Andy Rubio stumbled upon the Americorps internship program in search of employment after moving to Tucson, Arizona from Texas. He is a soon-to-be architect who aspires to surpass the standards set by Frank Lloyd Wright. He hopes to one day start his own architectural firm that centers around the preservation and incorporation of nature in the common home.
Andy, What drew you to volunteering with Habitat Tucson through AmeriCorps?
The opportunity to learn more about the process of how to build a house is what really pulled me to take up this position.
What work have you done during your time here at Habitat Tucson? Is there anything you are most proud of?
I’ve done just about as much as I’m shown and allowed to do. From framing to finishing work, if anyone needs me to lend a hand, I’m more than happy to help. I remember being asked to help flip the trusses on to a house. I felt like a little kid in a huge new jungle gym! The precision and accuracy was mesmerizing and the force yet delicacy was what was the most exciting about helping out there.
But what I’m most proud of is the fact that I’ve even been offered to go full time staff with Habitat Tucson. Though I would like to finish off the full service term before accepting that position.
What’s it like working with Habitat volunteers?
Everyday it’s something new, and meeting a wide range of people is always fun.
What’s the best part about volunteering with Habitat Tucson? Do you have a favorite memory?
Really it’s the cohesiveness of the staff that makes my position enjoyable. I am really grateful for the relationships I’ve formed with the individuals on site. My favorite memory would have to be the mentorship I’ve experienced. When I could have done something different or better, my seniors are always willing to offer their advice and, ironically, being told not only what I can improve on, but how I can improve it, is what I appreciate the most about being in the position I’m in.
Tell us a little about your experience with the homeowners.
They’re always so willing to handle whatever task they’re assigned. I don’t think I’ve ever met a homeowner who was upset from being there. I can really tell how grateful they are to just have this opportunity and that makes me even more grateful to have been offered this as an opportunity… even more so to have been able to actually take this opportunity.
Why do you think a safe place to call home matters?
I think it’s helpful to know there’s a place you can go to at the end of the day, and feel like you can actually relax and be yourself. Everyone needs their personal space to sit and reflect on the day so they can process how they’re feeling about their day, relationships, job or anything that involves them in life. One needs that safe place to evaluate with a clear head how they’re going to react to life for their best interest.
Habitat’s mission is to make the world a more just and compassionate place, through affordable homeownership. Why does Habitat’s mission matter to you?
Because I want to extend that compassion to the earth. They say the essentials for human survival are food and shelter. But shelter from the elements has isolated society from nature, and I want to reconnect the two. I believe that if humans work with the environment they’re living in by allowing nature in your living space, they can yield a more substantial quality of life for more people. As the saying goes, “the earth provides” but not if we don’t let it.
What does home mean to you?
A home is a place where one knows they can be themselves and are free to express the love they have for anything and everything.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I would just like to say how grateful I am to be in the position I’m in. I am extremely grateful to all those who have supported me through patience, guided me through mentorship, and helped me through kindness.