The title which is a Mahatma Gandhi quote best describes where I am in my journey. Lately, I haven’t had the wherewithal to donate or help others as I would like and this became more apparent when I had family and someone very close to me go through some situations where I wished I could help them. I do however have time and skill to give and these instances made me want to sow my talents even more.
I had the pleasure of volunteering with Atlanta Habitat for Humanity a week ago. I helped two women build their homes as apart of the Atlanta Women’s Build, so it was ALL women working on the construction site. It was some hard work as I learned the new skill of installing cement board siding. I have the thumb injury and had a sore back to prove it. LOL. It was so gratifying to know that I was contributing to the mission of transforming communities by acting as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization through education, innovative development, partnerships, and long term relationships with families.
I also had a chance to meet with Giselle Malluche, the founder of Change to Humanity, a local non-profit that is doing great work in the infamous Bankhead area of Atlanta to help eliminate homelessness and poverty. I serve as one of the real estate advisors for the organization. Change to Humanity has a portfolio of donated property. The organization has to determine the best use for the real property. Whether it’s to sell or lease the land, redevelop or create…I’m glad that I can assist. Change to Humanity has partnered to create Urban Farming and job skill training in the community. When land is donated, it can present complex issues and ramifications for the donee to consider when it comes to long-term plans. It is so refreshing to meet individuals who have a passion and heart for people.
This past month I also began working with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society in the Family Law and Landlord/Tenant Law Center. The mission of this organization is to help low-income people meet basic needs through civil legal assistance. The work performed at this organization is so important because low-income people typically waive or delay justice due to not being able to afford legal counsel.
Some people may read this and my other post about advocacy and say, you only volunteer in areas that you work in or could possibly benefit you. I agree. Housing, real estate policy, and law are my areas of interest and expertise but I could always learn more due to the vast nature of these industries. The plight of the low-income individual is also a very familiar place for me. I know what it’s like to have bad credit, to repair it and buy my first home. I know what it is like to buy a brand new house and fixer upper. I know what it is like to be a landlord and manage a tenant…and I know what it is like to be the tenant who can’t pay my rent. I understand what it is like to face foreclosure, negotiate with the servicer/lender and to do a short sale. I also know what it is like to work for the servicer and advise attorneys nationwide on policies and timelines to complete foreclosures. I know what it is like to think I may need a lawyer but know I can’t pay one. I have represented as a Broker and have been the buyer and the seller in real estate transactions and understand the expectations of both sides of the table. I have a constant internal struggle about wanting to make certain aspects of real estate fair and equitable and wanting to be involved in profitable deals and developments for me and my clients. I know that business is ultimately about making a return on investment but volunteering is my small way of effecting change on the world by helping…“Building Legacies, One Property At A Time”.