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Volunteer Spotlight: Tyler Noland, NAIOP Board Member

Submitted by admin on Tue, 08/25/2015 - 10:00pm

This month's volunteer spotlight shines on NAIOP board member and local Habitat volunteer, Tyler Noland. Tyler recently participated in a global village trip to South Africa for the Nelson Mandela Build.

August 5, 2015: Tyler Noland and NAIOP support Habitat locally and abroad.

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Tyler Noland first got involved with Habitat through his involvement as a board member with NAIOP Pittsburgh, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. Tyler and other NAIOP members have supported Habitat’s local affordable housing programs for many years through the organization’s annual “Night at the Fights” fundraiser and through volunteering each year on a Habitat project. It was through volunteering with Habitat locally that Tyler decided he also wanted to volunteer somewhere abroad. “I was looking for a non-touristy way to both travel and give back at the same time,” says Tyler. Tyler started looking at the Habitat for Humanity Global Village website and saw that they had an upcoming trip to South Africa for the Nelson Mandela build. Tyler signed up to participate in the 11-day trip as the only participant from Pittsburgh, along with 21 other volunteers from different parts of the U.S. and a few additional from Europe and Africa. NAIOP Pittsburgh showed their support by donating several laptops to the Habitat affiliate in South Africa to coincide with Tyler’s arrival.

During his trip, Tyler and his team worked alongside over 200 other volunteers from all over the world in building the exterior structure of at least 20 houses. The build site was located in the Pelican Park neighborhood of Capetown, where Habitat has already built over 2,000 other homes for South African families in need. Tyler says the houses were different from those here in Pittsburgh in that they were much smaller—only about 400 square feet in size—and that they were made with "duggha" cement blocks that the volunteers helped to mix. The trip involved 5 days of onsite building and then several excursions, one of which was to Robin Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.

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"I just have tons of respect for Nelson Mandela," says Tyler, reflecting back on the trip. "I read his book before I went over there. He was truly a humanitarian before a politician. He saw through the nastiness and realized there was goodness in everybody. It was awesome to pay tribute to him through the build." Another highlight of the trip for Tyler was visiting with one of the Habitat families who had received a home. "We had the opportunity to have tea with one of the residents who had waited 28 years for a home of their own. The family was so grateful and friendly. I can’t describe how amazing it was to meet them."

Thanks to Tyler and NAIOP for their support of Habitat for Humanity, both locally and abroad!