Habitat for Humanity Project Hits Close to Home for Simon Student

Habitat for Humanity Project Hits Close to Home for Simon Student

September 27, 2022 | By Sally Parker

 

More than 100 incoming Simon students helped Flower City Habitat for Humanity frame out five homes this summer during its annual Framing Frenzy on Parsells Avenue in the Beechwood neighborhood of Rochester. The event held special meaning for Rickey King II, who is the only member of the Class of 2024 to have grown up in the city of Rochester.

“It was such a surreal moment. Even though I don’t live on Parsells, my sister lives in that area, so the area is familiar to me,” King says. “It was so important to me. It gave me that pride. I’m actually making a difference in my community.”

This is the sixth year Simon students have picked up hammers and drills for the nonprofit, which helps strengthen neighborhoods by working with families to build or restore their own homes. Teams of students constructed walls and framed in door and window openings. It’s one of many partnerships the Simon community has with Rochester nonprofits.

King knows what homeownership can mean for a family and their neighborhood. His father was a Georgia sharecropper before moving to Rochester and taking a job at Kodak. The house he bought at age 23 in the 19th Ward created a legacy of stability, King says.

King grew up in that house and attended city schools until eighth grade. Many of his classmates moved frequently and suffered for it. Helping families establish stability for future generations with a home of their own is a cause he can get behind.

“Lots of the kids don’t have shelter or the resources they need. I know the difference it makes to have that,” he says. “That’s what helped me get where I’m at. Being in one household, everything being constant, I could focus.”

King transferred to McQuaid Jesuit High School and graduated from SUNY Buffalo State in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. After graduating, he was a substitute teacher at School 29, working alongside faculty who had taught him when he was a student there.

He was a popular teacher with a heart for his students. (Some of the most genuine connections are with kids,” he says.) Administrators urged him to earn a master’s in education, but a desire to work in business was never far from his mind. As a driver with Uber, he met business people and students at the Simon School who inspired him to consider an MBA.

King is most surprised by the level of diversity at Simon. Meeting people from all walks of life and countries around the world has already broadened his sense of what is possible.

“Their concerns are becoming my concerns, and my concerns are becoming their concerns,” he says of classmates who worked alongside him that day. “We are just being so open, so transparent with each other. We are more similar than different.”


Sally Parker

Sally Parker is a freelance writer specializing in university advancement communications.


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