Lending a Helping Hand

Lending a Helping Hand
Having the opportunity to be in a position to truly help someone is a rare occasion. Here at the Derby Museum we spend every day helping our guests to share in the Kentucky Derby experience. Many of our staff get the chance to interact with the public and feel the reward of helping others while the rest of us work behind the scenes to provide a great experience.

As a group we decided that we wanted to work together to do something to make an impact in our community. While there are many wonderful volunteer organizations in Louisville, we chose to participate in Habitat for Humanity. This organization works with families in need to provide affordable housing in the Louisville area. The houses come together with the support of generous donors and volunteers who work alongside the families receiving the home. Each family that receives a home is required to work 400 hours on their house or another. (for more information about the Louisville chapter of Habitat for Humanity click here)

We arrived ready to be put to the test. Since we weren't told what job we were going to be assigned to, we came prepared and it was an odd experience to see my coworkers out of uniform and dressed to get dirty. I looked around the room at boards with many names of contributors & our Habitat coordinator had wonderful stories to share about each. The experience is so rewarding that some groups get together each year to donate time or money to Habitat for Humanity. We were told the house we were going to be working on was the second house donated by a very generous family. We all smiled & sighed relief when she said we were going to work on an almost finished job site and our duty was landscaping. We pictured ourselves sitting in the soft earth with a tiny hand shovel, planting flowers for the new homeowners.

We left the headquarters and made our way to the new home construction. As we approached we could see large piles of rock, dirt and construction debris and we all realized our visions of planting geraniums were incorrect. The house was to be dedicated to the family in a ceremony that afternoon which meant everything had to go and the site needed some TLC.

Happily we got to work moving wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of cement & earth to the dumpster. Our team of 7 women were shoveling and sweating in the sun to get this job done and we were determined to finish on time. When the large lot was level, we proceeded to the landscaping part of our duties. We finally got our plants in the ground and spread new grass seed on the lot. When we were finished, the house looked beautiful and we all stood back to admire the home. It was the best looking house in the neighborhood and we knew our sweat was going to be appreciated when the new owners saw how great it looked.

We may have been exhausted when we returned to their headquarters but we were so grateful to be able to share this experience. Our team will always remember how it felt to step back and look at the finished house and realize how the family will feel when they first lay eyes on their new home.

Amanda Brown Design Manager, Kentucky Derby Museum