Written by: Saffron, Habitat Student Ambassador. Earlier this month, Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco kicked off Pride Month with our annual Stephen Blake Jacoby Memorial Build with Pride event in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco. We hold this annual day of service to honor the memory of our founder, Stephen Jacoby, and in celebration of Pride.
This year’s Build with Pride was a green space beautification event that took place at the Quesada Gardens, a beautiful strip of vegetation that runs down Quesada Street, and the Bridgeview Garden that sits above a yellow and orange mural a couple blocks away.
Over the weekend, about 40 people from the Bayview neighborhood and elsewhere in the city gathered on Quesada Street to help with the beautification of the neighborhood. Volunteers arrived on Saturday morning, spirits high in the bright sunshine. The morning was dedicated to weeding and clearing the gardens to make space for more plants and increase mobility for gardeners throughout the space. We were excited to see so many volunteers from different neighborhoods and backgrounds come together in celebration of our diverse community.
Here are some dedicated volunteers who came out to volunteer at Build with Pride!
Brian has been a San Francisco resident for almost 30 years. He first got connected with Habitat Greater San Francisco about 10 years ago when he was building houses in Daly City. The build was through an organization that partners with Habitat, Thrivent Financial, which is a non-profit Christian organization that offers insurance and financial services.
Do you have any favorite memories with Habitat?
“I think the first time we turned over the keys for a house dedication—a house warming. It was Christmas time and so the whole group helped decorate the house for Christmas and then we turned over the keys and it was pretty emotional. For a family to move in right at Christmas time and for them to know they had their own home, it was pretty special.”
Sarah has been interning for Google this summer. She decided to volunteer for Habitat Greater San Francisco, which she found through Google Serve, an event that connects Google employees with volunteer projects. Sarah also heard about Habitat through the Gayglers community, which she describes as “LGBTQ+ Googlers.” She was especially excited about the Build with Pride project because her grandmother loved to garden.
Why did you get involved in Habitat?
“I’ve volunteered for other things before but never this. But it’s fun and I want to make change. I was like you know what? I definitely want to do this, and it’s a way to celebrate Pride and actually do good.”
Veronique grew up in South Florida and moved to San Francisco last year. She relocated for work but also loves California, particularly San Francisco. Veronique works in construction and enjoys hiking and exploring the city and its outdoors in her free time.
She had volunteered with Habitat when she lived in Florida and liked the organization. Since moving to the Bay Area, Veronique had been meaning to find a volunteer opportunity. When she found out that Habitat’s Greater San Francisco chapter had a Build with Pride event coming up, she was especially interested. Veronique felt compelled to sign up and bring some of her coworkers. She likes building homes because it is similar to her construction work. She also enjoys gardening.
Have you had a favorite memory with Habitat so far?
“I think every build that I’ve been to has been really great, and they’re all really different. It’s fun to meet new people or to go with your friends.”
Join at our next volunteer event!
About Build with Pride
Habitat for Humanity’s San Francisco chapter was started by Stephen Jacoby, a Navy and commercial airline pilot. He met former First Lady Rosalynn Carter on a flight between San Francisco and Newark. After Stephen expressed his gratitude toward First Lady Carter for her support of Habitat, she inspired Stephen to open a chapter in San Francisco, the last major US city without a Habitat affiliate.
At the time, Habitat was a Christian organization, so it was unclear how its religious mission would be inclusive of San Francisco's diverse population with a variety of religions and sexual orientations. Stephen, himself, was gay. He was determined to start a chapter of Habitat that included all people. He passed away that year from AIDS-related complications, but his legacy lives on through the organization as a supporter of both Habitat’s cause and people that identify as LGBTQ+.