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St. Joseph High School coach, mentor receives new home

By ERICA RODRIGUEZ
Aug. 19, 2010 at 3:19 a.m.
Updated Aug. 21, 2010 at 3:21 a.m.

St. Joseph High School students Kaitlyn Bigham, left, and  Hannah Bigham,  sign a golden key commemorating the Habitat for Humanity home they helped build for their coach, Alvin Mumphord.

What it takes The Habitat for Humanity International Youth United home, built for St. Joseph High School Coach Alvin Mumphord, was made possible from the following contributions:

$12,000 raised from St. Joseph High School students

$18,000 raised from Industrial High School students

833 youth volunteers from Industrial, Memorial and St. Joseph high schools, Victoria College and a college Air Force ROTC group

941 total volunteers

4,583 volunteer hours from start to finish including fundraising and actual construction

Source: Habitat for Humanity International

A crowd of uniformed football players, students and friends crowded in the front yard of St. Joseph High School Coach Alvin Mumphord's new home.

"It's exciting because I can just see how many people care," Mumphord said later.

The school worked with the Habitat for Humanity Youth United project to build the two-bedroom home on Virgina Avenue for Mumphord, who many students describe as a role model and mentor.

"He'll always make you smile," said Hannah Bigham, a volleyball player who Mumphord coached.

Mumphord coaches volleyball, football and track for the school and volunteers in multiple positions with his church.

"He helped us out a lot so we just wanted to give it back to him," said Steven Martinez, a Victoria East High School senior who Mumphord coached. "He's always moving, always onto the next thing."

Mumphord never owned a home before and previously lived with his parents in Bloomington to help pay bills.

The project, spear-headed by the St. Joseph Fellowship of Christian Athletes, began in 2008 and came as a surprise to Mumphord.

"I had no clue," he said.

After learning about the project, Mumphord contributed more than 300 hours of work into building the home.

"If he wasn't at practice, he was over here," Steven said.

The project involved more than 900 volunteers. Students from St. Joseph, Memorial and Industrial high schools contributed more than 3,621 hours doing anything from digging ditches to pouring concrete.

"He's just given so much, this is the least possible we could do," Hannah said.

Nancy Peters, a journalism teacher and Fellowship of Christian Athletes sponsor, was inspired to jump-start the home with her group and opened it to the entire school.

"This is the house that God built," she said. "I was supposed to make sure a house was built and that St. Joe was the one doing it."

The St. Joseph students raised more than $12,000 through bake sales and barbecue fundraisers to pay for construction costs, and students from Industrial High School raised $18,000.

"It involved a lot. It was a great group of kids," said Cindy Staley, executive director for Habitat for Humanity International. "It just involved youth from around the county which is exactly what we wanted it to do."

The home was the second Habitat for Humanity International Youth United house to be constructed completely by youth in Victoria County.

"These kids worked so hard," Staley said. "To raise that money in this economy it was a tough, tough thing to do and they did not give up and they did not quit."

Staley said she believe it was a testimony to Mumphord's influence.

"It was just an amazing example of the impact that one person has," she said.

Peters hopes the students will take spiritual lessons from the project.

"The more we reach out and help others in life the more joy we receive, the more happiness," Peters said. "When we give is when we really get our happiness and inner peace."

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