ORU Receives Award by Habitat for Humanity for Outreach

ORU was given the "Team Volunteer" award for helping the organization build every Saturday

By David Brown

The ORU Outreach Department received an award this Fall from the organization Habitat for Humanity, which honored volunteers at a ceremony who played a significant role in helping with the Tulsa Habitat for Humanity's mission.

Those who attended the award ceremony were nominated by other volunteers and employees of the organization. The award given to ORU was the "Team Volunteer Award" , for the weekly team that ORU Outreach sent last year each Saturday (and is sending this year) to help build homes for families in need.

The ORU Outreach Department operates out of two sub-departments. One is missions, sending out dozens of mission teams locally and abroad every year. The second side of the department is community outreach, which assembles teams that meet once a week throughout the year to complete outreaches right here in Tulsa. The community outreach program gives ORU students a chance to put their knowledge, skills, and passions that they learned in the classroom or through life experience to work and help people of Tulsa in a practical way.

One outreach that truly gives students the opportunity to help people in a practical way is the Habitat for Humanity team. Every Saturday, a team of drowsy students sacrifice their chance to sleep in to wake up and leave campus around 9:00 a.m. to go help build a house for a family in need that the Habitat for Humanity of Tulsa is constructing.

"Habitat for Humanity is a wonderful organization that we love partnering with and are excited that more ORU students will get involved with them this year," said ORU Outreach Assistant Director Bobby Parks. "We are really grateful to be able to help out."

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that builds affordable and safe houses for people in need all over the world. It is a volunteer driven organization that gives people who want to serve the chance to work construction on a "build site" and help make a difference in their community. Habitat for Humanity in Tulsa had an approximate number of 2,600 volunteers last year and built an estimated 22 houses, while 3 families moved into recycled homes.

ORU has been working with Habitat for Humanity for years, whether it was for students to build a house or to build sheds. Habitat for Humanity Director of Volunteers, Jamie Cox said that when ORU students come to help build they come with positive attitudes and get along with the volunteers and staff members. "When we put a call for help, they worked to get as many students as they can," said Cox. "ORU has been and continues to be a huge blessing to Habitat with their assistance with volunteers to further our mission."

Habitat for Humanity in Tulsa is also joining with ORU Outreach in a new way this year that will provide not only a chance for ORU students to help people in a practical way, but to mentor young men and women. "This year, ORU is partnering with Habitat's Youth United on their first build. This build will take place starting Saturday 9/18 and running until completion which we hope will be the end of November," said Cox.

Youth United is an affiliate organization of Habitat for Humanity. They bring young people together from all walks of life to play active roles in transforming their communities. Youth United mobilizes young people to sponsor and build a house with their local Habitat for Humanity affiliate. Through this program, ORU students will be able to spend time and mentor youth as they work together to build a house.

ORU student Yelisey Kuts, a senior, was involved in the Habitat for Humanity process last year that helped lead to the award. Kuts worked hard and did his best to invite people and find people to come on the weekly outreach.

For Kuts, outreach has become a way of life for him and is grateful for an opportunity to bless people. He appreciates the wonderful sense of accomplishment comes with this kind of work at the end of the day, the kind where a person knows they made a difference in someone's life. He believes that it is easy for people to go through life and pray for the chance for God to use them, but never actually do anything. "Through outreach, I've learned that the opportunity to be used by God is all around us every day," said Kuts.