Hearth Homes has a lot of tough men with tender hearts walking the property on a regular basis. As maintenance volunteers they tackle all sorts of projects ranging from changing hard-to-reach light bulbs to electrical outlets, installing stairway gates to sheet rocking and mudding an entire atrium. These men give much more than their talents for construction, electrical, and maintenance. They give their presence as men with integrity and a selfless spirit for others well-being, in providing safe and comfortable homes.
Tim Carroll is the man Hearth Homes goes to when detail work is needed. He has been a part of our mission for three years and a continual blessing. Whether it is working on custom screens for windows or putting together bunk beds for resident’s rooms; Tim ensures that everything is in top notch condition. Though Tim is very task-oriented he makes sure to take the time to pause in his work to engage in conversation with residents.
In an interview Tim acknowledges that when he first came to Hearth Homes he assumed that kiddos would open up to him and welcome him as a best friend. However he soon realized this was not the case and states that, “In most cases the children who come to Hearth Homes have had a tough road to hoe and they have internalized a lot of their emotions and feelings so that they do not get hurt again.” He says that, “it takes awhile to build up that trust." Yet he has shown that it is time he is more than willing to give.
Tim understands the importance of relationship building in helping kiddos at Hearth Homes feel safe and supported. He states, “That is where it is really important; if they want to read a story; just sit down and read a story. Anything else, I have learned now, is less important. That refrigerator will still get fixed later on: but you can’t read that story for the little girl later on. They need it now.” The way to get through any barriers these kiddos have built, “is to give them attention and unconditional love.”
I have seen many a maintenance volunteer give kiddos their rapt attention when they want to show off a toy dinosaur or their pink plastic heels. As they respond to the kid’s questions their voices often become a little bit higher and sincerity shines through their eyes as they admire whatever treasure the kiddos want to share with them. This time is so precious, not only to the kiddos, but to the volunteers as well. Tim acknowledges that, having learned to pause in these significant moments; “I have received more love and affection from these kids than I give.”