Aaron Good’s first day volunteering on the build site may have been the worst weather he’s seen yet—pouring rain and 33 degrees in January of 2016, it was a tangible reminder that Habitat builds houses in all kinds of weather. He took it in stride; to Aaron, it was just a part of the package. Knowing that his hard work as a volunteer was helping a local family purchase their own affordable home was enough to warm the harshest Pacific Northwest winter day.
Aaron’s passion for giving back extends in many directions.
“I thought about the things in the world that are important to me, where I believe my strengths are, and how I want to grow and learn,” shared Aaron. I took the intersection of all of those and determined where to put my energy.”
He began volunteering his time—at a suicide crisis line, leading environmental restoration groups, packing food at the Oregon Food Bank—ultimately, finding a niche at Habitat.
As a regular construction volunteer, Aaron’s list of projects completed with Habitat is extensive. Over the years, he lent his hand at multiple build sites, doing anything from framing and sheathing walls, to landscaping and building handrails. Grateful for the Habitat staff members that have taught him “a great deal about the large and small of every bit of construction”, Aaron also credits other dedicated regular construction volunteers for contributing significantly to his carpentry skills. Learning these new skills prepped him for the task of renovating an old, dilapidated country farmhouse he purchased.
“When I’m working with a team on framing walls or sheathing, I really love the rhythm and nonverbal communication that allows us to operate as one large carpenter-y organism.”
Aaron also touches upon the fact that growing up in a stable home greatly improves the chances that a child will graduate high school. In fact, the high school graduation rate of children who grew up in a Habitat home is 92%, exceeding Oregon’s high school graduation rate by 17%. As a Habitat volunteer, Aaron directly contributes to Habitat’s vision of creating a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
“I really love the idea that building these homes will help a family raise their children in a safe, secure, and stable environment, so they can have stability in their schooling as well.”
Aaron is a psychotherapist and career counselor in private practice, where he helps people find meaning and purpose in their lives and occupations. In the future, he hopes to develop his practice, as well as use the skills he’s learned at Habitat to build a counseling retreat center at his farm in the country. And for as long as he is able, he intends to volunteer his time at least once a week. Outside of Habitat, he currently volunteers weekly at the William Temple House, a low-cost community counseling clinic in NW Portland. To Aaron, it boils down to being grateful; “I feel lucky to have been born in my body, with my talent, in my family, in this country, with all of the opportunities given to me. The world has given me so much; I think it’s vital that I give something of myself.”
To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East, click here.