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My time at Habitat: reflections from a Habitat Youth Apprentice

Reflections from Kallie Arenz, Community Outreach Apprentice

Habitat for Humanity welcomes Youth Apprentices from the School District of La Crosse. The Youth Apprenticeship program "integrates school-based and work-based learning to instruct students in employability and occupational skills defined by Wisconsin industries." Learn more here

In February of 2023, I reached out to Dr. Britta Rotering with the La Crosse School District in search of youth apprenticeship. We set up a time to meet and explored various options, but nothing was fitting for me until she mentioned how a fellow classmate was working for Habitat for Humanity.

At first, I was hesitant because all I knew about Habitat was how they built homes, and that was not what my interests were. However, Britta quickly explained to me how this classmate was doing advocacy work and helping with things that were not on a build site. It sounded interesting, so I said yes. Fast forward a few months. I had an interview with Kahya Fox. I remember being so nervous because I really wanted it to work out, but Kahya was insanely friendly and explained what I would be doing and who I would work with. I already felt welcome and had yet to start.  

My first week at Habitat was a little crazy. I went to a home closing, visited all the job sites Habitat had while meeting with Habitat Minnesota members, and sat down with state legislators to talk about housing issues. Throughout the craziness, everyone at Habitat for Humanity were friendly and welcoming. You could tell how much they cared about what they did, no matter how small it was. Over the past year, I have been a part of various committees, gone to conferences in other cities, and learned about topics that are not talked about in school. 

As a high schooler, I never thought this opportunity would be an option for me. However, with the help of Dr. Rotering and Kahya at Habitat, I have met so many wonderful people and felt like I was truly making an impact on our community. Everyone at Habitat has taught me so much. I am thankful that they took a chance and brought me into their organization. As I transition into my college years, I will carry with me everything that I have learned and help share Habitat for Humanity’s mission with others to help create change. 


Partner Family

Darshida has been working to become a homeowner for years. She is a passionate nurse, a dedicated mother to four boys, and a longtime La Crosse resident. After years of hard work and unforeseen obstacles, Darshida and her family moved into their new home in spring 2023.

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