Kim Builds Community One House at a Time
Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County
When Kim first starting working as a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County in 2008, she knew little about carpentry but a lot about how to organize people and projects to get results.
In her spare time, Kim parlayed many of the skills she has mastered at Amgen’s headquarters in Thousand Oaks, CA, into helping ensure that local families have a roof over their heads. Now, she not only knows her way around a worksite, she serves on the Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County’s board of directors – first as vice chair and this year as chair. These are important posts, since each Habitat affiliate is locally managed.
Habitat for Humanity sells houses to low-income families at affordable prices, thanks to volunteer labor, the support of community organizations, donation of land and Habitat’s no-profit, no-interest mortgages. For nearly three decades, Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County has repaired more than 500 houses and built more than 50 new ones.
“I bring business skills that I have learned through working at Amgen, and combined with the huge hearts and passion of the nonprofit staff, we’re able to develop our strategic plans and focused decisions,” Kim says.
Habitat’s Ventura County Executive Director Stacy Swanson describes Kim as “the kind of board chair that nonprofit executives wish for.” Swanson continues: “She’s so passionate about our mission and vision. Even when not wearing her Habitat hat, she’s thinking about Habitat. Being the board chair is a huge commitment, especially since she has a full-time job. And she’s also a construction site crew leader on Saturdays.”
Kim is equally passionate about making others feel appreciated. “She took thanking people to a whole new level for the board, with handwritten notes and calls to donors and volunteers,” Swanson says. “And she makes a point to thank every staff and board member for their dedication. That’s important, because there are a lot of nonprofits in Ventura County where people can choose to spend their time. We want our volunteers to know how much we value their help.”
Kim is one of 11 Amgen staff members throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico chosen for the 2011 Amgen Excellence in Volunteering Awards. In recognition of her service, the Amgen Foundation awarded $5,000 to Habitat.
“All of Amgen’s programs benefit us tremendously,” says Habitat’s Swanson. Plus, we have groups from Amgen volunteering for us all the time. People from every facet of the company come to our build sites, serve on committees and find other ways to support our work. We couldn’t be more appreciative.”
The volunteers most definitely value their experiences. Kim especially enjoys working with the future homeowners. “Each family is required to complete up to 500 hours of sweat equity with Habitat,” she explains. “The two families that I worked with most recently completed double the required hours and worked as much on their neighbors’ homes as on their own. It’s heartwarming to see that sense of community develop with the families.”