A new helping hand

Roxy Volk brought a background in real estate and community involvement to the Habitat for Humanity-Northern Lights chapter when she stepped in as its executive director June 15.

She is heading up the chapter’s 10th home-build and its first project since 2011.

Volk said the chapter is looking for both construction volunteers and family applicants for the three-bedroom house being remodeled on Valley Street. The chapter purchased the house from the City of Minot. Although not affected by the 2011 flood, the house needs work, and the chapter is seeking volunteers who want to be part of making those improvements.

“I am kind of excited. I like the fact that it’s an existing property rather than new construction for my first house,” Volk said. She expects to be hands-on in the remodeling process and recently pitched in to mow the overgrown yard.

Volunteering comes naturally to Volk.

As a Minot Realtor, the Bottineau native was involved in various organizations and activities related to real estate and business while working in the industry. She also has experience in “flipping,” or remodeling homes for resale. For the past 16 years, she has done sales work that has involved extensive travel.

She volunteers for the Mid-Dakota Chapter of the American Red Cross, participates with the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce and this year was recognized for 25 years on the North Dakota State Fair Parade Board.

“That’s been one of my passions,” she said of the parade. This year was the first year that she has helped build a float, though. She assisted in putting together a Coldwell Banker and Habitat for Humanity float for the parade.

Volk said she wants the Northern Lights chapter to get back into the swing of things after seeing volunteers drift away following the flood. So many people turned their attention to helping flood victims rebuild, and Volk herself was involved in those efforts even as recently as this past summer.

Along with reviving the chapter’s volunteer base, Volk is working to get the word out about the latest Habitat for Humanity project to potential home applicants. Applicants must meet qualifications for income, be currently living in substandard housing and be able to financially take over financing of a house, although purchase cost is reduced by the amount of donated labor and materials. More details are listed on Northern Lights’ website at (www.minothabitat.org).

Eligibility is based on 80 percent of median Ward County income, which varies depending on family size. The county’s median income has been rising so people who haven’t qualified in the past might want to look into the program again, Volk said.

“It’s a hand-up and not a hand-out,” Volk said of the program. “You have to have the financial means to pay for the house and be able to donate 200 hours of sweat equity.”

Northern Lights also is accepting financial donations toward the project. Fundraising and community awareness are two aspects of her job that Volk is just beginning to tackle. The chapter also will be educating its new homeowners on home ownership, and Volk plans to initiate a chapter newsletter.

Most of her time in her first two months has been spent on the house build, including laying the groundwork for a rebuild day on Sept. 24.

Volunteers interested in helping can email the Northern Lights office at minot.habitat@hotmail.com or call 852-9799. Future builds are planned once a month, although volunteer groups are welcome to arrange for additional work days.

Northern Lights also is looking for at least a few more members for its board, which currently has five members. Any Ward County resident who would like to help can email or call for more information. Volk said the board would like to continue its schedule of completing a build project about every 1-1/2 years.

Northern Lights was established in 1997. Volk replaces long-time director Larry Zirtzman.

Habitat for Humanity’s strong national reputation and support tools for its local affiliates gives her a good feeling about her new position, Volk said. However, the opportunity to be part of a worthwhile service in the community was enough to sway her to take the job.

“The humanitarian side of it really brings me joy,” Volk said. “I like to see meaningful things happen.”

She’s also eager to see the smiles and excitement of her first Habitat family when they move into the Valley Street house.

“Home ownership really does give you a sense of self worth,” she said.

(Prairie Profile is a weekly feature profiling interesting people in our region. We welcome suggestions from our readers. Call Regional Editor Eloise Ogden at 857-1944 or Managing Editor Kent Olson at 857-1939. Either can be reached at 1-800-735-3229. You also can send e-mail suggestions to mdnews@minotdailynews.com.)