Habitat Club Makes A Community Difference
• Local students make a positive difference through Habitat for Humanity.
Habitat for Humanity was established in 1976 as a nonprofit organization that provides homes for families around the world.
At Peninsula High School, students in the PVPHS Habitat for Humanity Club and others participate in the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles to work with professional construction crew members to create homes for families in need.
The club at Peninsula is advised by Mike Spalding. The board members include President Robert Peltekov, Vice President James Maeder, Secretary Lauren Kim, Treasurer Joseph Abboud and Historian Katie Seaton.
Spalding has been working with Habitat for Humanity for about seven years. He got involved through his church, St. Francis Episcopal Church Palos Verdes. He was asked to organize a build day for the church and has been organizing build days ever since for both Peninsula students and his church.
“My favorite thing about Habitat is that it is a tangible way to make a very positive impact in the world,” Spalding said. “At the end of each build day, I can see the work that our group did, and I know that we helped to improve the life of a family in need of a helping hand.”
Kim has been a part of Habitat for Humanity for two years and has helped built many houses during build days. During one build day, she refurbished an elderly woman’s home by repainting the whole outside of the house and redoing her backyard and the front of the house.
“My favorite part about going to build days is the relationships you build not only with other builders but with the idea that you are a part of the team that is creating a home for a family that truly needs it,” Kim said. “There is nothing greater than to see the final product after seven or more hours of hard work, laughs, new building skills and new friendships.”
The club’s most recent build day was Nov. 17. Twelve students participated along with the adviser, Spalding. During this particular build day, the group was able to actually build the home from the ground up. They were able to cock the perimeter of the house, put in the boards of the home with nail guns, climb up three levels of scaffolding, remove drywall and then paint the whole house.
Due to the danger of some of the equipment used during building, all participants must be at least 16 years old and only those above a certain age could handle the heavy machinery.
To document their build days, historian Seaton runs the social media account and regularly posts pictures of the club’s activities.
“I have only really been involved with the Habitat for Humanity group for a year,” Seaton said. “Last year I did my first build day and absolutely fell in love with it. It is so awesome being able to see the Panthers community come together and help out a family is such an amazing way. Also, on site, we are able to either meet the family we are helping or read an ‘About The Family’ paper. It is super cool to see how you are helping out a family.”
Club President Peltekov has been involved with the club since the start of his junior year. His duties include making sure all the requirements necessary to maintain a club at Peninsula are fulfilled.
Peltekov teaches members about the ideas and goals of Habitat for Humanity. He helps the club raise funds ahead of time to be able to donate to Habitat for Humanity once they arrive at the build location.
“My favorite part of the build days is just that we get to do something to actually make a difference,” Peltekov said. “You get to meet some members of the family that will be living in the house, and it is the coolest thing ever to see that you can actually help make a difference.”
The next build day is on Saturday, March 16, of the new year. Students who wish to help build simple, decent and affordable housing for low income families can see Spalding or any club board members.