For the past four years, Joan-Marie Burns has been a dedicated volunteer for Habitat for Humanity International. She has given over 3,000 hours of her time to fund raising, traveling, speaking, and building homes. She has volunteered with the construction of more than 30 homes and has done everything from framing houses to shingling roofs, hanging sheet rock, mixing concrete, tiling floors, landscaping, installing siding, and raising trusses.
Burns has participated in building homes in Georgia, Florida, California, Costa Rica, Antigua, and Guatemala. She has traveled with Habitat’s President and Founder Millard Fuller and has been endorsed by former President Jimmy Carter, Habitat’s most famous volunteer, regarding her work for Habitat. She has personally raised in excess of $75,000 for Habitat by organizing over 15 fundraisers. Some of the activities include: selling gingerbread houses and cookies, candy bars, and Easter hams, inviting children to Putt-Putt to sign boards to be used in building homes, displaying donation boxes around towns, having yard sales, raffling off a Habi-tot playhouse, raffling off a children’s bookshelf, and producing and directing a Mr. Habitat Contest. Burns has illustrated children’s coloring pages that teach the mission of Habitat and has produced two promotional videos that she uses for speaking engagements.
She has filmed three public service announcements (PSAs) and six radio PSAs. The television PSAs have appeared in more than 200,000 homes. At this time, Burns has logged in excess of 20,000 miles for Habitat. In Fresno, California, she spent two weeks on a Global Village work project building homes with a group of eight other people. While in Costa Rica, she built homes and attended a breakfast for International Habitat Board Members. In Antigua, she was part of a meeting of International partners for Habitat. Her trip to Guatemala was very eventful as she attended and was part of the celebration for the 10,000th Habitat Home Dedication in the country.
She has spread her volunteerism internationally. One of Burns’s most recent honors is that she has been named an Official National Spokesperson for Habitat’s Women Build program. Women Build focuses on women helping women get their children out of poverty. Burns will be traveling to Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Kentucky in March. She has been featured on the cover of a regional magazine and her volunteer work has been recognized in numerous newspapers and publications.