Isabel Buckner has been a dedicated and valuable member of our family of Rebuilders for eight years. This dedication includes responding to our invitation to be interviewed while still traveling in Italy! As you’ll see from the interview, travel is a big part of Isabel’s life. Make sure to ask her about her most recent excursion at the next Block Build!
How did you hear about and get involved with Rebuilding Together Philadelphia?
In 2010, during my sophomore year at Drexel, I joined a community service organization and one of our events supported RTP. After that first taste I couldn't stop coming back. The next year I was service VP of another organization and I regularly signed us up to work on Block Builds.
What has surprised you most about working with RTP?
I think the most surprising thing about working with RTP is how quickly everyone becomes family. If you show up to even two builds a year, it's likely that someone recognizes you and can call you by name.
What, if any, skills have you learned as a volunteer?
The most exciting skill I learned was how to lay the flooring, which I really like to do. Now that I’m frequently a house captain, I really enjoy teaching others the tricks I was taught.
What do you wish other people knew about RTP?
I wish more people knew about RTP’s mission. Habitat for Humanity is a big name with a fabulous mission but keeping people warm and safe in homes they already own is an admirable mission as well. I wish others knew how much the work RTP does helps to combat gentrification as well.
Do you have a favorite memory or story as a volunteer?
I think one of my favorite memories was working in a house owned by two nurses. They tried so hard to repair their house but had been swindled on two roof repairs and had heavy water damage. Helping them was a highlight as my own parents are nurses, and I consider it one of the noblest careers.
Tell us about some of the people you’ve met while being involved with RTP.
The folks who I mentioned previously were fabulous. They had a granddaughter and they told me that their granddaughter would come over and they were so excited that after the repairs they wouldn't have to feel embarrassed or worried about having her over anymore.
There's also Stefanie Seldin who has become a bit like family. I think it's just her personality and no special connection to me, but every time I see her, I get a big hug and she asks about my life and what I'm up to. She has a way of making every volunteer feel special and I think she's really the heart and soul of RTP.
What do you like to do when you’re not volunteering?
When I'm not volunteering, I love to travel! I took a family vacation to Arizona with my parents this year. I also took a solo trip to Austria and took quite a few work trips to various locations around the globe. It's wonderful to see different cultures and expand your views on the world and other people.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
Someone would probably be surprised to know that May is the only month in 2018 that I did not enter an airport. Again, I love to travel, and I sure got to do it a lot this year!
Thank you, Isabel!