Dale – Volunteer Spotlight!
Dale has been an invaluable and faithful Volunteer Budget Tutor for over 14 years and has also served Knoxville Habitat as a build sponsor and volunteer through his church and Knoxville Habitat Covenant Partner, St. John’s Lutheran Church.
To understand Dale’s importance to the Knoxville Habitat ministry is to understand how he changes the lives of countless families in Knox County every week. Over the last dozen years, he has taught a Fiscal Responsibility class, a weekly budget class designed and required for families in the Knoxville Habitat homeownership education program.
It is required of every family in the Knoxville Habitat program to take the Fiscal Responsibility class for one full year as part of their required 500 “sweat equity” hours achieved that then allows them to build and purchase their Habitat home. This class helps to ensure that families can successfully manage their finances and mortgage once becoming first-time homeowners.
When families talk about their best and most impactful experiences while in the Knoxville Habitat program, they often talk about Dale’s dedication to their success, his influence on their lives and how he empowers them to succeed. It’s not unusual for Dale to be at a dedication service (the celebration of a Habitat home completion) and be welcomed by emotionally-moved homeowners thanking him for all he did to change their lives and help them achieve the American Dream.
A future homeowner currently in the Knoxville Habitat program credits Dale with helping her quickly walk away from a cash advance company taking advantage of her financial situation by developing a budget and a payoff plan that has now resulted in her becoming debt-free! This is just one of the myriad of stories about how Dale helps families overcome financial struggles and change their future for generations to come.
In an interview with WATE’s Kristen Farley, Dale talks about serving families in the Knoxville Habitat program: “Many of them come in and have no idea how much money they spend in a day’s time, or what they spend it on. And basically, what we do is go through all their income and all their expenses, and we balance it out every single week … and they really learn from it.”
Dale also says that he’s been volunteering 100% of his time to the Knoxville Habitat program for so many years because he “loves it” and believes so much in the program. “It’s not a handout, it’s a hand up, and people really build their self-esteem … you really see a change in people.”
A research project conducted by Mira Hanna, MSW, UT College of Social Work reports on many of those changes with outcomes and impacts of Knoxville Habitat budget classes, including:
- More stability for families: More than 90% of Knoxville Habitat families report feeling better about their future and their children’s futures than they did before completing the education program and becoming homeowners. 79% report they continue to live on the budget they learned to develop in their education program.
- A family’s sense of dignity and pride grows: Habitat homeowners reveal a 45% decrease in the use of public assistance programs, and over 55% of our family homeowners report they save more money since becoming homeowners.
Dale serves the community through other organizations as well, including the UTK Tyson House Student Foundation and ministry through his church.