This was a very important project. Building a house within a week allowed us to engage in a project with very concrete outcomes, and our group had the opportunity to see the impact that its work had on the community with which we worked. The organization engages in valuable, sustainable work within the communities that it serves, and we felt fortunate to have been a part of that. Working on a construction site with a group whose abilities varied, with little training, was challenging, but in the end we were able to build a house and fulfill the goals of a project. Not everyone involved put forth the same amount of effort, but that is to be expected, to some degree. In such a context, flexibility is key; regardless of how well you prepare, you don't fully know what you will encounter. On the whole, it was a very rewarding project and overall experience; it was affordable and, for the most part, well-organized. I would recommend this program to other groups.
What would you improve about this program?
Depending on the participants involved, these types of projects can take on a more positive or negative tone, and the organization can't control that aspect of the program. At times, however, the leaders could have used more guidance and experience, structure and support, particularly with providing feedback to the student participants and facilitating the work of the group's leaders. Also, the intended roles of the staff were not always clear. While there were many positive aspects of the location, there were not many activities available to participants after our work on the job site was completed each day. Most importantly, however, is that we were provided with the tools necessary to get the job done, and we made an impact on the lives of members of the community.