In our community, there’s barely a student, parent, or local resident who Elizabeth Yaffe hasn't worked with in some way. The English teacher has been working at Hamden Middle School since 2008, making friends and helping families in many ways.
Soon the 29-year-old educator will travel across the world to assist a small village in Fiji that has seen devastating times since early this year.
Yaffe praises to her job as a teacher in Hamden.
“I have always been passionate about learning and I find it rewarding to help people through difficult times. Middle school can be tough!” she exclaims.
Growing up in a military family, Yaffe lived in several different states and countries, and through those life experiences, she said she found herself appreciative of diverse cultures and driven to make a positive impact in the world.
Yaffe volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and learned about their Global Village trips online. With a flexible summer schedule, she decided to volunteer for Habitat somewhere that desperately needed assistance.
After filling out an online application, she ended up on a Fiji trip that will be led by Enzo Repola. Her team will operate out of the west side of Viti Levu, the largest of the Fiji islands.
This part of Fiji is not frequently subject to hurricanes and cyclones, but that was not the case earlier this year. Last January, March, and one more time at the beginning of April, torrential rain flooded the area, leaving an estimated 8,000 people homeless and severely damaged the crops.
When Yaffe's crew departs in July, it will be in the middle of the dry season and "everyone will do their part to rebuild homes and lives," she said.
Yaffe and her team members are collecting donations for building supplies. To make a donation, visit http://share.habitat.org/fiji2012repolateam6.
To make a difference locally, visit the Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven website -- they are always looking for volunteers, needy families and charitable contributions.
Just recently, Habitat; the application process is now closed, and soon a family will reside in this beautiful new home.