For 13 years, staff from L Brands–the parent company of Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works–has been coming to New Orleans to volunteer with NOAHH every November. What they have found over the years, as staff from all over the world comes to build homes in the city, is that the usual dynamics of their team change.
“What we’ve learned is that it sort of flips the narrative,” said Krista Lowther, who has been part of the trip for all 13 years. “The boss may not be as good at [construction]. Somebody who’s usually in charge can find a new respect for how someone participates even when they don’t have to. You know where their heart is.”
The team comes from all around the world, and often, they bring back what they learned on site to their own countries.
“There’s not something like this in a lot of countries,” Krista said. “So it’s very eye-opening and informative. I think people take it where they live and they ask, ‘what can I do?’ It might be small, but it’s something. Everything counts.”
Over the years, they have connected with many different partner families, but one stood out. Coming in November meant a very special build day helping to finish one of the homes.
“I remember one year, we were with a single mom on site,” she said. “She was so close to having her home finished for the holidays. She was going to spend her first Christmas in her new home.”
According to Krista, the best part is meeting other volunteers.
“My favorite part–there’s so many–is meeting other volunteers who are not with our team, but who have that same heart,” she said. “You automatically have that connection with other people on site.”