In 2004, more than 100 of Aetna’s Group Insurance employees put in more than 850 hours of hard work building the first Habitat for Humanity home in Hartford designed specifically for an individual with disabilities.
Rain or shine, they waved off pesky honey bees and teamed up to raise walls, paint ceilings and hang drywall to complete a three-bedroom house in time for the holidays.
“This project was a wonderful opportunity for us to tie Aetna’s tradition of being a good community partner with our business lines,” said Caren Kittredge, who oversaw the endeavor. “It was very gratifying was for us to help people achieve the dream of owning a house and to help their disabled family member live a full and comfortable life. It worked out so well for the family and our employees.”
For Sue Sweeney, Life Products and Services, the volunteer project was enjoyable on many levels. “It was a team effort with the people we worked with day to day, but it was a different type of work, and it was a pleasure to see tangible results and the positive impact we could have as a group.
“But far and away my strongest memory of the experience is emotional, the difference we made in the lives of a family with special needs. I’ll never forget the open house, with the family members running around looking into every nook and cranny. It was just fabulous.”
With this rewarding experience under their (tool) belts, Group Insurance employees decided to partner once again with Habitat, broadening their charitable support this year to build homes around the country.
With charitable contributions made through the Aetna Foundation, Aetna Group Insurance is the lead sponsor for four new houses to be built specifically for low-income families with a disabled or mobility-impaired member.
Kathy Lilley, Marketing Programs Manager, reports that Aetna Group Insurance employees completed homes in Portland, OR and Dallas, TX in the fall of 2005 and that work is currently underway on another home in Hartford. Additionally, employees will soon begin working on a home in Portland, ME.
She said the partnerships with Habitat for Humanity provide volunteer opportunities for Aetna employees as individuals or teams, depending upon each site’s construction schedule. Employees with no special skills can participate since volunteers work under the guidance of experienced construction supervisors.