Q&A with Dave Iliff, Habitat volunteer coordinator for PSA since 2007
In late September 2021, a group of Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate sales associates took a break from selling homes to help build them. It wasn’t the first time members of the Patterson-Schwartz family put on their hard hats and tool belts for Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County, but it was a notable one. This most recent volunteer effort marked the first on-site Build Day since the pandemic restrictions set in early 2020 were lifted.
No one could be more proud to be back building homes than Dave Iliff. This Patterson-Schwartz Hockessin sales associate has been coordinating our local volunteer efforts for Habitat for Humanity since 2007.
Hey Dave, how did Patterson-Schwartz get involved with Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County?
I remember PSA got involved in a one-time Habitat for Humanity Build Day, and I think a year or so may have passed, but I still vividly recalled the joy I felt volunteering that day. I thought it would be a great thing for us to become more involved on a regular basis.
I have organized about 20 volunteer efforts over the years. And, even though we don’t do it for the recognition, I was proud to accept the Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Partnership through Volunteerism on behalf of Patterson-Schwartz in 2019.
Who benefits from the services that Habitat provides?
Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County builds affordable, well-constructed homes and provides interest-free loans. The homeowners-to-be, who are often trying to overcome hardships, are provided with financial education and required to work on the sites and help with the fundraising events. There is a great sense of achievement in the work they must do to qualify, and lives truly change with the help of Habitat.
I remember attending the groundbreaking and dedication ceremony of a site at Walnut Ridge in 2015. It was raining, and a young single mom who was to be one of the new homeowners gave an emotional speech at the podium. She spoke about where she had been in her life and how grateful she was to have her own home and a fresh start for her family. I will never forget that day and how she spoke from the heart. I think everyone present had tears in their eyes. I was grateful to be there for it.
What is the job of a Habitat volunteer?
As a volunteer on Build Days, you don’t necessarily need to have any skills in building. There is always something for everyone to do, and Habitat for Humanity provides all of the tools necessary for each build phase. You can even learn some new skills while on the job!
It’s not all about building. We have also volunteered with a Habitat for Humanity program known as “A Brush with Kindness,” which helps communities restore their homes and common areas. The jobs associated include anything from painting and landscaping to repairing screen doors, weather sealing homes, and more.
Why is it good to volunteer on Build Days?
In addition to helping the local community and contributing to a worthy cause, volunteering is fun! You really get to know your colleagues and fellow build mates. This last group consisted of a lot of newer PSA faces from across the company as well as some repeat volunteers. The work really appeals to everyone, and we had a great day making memories.
I have seen real passion and dedication in the people who fulfill the Habitat mission, and they are a great organization with which to partner. Whatever the job, our volunteers come away from the experience feeling inspired and proud of the work they’ve accomplished.
Together we can light the way to a better tomorrow
The PSA Foundation was created in 2001 and supports numerous local charities and organizations whose causes are close to the hearts of the Patterson-Schwartz family of sales associates, employees, and friends. We invite you to learn more about how Patterson-Schwartz is giving back to the communities where we live, work, and play, and to connect with us when you’re ready to partner with a local real estate expert.