Habitat for Humanity volunteer spotlight: Maddie Van Duzer


Maddie Van Duzer was the crew leader for 12 young adults participating in the AmeriCorps NCCC program who spent 12 weeks on the Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta County build sites in the summer of 2023. 

When volunteering for disaster recovery and repair in Houston, Texas, Van Duzer learned how to do flooring and painting. 

Halfway through volunteering for the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa County in Miami, Okla., Van Duzer was promoted to team leader for the crew at Habitat Archuleta.

“My prior experience with AmeriCorps gave me a better appreciation for the work that Habitat, and other nonprofits similar to Habitat, do,” Van Duzer said. “To be completely honest, I was never a handy person, I had never done construction prior to those restoration projects.”

Van Duzer said being in the AmeriCorps position gave her insight into the attainable homeownership challenges in Pagosa Springs. 

“I feel like a lot of people have a misconception of what Habitat does,” she said. “That they just give away homes, and that’s not the case.” 

Van Duzer described that a normal day involved the crew splitting into different projects in the morning and being guided by the construction supervisor or regular volunteers.

Van Duzer noted that most of her team had “little to no experience.”

“That’s the good thing about AmeriCorps,” she said. “After a day or two of teaching and watching from the other volunteers, they kind of took it from there. It was all about patience and learning on the job.”

Van Duzer said that on their days off and after work, the crew also volunteered at the food pantry. She added that AmeriCorps requires its crews to do three days of “physical training.”

“We’d often play basketball at the [PLPOA] rec center,” she said. “We’d go swimming, utilize the gym there. It was such a nice thing to have.” 

Van Duzer said the team participated in further service learning when it wasn’t on the Habitat Archuleta build sites. The team especially enjoyed its time at Chimney Rock National Monument, she noted.

It also spent time perusing the Pagosa Springs downtown, attended the Fourth of July parade and got to take a hot air balloon ride. 

“It was a great experience, and I do really appreciate the experience I got through Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta County,” Van Duzer said. “It was an amazing time … Seeing the beautiful nature and parks out there opened my world view.”

For more information on how to get involved at Habitat Archuleta or join our volunteers on our build sites, call (970) 264-6960 or email office@habitatarchuleta.org. We are also recruiting local businesses and organizations to make “Cameos” on our sites for a consecutive Friday and Saturday. Contact us to learn more.