In our fast-paced world of long work hours, side hustles, family obligations and more, it’s hard to imagine adding another “to do” onto our list. But giving back and doing good should never be forgotten – especially when it’s in your own hometown! For Ricardo Sebastian and Lily Duevel, getting Chicagoans involved with Habitat for Humanity is one close to their hearts…and their dancing shoes! Sebastian is the Founder & Project Manager of Luxury Management as well as being a Council Member of Habitat for Humanity’s National Advisory Council of Young Professionals while Duevel has founded both adoptedSTYLE & Ladder PR. So you can trust them when they say, you want to jump on board with #HABITATHOUSEPARTY…
HOW DID YOU FIRST BECOME INVOLVED WITH HABITAT FOR HUMANITY?
Ricardo: I was a sophomore in college and had just become President of our International Business Club. The club was a hot mess and left in disarray from the former President. In an effort to re-engage my peers to join, I wanted to launch some sort of volunteer initiative.
Simultaneously, the media was covering New Orleans post Hurricane Katrina. It had already been two years since the hurricane hit and millions of families were still displaced. I had never been to New Orleans and didn’t personally know anyone for NOLA but I felt compelled to get involved.
I presented this to my Dean and the few members of our club. We decided it was the right direction to go in. So I designed and launched my first fundraising initiative. We generated enough donations to create a scholarship fund and selected 10 students to fly to New Orleans. Together we helped build homes for five families over our summer break. This was a life changing experience and is what led me to launch my company Luxury Management.
Lily: (Ricardo’s) passion for the success of Habitat’s initiatives was contagious. I wanted to do everything in my power to help make this Annual event (and now monthly!) a success and signed on as the pro bono publicist.
WHAT MAKES THIS CHARITY SPECIAL?
Ricardo: Every charity is special in its own way. I love Habitat for Humanity because the results are extremely and exactly tangible. You can quantify what your monetary donation is contributing to. For example: $10 equals a box of nails, $100 equals a kitchen sink, etc. And when you’re volunteering your time to build you can see the results of your contribution immediately.
CONGRATS ON THE SUCCESS OF #HABITATHOUSEPARTY! WHAT CAN WE EXPECT AT THE EVENT?
Ricardo: You’ll definitely see some familiar faces and will also make some new friends.
I’ve worked really hard on creating a crowd that is diverse, fashion forward, humble, fun and who are the kind of people that love people. This isn’t your standard industry event. It’s not a “scene to be seen” type party. Everyone is there to have a good time and to support an amazing cause.
It’s really incredible to be there and see people connecting who would have otherwise never met, which is a big part of what Habitat for Humanity stands for. Any Humanitarian will attest to the fact that Habitat for Humanity brings people together.
Lily: Now to the details! The purchase of a ticket (which is only $20 if you use promo code LADDERPR) includes: a 2-hour VIP hosted cocktail reception, provided by EFFEN vodka, passed appetizers & bites, a raffle, special guests, and the chance to be entered to win to be a part of Habitat’s first International build – a 10 day, all expenses paid, trip to Buenos Aires this fall to help build homes for those in need, as well as enjoy three unforgettable experiences curated specific to this initiative.
HOW ELSE CAN CHICAGOANS GET INVOLVED?
Ricardo: There are so many ways to get involved. Donating, building, and joining the Young Professionals Committee but I would say everyone should first donate to the International Build being led by their fellow Chicagoans. This is a big moment for Chicago’s Young Professionals. We’ve been building and fundraising in Chicago since 2011. Now we have the opportunity to take our skill sets overseas and work with families in Buenos Aires.
IN A WORLD OF INSTANT GRATIFICATION, WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO GIVE BACK?
Lily: Giving back is something I hold close to my heart. As someone who grew up rather privileged, I make it a priority to give back to a cause I support every single month. I’m a firm believer in helping others and I think that it keeps you humble. I know that if I was ever in a position where I needed something, I would want others to help me, too.
Ricardo: Everyone has their own obstacles and challenges to overcome—that’s just a big part of what life is about. It’s important to remember that no matter how hard you have it someone else has it harder. I always feel that giving back is the best way to remind yourself how good you have it.
YOU HAVE A LARGER PARTNERSHIP COMING UP. TELL US ABOUT IT!
Ricardo: Yes! I’m celebrating the 10 Year Anniversary of Luxury Management by taking on our first international build with Habitat for Humanity. We are recruiting up to 30 community and industry leaders to come to Buenos Aires and build homes for families over the course of 10 days. This expansion and build has been in the works for about two years now.
Being involved locally is a really important component to Habitat for Humanity and getting involved internationally is just as important. In fact, it’s built into the culture of Habitat for Humanity. The Chicagoland area and surrounding suburbs are definitely in need of affordable housing. We’re not trying to take away from that; but taking our community and industry leaders completely out of their element and submersing them into a country that is on a whole other level of needing affordable housing will really change everyone’s lives and will show them why it’s important to support locally.
We selected Argentina because it suffered a severe economic collapse that left 50% of the population below the poverty line. Almost one-third of Argentine families now live in inadequate housing conditions, some of them severely overcrowded with more than 3 people per room. At least 3 million homes are in need of replacement or rehabilitation.
THIS WILL BE YOUR FIRST INTERNATIONAL BUILD PROJECT. WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR THE TEAM?
Ricardo: For a lot of us it just means being able to create social and economic change on a larger scale. I don’t think anyone is looking for praise or fame. We just want to help. I also think everyone is excited to meet each other. Our community and industry leaders are being recruited from all across the country, so this build will be a lot of volunteers’ first time meeting.