Project Children in Partnership with Habitat for Humanity

Project Children has now built with the aid of interns over 30 houses as well as a homeless shelter in Helena. Project Children and Habitat for Humanity’s partnership has grown over the years and currently focuses on and reaches out to Hurricane Katrina victims of New Orleans and Mississippi. 

Habitat for Humanity 2011


Southern Hospitality & The Kindness of The Gleeson's

Carleen Hughes a Marketing Student from The University of Ulster interning at USG/ International. Greenwood Lake, New York. 


"Upon arriving in Mississippi, most of us were unsure of what to expect, as everyone had their own perceptions of Southern America, from what they had seen on Television. One thing I can say is that everyone was made to feel right at home from the minute we landed at Louis Armstrong Airport by both the staff and the locals.


Throughout our stay in Bay St. Louis, the Southern hospitality was second to none. We ate most nights at the Gleeson’s, a couple, who are great friends of Project Children. Each night, they opened up their home to us, provided a large buffet of food, and kept the drink flowing, a feast fit for a King! One of the nights we ate there, they invited their neighbors and friends to a garden party. It was amazing to meet people from different cultural backgrounds. Listening to their stories about Hurricane Katrina was extremely interesting and I think that everyone gained a further insight into what it was like to live through the conditions during that time.


We were all overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of John and Jane-Ann Gleeson.  They were lovely hosts, and made everyone feel right at home. If it weren’t for their kindness and good will, I think that our time on the building site would have been a lot tougher. 


During our time on the building site in Bay St Louis, we had the pleasure of meeting the family whose house we were building. Their positivity and optimistic outlook, after the hurricane, gave us all the determination and drive to work harder when we felt like giving up.  Overall, I definitely enjoyed my time in Mississippi, it was an experience I will never forget, and will go on to talk about for many years."


Project Children Keeps Delivering On The Gulf Coast

Danielle Neeson an English Student from Queen's University, interning at The Irish Examiner described her experience of Habitat for Humanity and her time spent in Mississippi as part of the Project Children Intern Group.


"On August 29th this year It will be six years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the southern states of Louisiana and Mississippi. Six years on, there are thousands of displaced residents still living in temporary accommodation. On June 23rd a group of twenty college students and six chaperones from the Project Children Intern Program came from across Ireland to make the journey from Belfast to New Orleans, to participate in a Habitat for Humanity project in the Bay-Waveland area of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.


The Project Children Intern Program gives a group of students the opportunity to travel to the United States each summer to spend the summer undertaking internships all over the USA in various working environments, gaining invaluable experiences to prepare them for the working world. By spending five days volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, Bay-Waveland, this was a way to show our gratitude and appreciation to the American people for their warm welcome and support.


The Project Children group was excited and eager upon discovering that they would be involved with such a prestigious organization doing something so rewarding and worthwhile, but nothing could have prepared us for the experience that lay ahead. The group came together having just met for the first time at the airport in Belfast. Through sharing such a unique and life changing experience, by the end of the week we had made lasting relationships with people we felt like we had known for years.


The week began with a Habitat for Humanity induction evening, where we met with two others groups from the United States that we would be working alongside, the Young Nak Celebration Church Group from Los Angeles and Corpus Christi Church group from New Jersey. Over the course of the week we spent the evenings socializing with the others groups and cooking for each other.


Seeing the house literally go up before our eyes gave us a great sense of achievement and it was seeing the progress that we were making, actually create something tangible that kept us keep going throughout the stifling heat. Although the experience was wholly enjoyable, there were difficulties along the way. Meeting the Anderson family that would eventually be living and raising their baby son in the house we were building and listening to their personal experiences of suffering and survival throughout the hurricane and its lasting effects was the biggest reward of all.


This experience alone was life changing but to meet a family who have lost everything and are trying to rebuild their lives around this house was humbling and at the very least an honor. I speak on behalf of the rest of the group when I say how proud and lucky I am that I had the opportunity to be involved in something so exceptional as a Habitat for Humanity building project; to work with some of the most dedicated and committed people in the country both on site and behind the scenes was a privilege and an experience I will carry with me for the rest of my life."