Davis Dawson, 17, of Concord, N.C., a junior at Jay M. Robinson High School, raised more than $43,000 and led the efforts of over 200 volunteers to build a new house for a single mother and her four children through Habitat for Humanity. A Boy Scout since first grade, Dawson was looking for a way to make a lasting impact on his community when he came up with the idea of building a house. "Five years ago, my dad began working for Habitat for Humanity," said Davis. "Seeing his positive attitude toward Habitat and his job of serving others on a daily basis inspired me." Typically, Davis said, the construction of a new Habitat home costs $70,000. Raising such a large amount seemed like a daunting task until he learned his city would donate half the funds if he supplied the rest.
So Davis got busy fundraising and planning his project. He passed out flyers, networked with people in his community, created a website to explain his plan, and contacted local media to get the word out. He researched and applied for grants, made calls to 15 subcontractors, solicited donations of supplies and equipment from businesses, and helped recruit volunteers. After construction of the home started late last August, Davis and his large crew were on the job site every Saturday, working to enable a mother and her children to move from substandard housing into a new, clean, safe, and energy-efficient home of their own. Just in time for the holidays, Davis and his crew laid down their tools and welcomed the family into their new home. "I get cold chills from knowing how this project will go to serve her and her family for years to come," said Davis.