By Kate Atwood

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and that means it’s a great month to celebrate some of our community’s biggest givers, our moms.  I had the privilege of connecting with an Atlanta mom who is giving back to our community by building homes inside and out.

Chris Nort is a mother of three and a devoted Habitat for Humanity volunteer. In 2002, she founded the Marist Women’s Build in partnership with Habitat Atlanta, bringing together the women and moms of the Marist School community to build homes for local families. This May, Chris and the women of Marist are completing their 12th house together. That’s a dozen families in Atlanta that now own a home because of Chris and her friends. In honor of Mother’s Day, Chris took time to share about how she is Living by Giving.

On volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.

My first experience with Habitat was the first Marist Women’s Build project in 2002.  Habitat for Humanity reminds us of the simplest and most basic needs in our community:  safe and affordable housing.  Any volunteer who builds a Habitat home alongside the proud owner will be moved by their gratitude, their hope for a better future and their determination to succeed in home ownership. The entire experience only makes you want to build more.

On being a mom and a volunteer.

Nothing puts my petty woes and wants into perspective better than helping parents that I meet through Habitat for Humanity realize their dreams of a better life for their children.  My daughter and her friends have joined me on several builds and my son has helped to serve lunch to the volunteers. It’s great for them to see how important volunteering is in my life.  As a mom, I hope my children will recognize opportunities to help others and realize that no matter their “status” in life, there will always be someone who will benefit from their service.

On her Living by Giving dream.

My personal “Living by Giving” dream is to not avert my eyes when I see someone who is in despair, who needs a kind look or a helping hand.  There is no shame in being “affluent.” The shame is in not utilizing your assets and opportunities to help others.  If we believe this and embraced our ability to make a difference, the world would change.

On how to connect and contribute in the Atlanta community.

There are so many ways to contribute in our community: through churches, schools, outreach programs and community services. The need is great everywhere in Atlanta.  I would suggest:

  • First, look at your schedule – which days in the month are flexible?
  • Second, what are your talents?  Are you anxious to build a home? Rock a baby? Read to a child in elementary school?  Prepare food and spend an evening at a homeless shelter?  The needs are infinite and everyone has a gift to share.
  • Third, don’t be afraid.  It can be difficult to talk with someone who has far less than you and see the look in their eyes and listen to their words of gratitude.  It is humbling, but necessary for all involved.

For more information on Habitat for Humanity, visit atlantahabitat.org.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

2 replies on “Living By Giving: Celebrating Mom”

  1. Thanks so much for such a wonderful article, Kate. It was very well written and conveys well Chris’ tremendous giving spirit and Atlanta Habitat’s service mission. Thank you for helping share Atlanta Habitat opportunties more broadly and for your hand in engaging the Arby’s community in our affordable homebuilding. We look forward to working together in the months ahead!
    Marci

  2. Thanks so much for such a wonderful article, Kate. It was very well written and conveys well Chris’ tremendous giving spirit and Atlanta Habitat’s service mission. Thank you for helping share Atlanta Habitat opportunties more broadly and for your hand in engaging the Arby’s community in our affordable homebuilding. We look forward to working together in the months ahead!
    Marci

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