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Habitat for Humanity celebrates 10th anniversary

Nov. 21, 1997

Waco celebration includes house dedication

By Jamie Kmiec

Reporter for The Baylor Lariat

More than 500 members of the Habitat for Humanity collegiate chapters will celebrate their 10th anniversary this weekend.

Dr. Gary Cook, former Baylor professor of religion and currently president of Dallas Baptist University, founded the first collegiate chapter of Habitat for Humanity at Baylor in 1987.

'We now have 476 campus chapters,' Erica Karlovitz, outreach coordinator for region three, said. 'The campus chapters have three functions: they build, educate and fund raise.'

These collegiate chapters, located in nine countries, exist to help build safe, affordable housing for needy families around the world.

This weekend's anniversary celebration will include special speakers, chapter meetings, a house dedication and a block party.

At 7 p.m. today in Mary Gibbs Jones Concert Hall, Millard Fuller will be one of many guests who will speak about youth involvement and goals for Habitat. Fuller and his wife, Linda, founded the non-profit Christian housing project in 1976 as a way to end poverty housing.

According to Justin Trogdon, a Bolivar, Mo., junior and celebration task force chair, other guests scheduled to welcome conference participants include Waco Mayor Michael Morrison, President Robert B. Sloan Jr. and Cook.

Friday's presentation is free and open to the public. To attend the rest of the weekend's events, students must register at 3 p.m. on Friday or at 9 a.m. Saturday in Jones Concert Hall, according to Lauren Richey, a Moore, Okla., junior and vice president of the Baylor Habitat campus chapter.

Saturday and Sunday activities will begin with a breakfast hosted by Maxwell House Coffee, sponsor of 'Build a Home America' program.

On Saturday, participating students will continue the celebration by launching 'Building Tomorrow--Starting Today,' a program challenging Habitat youth volunteers to build 100 houses between November 1997 and November 1998.

Students will dedicate the first house of that campaign at 1 p.m. Saturday. About 50 Baylor

students have been working on the house located at 1218 N. 15th St.

'The students have been working every Saturday and sometimes during the week,' Karlovitz said.

This house, like all of the Habitat houses, will be sold to a low-income family. Families take out an affordable, no-interest loan through Habitat. These families are chosen on the basis of need, interest and ability to pay back the loan. Money for the houses goes back into a rotating fund to build more houses.

Although this is the first house built by the Baylor chapter, they have worked closely with the Waco Habitat affiliate to build new homes and renovate others in the Waco area.

'It helps the community and it is a way to meet people from across the campus,' Trogdon said. 'I feel good knowing that I'm helping.'

After the house dedication, students will take a trip to Floyd Casey Stadium for the Baylor-Oklahoma State game where they will be recognized.

Richey said after church services on Sunday, students can attend seminars and meetings about fund raising and other Habitat subjects.

A block party originally scheduled for location on Austin Avenue will be held at the Texas Ranger Museum from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Bands, entertainment and food will be provided.

According to Trogdon, students from 30 collegiate chapters such as those from Nebraska, Virginia and Oklahoma will attend all events. Students will also hear Fuller chat via the Internet with students from Kwansei Gakuin, Habitat's first campus chapter in Japan.

Since 1976, Habitat for Humanity has built more than 60,000 houses around the world which have housed about 300,000 people with safe and affordable shelter. The labor is done by professional volunteers as well as students, locals and anyone interested in helping needy families. There are 1,300 organized affiliates in the U.S.

'I learned the skills that I wouldn't normally have learned,' Richey said. 'I know how to shingle a house [and how to] put out insulation in. It's rewarding.'

Tax deductible donations of money and materials are used to build new homes or renovate existing ones.

More information about Habitat for Humanity and this weekend's celebration can be obtained from Carter Harrison Jackson, executive director of the Waco chapter of Habitat, at 756-7575.

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