“Happiness consists in giving, and in serving others.” – Henry Drummond
Each quarter, Galen College of Nursing’s Student Nurse Association begins the heartfelt and rewarding task of participating in a Habitat Humanity build in the Tampa Bay area. On September 24, 2014, we contributed to the Long Family’s home, and in a strange twist of fate we learned that Nakia Long has been employed within the healthcare profession for over ten years, and that the home would provide shelter to Ms. Long and her son, Ke’andre. During the build, Galen students and staff came together to add finishing touches to the home. We worked tirelessly until mid-afternoon, side by side with other volunteers as we lay sod in the front and backyard of the property. It was a long day, to be sure, but the sense of accomplishment and pride prevailed, and we truly learned the value of a hard day’s work. (And a lot of sweat!)
It warms my heart to know that this house stands today because of the commitment of others; a community of caring people selflessly dedicated to providing affordable housing for families. When thinking of the comfort this home would provide for the Long family, I thought of none other than Florence Nightingale, “The Lady with the Lamp.” Florence’s lamp signifies comfort bestowed to those in need. Ms. Long, who dedicates her own life to the care of others, will now have a place to lay her head. It is my hope that that as she drives home each night, this home also serves as her comfort, her anchor and her lamp. I am beyond proud to have been a part of the Galen team, which continues to contribute to the improvement of our community.
During the dedication of the home, I was personally able to speak on behalf of Galen College of Nursing Volunteers. We also heard from Habitat Pinellas CEO, Mike Sutton, and U.S. Representative David Jolly. It was a transformative experience for me, and it is just one of many service-oriented projects that Galen has been able to participate in. It’s through these ventures that we’re able to further embody the Galen philosophy of C.A.R.E. (Character, Accountability, Respect and Excellence), both as an institution, and as individuals.
We would like to offer sincere gratitude to our Student Nurse Association Community Service Chair and ADN student, Divyia Joseph, who coordinates each of our quarterly Habitat for Humanity builds. We would also like to encourage everyone to consider participating in builds like these. There is no greater feeling than taking in the emotion as new homeowners are handed keys and the welcome mat is laid out! As always, we look forward to continued participation in these opportunities which enrich and serve our communities, and provide a lamp for those in need of a guided path.