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Webb students build ‘Habitat’ house

Webb School of Knoxville students traded their textbooks for tools, Saturday, Aug. 23, at the kick-off of Webb School’s fourth Habitat for Humanity House. On what has been nicknamed “Blitz Day Webb student and adult volunteers joined Knoxville Habitat for Humanity supervisors and the partner family to begin work on the floor, walls and roofing of Webb’s biggest school-sponsored Habitat House, to date (a five-bedroom house), at 5125 Dewine Circle in Northwest Knoxville.

Continuing a Webb service tradition that began in 2001, Webb volunteers will work Saturdays throughout September and October, installing interior walls, siding and insulation; painting, putting in cabinets; even seeding and laying straw on the lawn. Completion is scheduled for late October.

Webb’s partnership with Knoxville Habitat for Humanity is an excellent opportunity for Webb faculty, staff, parents, and students to work together while reaching out to the greater community. Webb Upper School science teacher and assistant service learning director Kristan LaFon said it’s a win-win relationship that has numerous benefits for both the volunteers and the partner family.

“With this project, our volunteers see a tangible result from their service” she added.

“We’re starting with a vacant lot and at the end, we have a visible product of our efforts, and the students can really see they’ve made a difference for a deserving family.

“Our students also get to meet a fantastic family and learn their story. And the volunteers truly help make one of their dreams come true.”

This year, Webb is partnering with a family from Ukraine.

LaFon said Knoxville Habitat involves the entire community and instills the values of cooperation and teamwork.

“We have teachers working alongside kids, working beside parents, etc. We as faculty, for example, get to interact with our students in ways we could never replicate inside the classroom. And we all come together to make a difference for this family,” she said.

Through working together, participants learn the importance of leadership.

“We want to teach our kids at Webb that leadership in the community is very, very important,” LaFon said.

“And that to be leaders in the community, they need to know all aspects of the community, and they need to be able to see that there are people who live in different situations and in different parts of town that need our assistance, and we are able to help them, so we should help them.”

Knoxville Habitat for Humanity is an independent, nonprofit, Christian housing ministry that partners with people of all beliefs. Knoxville Habitat has been an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International since 1985. The organization builds simple, decent, affordable homes in partnership with those in need. Volunteers and future homeowners provide the labor in building the homes.

LaFon said by working with Knoxville Habitat, Webb students hopefully will develop a long-term relationship with the organization; one that will carry over into college and beyond.

“We’re exposing students to what is an outstanding organization, and we’re getting them involved at a really young age so that they can be lifelong contributors to housing people in their communities; not only here in this country, but around the world,” she added.

More information about Knoxville Habitat for Humanity is available at


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