As an Intern, working with the “From House to Home” project has been my dream. I have gained so much experience through its production and helping a family like the Birdwells is the cherry to top it. As I return to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to continue my journey as a college student, I cannot help to reflect on all of the progress that has been made since the beginning of this journey.
If you asked every person involved where “the beginning” of this project was, I am positive that you would get several different answers. For me, the beginning was not that first phone call on a Sunday night or when the first hammer was swung inside the house. This project did not impact me strongly when I had my first conversation about it, I thought of it as my job.
My “beginning” was when Anthony Jr., the Birdwell’s youngest, was restless and crying in our studio one afternoon. I had not even introduced myself to the family, but when I walked into the room, he came up to me and wanted me to pick him up, and I could not resist. Anthony, better known by his nickname “bug”, instantly became a happy little boy. We then became friends, and he was attached to me for the remainder of the afternoon. That day I not only connected with a two year old boy, but I saw the real meaning of this project. It is not just my job; it is my honor to take part in helping this family.
This past week, The City of Rockford proclaimed the week of August 18th, 2014 to be “From House to Home Week.” That very same day when construction commenced, there were 50 volunteers on site. Each day of construction, there are countless local organizations and businesses that are also volunteering their time and talents on the site.
The proclamation of “From House to Home” week is so much more than the project itself. Don’t get me wrong, the week does commemorate the Birdwell family and their journey, as well as all of the work being done to this house in order to make it into a home. However, the meaning of the week cannot simply stop there. It is hundreds, maybe even thousands, of simple “beginnings”. Whether it be an email, phone call, meeting, signing up on a volunteer sheet, or simple conversation in a local gym, there is a beginning for each and every person that has touched this project, much like myself.
This is why I stress, as you remember the week of August 18th, 2014, to not remember it by just its name. That day, Anthony Jr. made me rethink my involvement on this project, and truly made a lasting impact on my life. It is not always the big picture that we should be looking at, but all of the simple “beginnings” that make the big picture possible.