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Clemson Student Gains New Skills, New Perspective

Prior to her first volunteer project, the only thing Alexis knew about construction was how to hammer a nail. After receiving her group’s assignment from Rebuild Upstate—to demolish a porch and build a brand new ramp in a day—the Clemson sophomore couldn’t fathom how they would complete it.


“I remember being overwhelmed. I thought there was no way our group was going to build an entire ramp in one day, especially with people like myself in the group who barely knew anything about construction.”

Alexis was amazed at how helpful the site manager’s patient instruction was that day. The group was able to successfully complete the project. Three projects later, Alexis knows how to read a level, drill holes, and safely operate a table saw.


The new skills have only been a small part of her experience, however.

“During my most recent project, there was a significant amount of frustration, because we were trying to level the ground to create a patio landing for the ramp out of cement blocks. Every time we got one section of the ground level, something else would be wrong. It felt like cutting the head off a hydra.”

Alexis took a break and wound up speaking with the homeowner her group was serving.

“I got to spend a bit of time talking to her and her dog, and it really reminded me why I was there. Sure the project might be frustrating, but it was nothing compared to what she was dealing with. The overwhelming feeling of satisfaction when we finally finished the patio—and knowing that it would eventually help her gain some normalcy—made it worth it.”

Alexis reflects that before her involvement with Rebuild Upstate, she had no knowledge of the number of homeowners in need of crucial home repairs in our area. Her eyes have been opened to the fact that a safe entrance to a home can make a complete difference in a homeowner’s mental and physical health.


“People will look at those houses and just see a ramp, but for the people who need them, it’s a way of maintaining their health. For you, it’s just a Saturday, but for them, it’s every moment that they can now easily get in and out of their home. I’ve met people who struggled to leave home because they felt like they were burdening their loved ones. For them, a ramp is the first step back towards independence.”

When’s Your Next Free Saturday?

Grab a group of friends or coworkers and make a difference in a homeowner’s life. Get Involved

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