Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why I Can't Be Part of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

On my Bucket List is to help build a Habitat for Humanity House. I love their hand up not hand out philosophy and how they train the future homeowner money management and along with the community volunteers DIY skills. A friend of mine is becoming quite the handyman because he started volunteering at Habitat through his work. You go Jack!

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is in Columbus. They put out a call for professional volunteers (professional seamstresses, and licensed contractors, plumbers, and electricians) as well as asking for general volunteers.

With my professional costuming experience, I qualify as a professional seamstress. I considered volunteering because I strongly believe if people need help and you can help them, you help them.

It's not a Habitat house, but it would be an opportuntity to help build a house (or sew the stuff for inside the house) for a family in need.

I’m conflicted. 

From the few Extreme Makeover: Home Edition shows I have seen the families they select are very needy and deserving. The show leaves town and everyone involved feels good about helping a deserving family.


Extreme Makeover: Home Edition builds the family a home that is so large, so tricked out, and so EXTREME that many of the struggling families can't afford the new extreme property taxes, and utility payments that the new home gives them. That part bothers me. More than one Extreme Makeover: Home Edition family lost or had to sell their custom home because they could not afford to keep it.

I don’t know if I can be a part of that.

I’m not faulting the families at all. Their stories are heartbreaking or inspiring and they are truly deserving.

I think it is the helping without realizing the consequences of the show’s too generous actions that bothers me. With the intent of helping a deserving family (and making some great television), sometimes the show hurts the family by increasing their debt burden exponentially. Repairing or adding on to the family’s existing home may be better for the family financially after the show leaves but it isn’t nearly as exciting to show on TV.

I also feel Extreme Home Makeover, like every reality show, sensationalizes the plight of the family. When I read the leaked Extreme Makeover: Home Edition casting memo looking for specific feel good weepy TV ready diseases or circumstances to exploit on their show it turned my stomach.

I feel like a picky jerk. I am withholding my skills from a family that needs them because I don’t agree with the organization that wants to help them.. However, while I want to help people, I do not be part of something that potentially exploits them.

I'm sorry Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  I cannot be a part of that.

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