About a year ago, I found myself a new graduate with a Mechanical Engineering degree and a core motivation to help people. I was at a loss as to how to use both my education and internal passion. Fast forward about six months to when I landed my job as a Product Development Engineer at DISHER. It has been so rewarding to be part of an organization that puts its mission statement of Making a Positive Difference® into action.
At DISHER, we are encouraged to get involved in various local non-profit organizations. It is part of our Stewardship Culture Characteristic; it makes the workplace culture one of meaningful motivation and lasting impact. To be in an environment that places value in helping those in need is gratifying. We strive to leave the world better than we found it. We are a part of something bigger than ourselves. We have done something about the fortune we’ve been granted in life.
Habitat for Humanity
A few weeks ago, six women from DISHER helped build part of a house in Holland through Habitat for Humanity. We were one of many volunteering groups under the guidance of a Habitat Instructor. Our group helped in the framing process by sheathing the roof. The receiver of the home, a single mom and her son, will now have a safe and affordable home. It was both challenging to learn something new and rewarding to see the success of our work!
Habitat for Humanity is an international non-profit that works in 70 countries worldwide. Volunteers can give their time and resources through long-term volunteering opportunities, group volunteering opportunities, and build events. To accommodate the many build locations, there are divisions of Habitat located close to each build site. Our local division, Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity, is focused on the Holland, Michigan area.
Those who receive the houses are given affordable payment plans and guidance on becoming new homeowners. Individuals or families first go through an application process. If selected, they learn all of the essentials of becoming a homeowner including managing their mortgage and overseeing maintenance, in addition to actually being involved in the construction of their home. Countless success stories can be read on the Habitat website.
As defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary, stewardship is the “careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care”. At DISHER, we see this as an opportunity to use our resources to help those around us. This occurs in two main environments: the workplace (with customers and coworkers) and the community (with those in need).
This past December, Jeff Disher wrote an article on stewardship titled, How Will You Play Your Hand. Jeff talked about how fortunate we are to not have been born into a difficult situation, to recognize this and be thankful for it, and to do something about it. It’s worth a read.
Helping great organizations like Habitat for Humanity gives work deeper meaning. It brings value to the work you are doing and to the relationships you are building. It means you care for the community around you and take tangible actions into making it better. I am confident that an organization which values stewardship is a place someone can thrive at.
Find Your Role
If you are wondering how to get involved, consider your skillsets and abilities, the level of time commitment you can make, and any past experiences you can draw from. In West Michigan alone, there are countless organizations who would welcome your participation. A few prompting questions to ponder are:
+ Do you work as an engineer, designer, accountant, manager, electrician, plumber, or carpenter (to name a few)? Can you find a non-profit who can use these skills? Non-profits are often short on financial and human resources and have difficulty finding the right people for a job.
+ Can you commit to a long-term volunteer position? Maybe one where you can stay involved in a specific person’s life? Youth who need a steady adult figure come to mind such as after-school programs or mentoring programs.
+ Do you have past experiences you can use to relate to those going through difficult times? Maybe this means finding an organization that helps people through unemployment, an unexpected pregnancy, addictions, cancer, loss of a loved one, or financial difficulties.
This build was coordinated through a DISHER employee who is passionate about Habitat for Humanity. He got our group together for an afternoon and is assembling more group build days through the summer. Understanding the impact you can make with those in need and with those you work with is important! Challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone. Find ways to Make a Positive Difference! Don’t underestimate the incredible influence you can make in our world!
Written By: Maddie Swets | Product Development Engineer
Maddie is a Calvin College alumni with a BS in Mechanical Engineering who has a knack for problem solving and passion for tackling complex engineering challenges. In her free time, she enjoys painting and visiting her family in Chicago. Maddie is a fan of the Harry Potter series and considers pasta to be her favorite food.