During the spring of 1991, Habitat for Humanity International started an unofficial Habitat volunteer group at Seattle University that began with about 10 members. A young Molly Jester signed up, excited at the prospect of volunteering her time and getting to meet some new friends.
On their next spring break (while other students headed off to Florida and Mexico for fun in the sun) the team carpooled to Yakima to help build badly needed housing for local farm workers.
The team could immediately see that the houses in which the workers were living were sub-standard, and forcing workers to live in extremely cramped conditions. The group immediately set to work building brand new small houses for them. Right off the bat, Molly was impressed with how hard-working all the locals were as they volunteered along-side the Habitat volunteer group. Molly loved the idea of sweat equity and enjoyed getting to know all the families as they worked together on the new homes.
“It was amazing to see the gratitude people have. It’s not often you get to volunteer side-by-side with the people you are helping. A lot of our eyes were opened on the trip as well as our hearts!”
After that first Yakima trip, the team spent time volunteering for the Seattle Housing Authority and helping with home repairs. Later on, members worked converting an old church building (at Denny Place Lutheran) to a shelter for homeless teens. Molly and her fellow team members found their time building the shelter so rewarding they ended up filing an application to make the group an official Habitat for Humanity SU campus chapter. Molly was named Vice President.
After the team’s Yakima trip, an article describing its efforts appeared in a local newspaper. Molly thought this article would be a great little surprise to mail to her parents and decided to find a copy. Her fellow volunteer team member and chapter President Brian agreed to give her a ride to go pick up copies of the newspaper. Before dropping her off, Brian asked Molly out on a date, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The couple continued to date while volunteering in Yakima, ultimately tying the knot and getting married after graduating in Kirkland, WA in 1992. For Molly, these trips are particularly special memories and activities that ultimately ended up shaping the rest of her life. Here at Habitat for Humanity Seattle – King County, we couldn’t be happier for Molly and Brian and wish them all the best in the years to come.