Classes, training are ‘backbone’ of how Habitat for Humanity helps families

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Before the foundation is ever poured on a Habitat for Humanity home, there is a 12 to 16 month commitment of classes and training.

WATE 6 On Your Side sat in Wednesday night and helped with one of those classes as some soon-to-be homeowners took the next step toward achieving their dream.

While the sun was going down on most people’s day, couples and families were attending a class inside the Knoxville offices for Habitat for Humanity.

Related coverage: Building a Better Future

Classes take place there more than 160 times a year. Soon-to-be homeowners have to put in 500 hours of sweat equity, and that includes mandatory courses covering things like consumer credit, estate planning and diversity.

Habitat President Kelle Shultz says most people associate their non-profit with just building homes, but it’s the education component that really helps shape a family’s future.

WATE 6 On Your Side News Anchor Kristin Farley helped lead the class and guide the families through the process.
WATE 6 On Your Side News Anchor Kristin Farley helped lead the class and guide the families through the process.

“The classes are really the backbone and foundation of our work, ” she said. “Really what we are doing is changing peoples’ lives and giving them the tools to be able to be successful homeowners, parents and members of the community.”

This Wednesday night, we were on hand to help these families start writing their stories. WATE 6 On Your Side News Anchor Kristin Farley helped lead the class and guide the families through the process.

More: Kristin Farley’s Habitat for Humanity Build Blog

The end result will ultimately be used for television, print and even given to businesses and churches who end up sponsoring a build. Sharing their stories can be a frightening component of this process and some people do back out before finishing all the courses.

“Part of what we are doing is we’re saying you’ve got to trust us and in return this is what we are going to do with you,” explained Shultz. “It truly is partnership and we are going to teach and train. We have high expectations and you have to meet those.”

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