For the fifth consecutive year Pearl Ho, along with a group of her friends, celebrated her birthday in a unique setting: on a Habitat LA build site. “I grew up in a family that believes in giving back to our community. Each year, we hold an annual family reunion weekend and we devote one of the days to community service. I wanted to start something where I could inspire and encourage my friends to get involved.” That is how Pearl’s tradition of a Birthday Build began.
For Pearl, her Birthday Builds have become much like a surprise party. “Each year it’s always exciting to arrive at a build site because we never know what state the house(s) will be in. Prior to Habitat, I had no idea what went into building a house. While I am by no means an expert, I am proud to say that I now know how to lay shingles!”
This year, 20 of Pearl’s friends joined her for the day. Many of them have participated in several of Pearl’s Birthday Builds over the years. “They all look forward to participating each year. It’s been rewarding to see the impact a Build Day can have, both on my friends and the community. It’s gotten to the point where my friends are asking me when the next Build Day is before I’ve even had a chance to set it up. But perhaps, most importantly, I have found my own way to carry on my family’s tradition of giving back.”
Pearl and her family and friends also commit to raising $5,000 to sponsor her special birthday build each year. These funds are used to cover the cost of building materials and help Habitat LA keep the purchase price down for our partner families. “One of the most interesting things I learned was that Habitat gives a hand up not a hand out. A concept that is very evident as we are often able to meet the future homeowners during our Build Days, as they work alongside us to meet their sweat equity hours.”
“One year, our group was lucky enough to have a build site right around the corner from the previous years’. A few of us that had been involved with that build made it a point to go visit and see the completed community. It was a great feeling to see it’s finished look and know that we had a part in that. It’s that rewarding feeling that I would use to describe to others why they should want to celebrate their birthday this way.”
See all the photos from the birthday build here and if you are interested in scheduling a birthday, anniversary or simply a community service build day for a group of friends please fill the form out at here: https://www.habitatla.org/get-involved/volunteer/group-volunteer-form/