‘The biggest hearts’ How one HSC student organization was recognized for its community service

By Steven Bartolotta

HSC student volunteers stand outside for Habitat For Humanity houseThe Habitat for Humanity at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth received the 2021 Trinity Habitat Golden Heart Award from the Trinity Habitat for Humanity.

Students from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) recently stepped forward and volunteered to help the organization paint houses in low-income areas of Fort Worth. Their work is an example of the volunteer spirit that starts at HSC from the first day students set foot on campus.

Elizabeth Tejada, the volunteer coordinator for Trinity Habitat, recently stopped by one of the houses to present the HSC team with the Golden Heart Award. The award honors a different group each year for its dedication to serving Habitat families.

We chose UNTHSC Habitat for Humanity for this award because they are selfless leaders,” said Tejada. “They have the biggest hearts of services and dedicated countless hours to volunteering to help our Habitat mission through volunteering on our build sites and events like our Cowtown Brush Up. We are so grateful to the young men and women who take time out of their hectic school and work schedules to dedicate time towards our mission. We could not do the work we do without great volunteers like UNTHSC Habitat for Humanity.”

About 60 TCOM students volunteered their time as part of the Cowtown Brush Up in Fort Worth.

We feel so humbled and honored, and we’re excited to continue our partnership with Trinity Habitat,” said TCOM second-year student Jessie Wagner, President of Habitat for Humanity at HSC.

Twice a year, the Trinity Habitat for Humanity partners with the City of Fort Worth and volunteers to help families in need of assistance do minor exterior rehabs and give their home a fresh coat of paint.

“These types of events are so beneficial to the community,” said Wagner. “For this Cowtown Brush Up specifically, volunteers were responsible for repainting 50 homes in lower-income neighborhoods throughout Fort Worth. By utilizing a mass of volunteers, Habitat is able to help beautify neighborhoods at a much lower cost.

Originally, the HSC group had volunteered two teams for the event, but at the last minute, another team had dropped out, but an additional 20-25 TCOM volunteers came forward to fill the void. The students ended up painting three houses during the day. A total of 50 homes were painted in Fort Worth.

Many of the homes belong to elderly residents who are often on fixed incomes. The volunteer work by the students puts a smile on their faces while also providing a helping hand.

“Many of these homeowners are elderly and their access to such services is limited,” Wagner said. “One of the homeowners we worked with this weekend had recently lost her son, whom she had relied upon for taking care of things around her house, so this event was of particular importance to her. Our volunteers went out of their way to do a few other things around the yard for her while we were there. As we were leaving, she came out of the house to tell me how grateful she was for our help and how happy it made her to see us all smiling and laughing throughout the day while we worked on the house.”

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