to make sure that we can do that to the greatest extent possible,” Biondo said.