Handing over the keys

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One of my favourite moments from my experience in the Hero Holiday program in the Dominican was house dedication day. It is the day where the family gets the keys to their new home. I was honoured to write and say a speech with Kardy (one of the DR interns), and to hand the keys over to the family. It was so incredible to be given that opportunity to hand the keys over so they can begin the newest chapter in their lives.

It was extremely difficult to try and get all of the thoughts in my head onto paper to write the speech. Once we had one idea everything just kind of flowed together. Being able to hand the keys over to the family was one of the most rewarding moments I have ever experienced. The smiles on their faces lit up the community and were contagious.

As much as we like to think we have helped these families, they have also helped us find a new meaning in our lives. They have inspired us to continue on this journey of helping people and doing whatever we can to make someone’s life a little bit easier.

I know I can speak for everyone when I say house dedication day is something you will never forget. It shows that all the hard work we put in that week actually made a significant impact on the family’s life. It was the most unbelievable feeling and something I will never forget.


Danica ~ Hero Holiday Volunteer July 2013



House Dedication was one of the best parts of the trip, and that’s saying something considering the entire trip was amazing. You could tell everyone’s excitement levels were high and the families were all smiles, awaiting the dedication to start. Prior to arriving at the work site, I had the pleasure of writing the dedication speech with Janice. It was tough to put all the thoughts we had into strings and make sentences, but we got through it and were actually quite proud of what we came up with.

On the bus ride over, we had lyrics to the song “Lean on Me”, which we were going to sing to the family after the translators and contractors had been thanked for their hard work. The song was a great choice, and although the family couldn’t understand the lyrics when we sang it, the look on their faces when Junior translated Kevin’s summary were priceless. In that moment, it was so clear how thankful they were for us and their new home, and how thankful we were for them and the relationships and experiences we had gotten. It was an amazing moment to share with some of the most wonderful people I know.


After everyone had been thanked, and the song had been sung and translated, Janice and I were called up to read the speech that we had prepared. It was a little long compared to the others’, but there was just so much we wanted to say. Reading the speech without crying was definitely hard, but so worth it, because I could tell how taken aback the family was with how we felt, and how we learned so much from them and their community. It just goes to show how much everyone still has to learn, and how much we can learn from each other. Once we were done speaking, I got to hand the keys to Francis. The smile on his face, and the hugs I received from the family afterwards, were ones I will never forget.

Each of the house dedications was special in it’s own way, between the songs that were sung and the relationships that were talked about and shared. It was great to see each dedication and catch a glimpse of the connections between the other teams and their families. Once the dedications were finished, everyone had a chance to look around the houses and then it was time to say goodbye. It was hard to part ways with the people we had come to know so well in such a short time, but I’m sure the unique individuals, the relationships we made and the community will always hold a special place in our hearts. 


Sarah ~ Hero Holiday Volunteer July 2013

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: August 2nd, 2013