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Volunteering time out of your busy schedule to help those in need is one of the most rewarding experiences in life. I have been lucky enough to be a part of Key for Key, a part of Giveback Homes, which plans builds alongside Habitat for Humanity to bring shelters to people in need. Today, I want to share my experiences during this build, as well as some information on Giveback Homes and what you can do to help.

Last year, I was able to travel with a team of other real estate professionals to Nicaragua, where we built a house for the Garcia family. Mom, Carla, had been struggling to maintain her household since her husband, Mauricio, began suffering from kidney failure. Together, they have four children and one grandson to take care of. Their daughter, Maria, is the sole provider for the household.

Upon arrival, I realized just what poverty means. There is nothing like it in the US. The family slept alongside animals, and their home was a small hut made of scrap materials. The average person in Nicaragua lives off of $2 per day, which is often not enough. Nobody in this family had an education above elementary school, because they had to find jobs to provide for their family. This story is all too real for most Nicaraguan families.

Luckily, we arrived at the right time. We built a sturdy, colorful home, and the thanks from the family was well worth the work. The last I heard, Mauricio’s health is improving, and the family is able to live with less stress, now that they have a place to call home. I will never forget the conditions I saw in Nicaragua, and I will always feel proud of the impact our team made on the lives of this family. I am also proud to say that Concierge Auctions was nominated for the Shorty Awards for our work through Key for Key.

However, there is always more work to be done. Giveback Homes (both alone and in conjunction with Key for Key) is constantly planning build projects. If you are a real estate professional, you can become a member of the Giveback Homes community. Your membership fee goes toward marketing materials so that any donations made to the organization go directly to the build projects.

Currently, there are quite a few projects listed on the builds page. Of course, the top three are currently Norcal, Puerto Rico, and Houston, because of the natural disasters that occurred there. While you can donate to any of these, you can also donate to provide clean water to communities who need it, to a general fund, or to specific build funds for Nicaragua, Mexico, New York City, and more.

If you are interested in more information about Giveback Homes, you can visit their blog, read about the founders, or view their video and photo galleries. Please, do your part and donate today.