A Brush with Kindness
Sept. 23, 2009
Caitlin Mangum, Texas Media Relations
The Longhorn football team is known for their indisputable unity on the field. Yet, this summer, several of the team's members were united for a different reason - a desire to make a difference.
A group of players spent a summer Saturday volunteering with A Brush With Kindness, Habitat for Humanity's home repairs program. The aim of A Brush With Kindness is to enhance and beautify neighborhoods in which Austin Habitat for Humanity builds homes by offering affordable exterior home improvements to qualifying non-Habitat, low-income homeowners.
"Our main families, the main demographics that we help out, are families who have lower incomes than the median, and many times they do have the money or the physical capabilities to get repairs done themselves," said Daniel Lopez, the program's construction manager. "We bring the materials and our volunteers, and in this case the UT football team is bringing the labor, and we get things done for them. It really is a great program."
OT Adam Ulatoski agreed. After hearing about the program, Ulatoski knew he wanted to be a part of A Brush With Kindness's mission and called on his teammates to volunteer.
"It's a lot of fun, first of all," Ulatoski said. "It makes you feel good to give back when you've gotten so much. I heard about the program and it just seemed like something I'd want to do, so I asked around with the other guys, and it was been great being out there with all of them."
The Longhorns, undaunted by the sweltering Texas heat, spent the day by helping with an array of home improvement repairs. Among their tasks, the players painted, repaired window trim, mended the roof and installed rain gutters.
"You can hear the guns going, the tools going, the saws going," Lopez described. "We have them all lined up with stuff. It is not complicated, but it is wonderful that they are willing and able to follow guidance. That is what makes things happen."
Lopez was also impressed by the team's enthusiasm and eagerness to contribute.
"They are willing and learning, and they always have all kinds of good questions," Lopez said. "It is great that they are willing to give their weekend to help with our mission."
OG Michael Huey was among the players who volunteered. Huey, like his teammates, was thrilled at the opportunity to help members of the Austin community.
"It's part of the Longhorn family - giving back to society," Huey said. "I just thought it would be a good chance for me to give back. It'll just be nice to see the smile on the owner's face when it's all touched up. It feels really good to do something for someone else."