Volunteer Spotlight – Steven VanLiew

Hope Builders Stories

How and when did you first get involved with HopeBUILDERS? 

I learned about the organization through our church, Holy Cross Lutheran.  I volunteered a couple of times two or three years ago, but it’s really only been the last year or so after our daughter went off to college that I’ve been able to volunteer more often.

What are some of your responsibilities within the organization? 

Sign up, show up, and do whatever the leads point me to.

Why do you volunteer with HopeBUILDERS? 

Initially, I was looking for a way to contribute to my community, that felt more tangible than just writing a check.  I sit at a desk most of the week, and wanted to get more active and involved.  Right away, I got hooked on the “instant gratification” of being able to take a step back and look up after five or six hours work, and think ‘Wow, we just built that!  We made a difference in someone’s life today!”  Our family knows firsthand how important a ramp and other accessibility modifications can be to someone being able to stay in their home.  Plus, I get to learn a little basic carpentry skills along the way!  I’ve learned a lot, but I still have so much to learn

If you were to encourage someone else to volunteer with us, what would you say?

It’s a great way for someone of any skill level to feel like they’ve really contributed something meaningful.  Everybody there is always friendly and helpful and encouraging, and the project leaders are always especially good at showing newcomers the ropes.  You will be tired and sore at the end of the day, but you’ll be glad you did it.

Any favorite memories or projects that stand out?

I can’t single out one particular instance, but when the recipient comes out and meets us and tries out the ramp for the first time, that’s always a rewarding feeling.

What makes HopeBUILDERS different than other KC area nonprofits? 

The builds are always so well planned and organized, with plenty of tools available and leaders to guide everyone, and that really pays off in the efficiency of time and materials.