Texas A&M research students visited La Grange last Friday to conduct focus group interviews for a study they are performing on behalf of Fayette County Habitat for Humanity. The goals of the study are to measure the social and economic impact of the organization on Fayette County and to provide information to guide Habitat’s future programming efforts.
Students from Professor Michelle Meyer and Sierra Woodruff’s CARC 602 “Research Methods in Planning and Design” class met with local stake holders to discuss Habitat’s current and future role in the community. In attendance were community representative Bill Bishop, Texas Ramp Project representative Bill Koenig, Hostyn Mens Group representative Richard Copeland, Habitat Ambassador Ed Collins, Habitat President Leonard Leffler, La Grange Mayor Janet Moerbe, Habitat board member Kenny Couch and Habitat Secretary Patrick Caballero.
As Professor Meyer explained, “working with Fayette County Habitat for Humanity provides the students with real world research experience. These students designed the entire study from data collection to data analysis, something they would not get in a semester long course. They also get the added benefit of learning more about the role of community organizations and nonprofits in addressing the affordable housing crisis in the U.S., which is a central focus for urban planners.”
Doctoral Student, Jennifer Blanks, led the group through a series of thought-provoking questions that aimed at exploring Habitat’s current role in the community and how the organization could create more impact in the community as it grows. Her goal? “To create tools for Fayette County Habitat to use to monitor the progress of the organization moving forward. We will also make recommendations to help address any key concerns discovered during the process.”
Fayette County Habitat for Humanity has an active capital campaign with the goal of raising $300,000 for property to build their next project. Progress can be checked and donations made online at www.FayetteCountyHabitat.org or at Fayette Savings Bank locations in La Grange, Schulenburg and Flatonia.