January 22, 2024 | Alexa Johnson
Sophia Tortorice is a New Construction Crew Leader AmeriCorps at Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region. She is from a small town outside of Houston, Texas, and attended Texas A&M University. What encouraged Sophia to join AmeriCorps was the idea of trying something new and getting out of her comfort zone. She did not have any previous experience with construction work and although she knew it would be challenging, she was willing to give it a shot.
A typical day in the life for Sophia looks like this; leaving the apartment with her AmeriCorps partner around 7:00am and picking up the necessary supplies for the day, either from our warehouse or Home Depot, then making it to the build site between 7:30-8:00am. If it’s a day where there will be volunteers then Sophia has to make sure all the tools are laid out for them to grab and each volunteer gets signed in. On a more relaxed day where there are no volunteers and it is just Sophia, her partner and their supervisor, then they manage the day’s tasks on their own. From framing to painting, to everything else in between Sophia has learned all the ins-and-outs regarding how to build a house. These are skills you learn by experiencing first hand how to use tools on the job site and from the instruction of the site supervisor.
The most rewarding part about being an AmeriCorps for Habitat has been interacting with all the different volunteers.
“Many people have not worked construction before so my duty is to help them learn how to do things. From the beginning of the day to the end of the day I get to watch people grow into their confidence using various tools and feel accomplished when they successfully hammer walls together, it is a really cool experience,” Sophia said.
The connections she has made over the last 10 months have been abundant and has offered her networking opportunities she may not have had otherwise.
If there is any advice she would give to prospective AmeriCorps members it would be to think critically as to why you want to join the program. Some aspects to her work can be challenging but what gets her through the hard times is knowing that the work she is doing has a purpose.
“We are out here everyday building homes for families but also setting the foundation to bettering the neighborhoods around us. It all starts with affordable housing solutions, which leads to the revitalization of communities that so desperately need equal opportunities and resources” she said.
Find out more about what you can gain from experiencing an AmeriCorps term at Habitat Charlotte Region!