This spring, the college’s Gracenotes Volunteer Committee sponsored its second annual trip to New Mexico. A group of nine staff and faculty members traveled to Santa Fe to work with Habitat for Humanity. Here, one of the trip participants, Rachel Taravella, shares her experience.

By Rachel Taravella

As I sit to write this blog, I swallow another news story about how our leaders are failing us, and how we are failing the rest of humanity. Before I left for Santa Fe, I made a vow to no longer be bogged down in negativity. I wanted to use my privilege as a platform to lift up the disenfranchised and marginalized. I wanted to remind the homeowners of their depth, their power, their worth, and their significance on this planet. I wanted to build the world I know is still possible to be built, even when the ones in power seem to be taking steps in the opposite direction.

Rachel Taravella writes a messageThe concept of home is an important one and is unique to each of us. It is a safe-zone that everyone deserves. We worked on a home for Amber: a single mom, dedicated to raising her two daughters. We worked on a home for “Jane”: a survivor of abuse, looking for a fresh start. These women and their stories moved me in an inexplicable way, and I am endlessly grateful for their strength and vulnerability.

This trip offered a refreshing break from my generally pessimistic attitude. The fluidity of our team, the energy on-site, the vibe of the city — I was beyond lucky to have been a part of this. I felt present, focused, empowered, and achieved a new sense of clarity.

The fourth principle of Habitat for Humanity is the promotion of dignity and hope. Working with Gracenotes, Habitat, and AmeriCorps to build affordable housing was a concrete (pun intended) step in the right direction – the direction of hope.

Rachel TaravellaRachel Taravella is the digital marketing manager for External Affairs at Berklee.