In the midst of gearing up for what will be a busy fall for them both, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood took a break at the end of August (Aug. 26-31) to turn their attention to a different kind of creative process. The country music power couple headed out to Mishawaka, Ind., to work alongside hundreds of volunteers, including former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter, for Habitat for Humanity's 35th Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. The group constructed 22 new, affordable homes for low-income families.

Brooks and Yearwood have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity for over a decade, first connecting with the project in 2007, during rebuilding efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In an interview with The Boot, the couple explained that they take away more from the experience than just new skills with power tools.

"You still learn new experiences every day. You learn that the system works," Brooks says. "[The new homeowners] put in their sweat equity, and then they take out a mortgage, and here we go. They become part of the system.

"It's not a free handout, and that's one of the biggest myths anybody's ever had about Habitat for Humanity," he continues. "It's about affordable housing and helping people get off on the right foot."

Adds Yearwood, "I mean, you're working alongside the homeowners and getting to see the joy on their faces as they earn their home. As much as we get thanked for being here, we feel kind of selfish, because we leave here more full than we came. It's a pretty amazing experience."

Yearwood notes that one of this year's most fulfilling moments took place near the end of their week in Indiana. "It's a tradition that, at the end of the week, the homes all get dedicated, and President and Rosalynn Carter go to each home and provide a bible to the family," she explains. "One of the particular houses we went to, there were a couple of kids there working on the house, and they had not been told that it was their house, that they were going to live in.

"President Carter got to tell them ... I mean, he teared up, and of course that made us all cry," she continues with a laugh. "It was a wonderful moment, to witness these children realizing that they were gonna be living in this house. It's hard to describe."

Brooks and Yearwood have a long history of working and performing as a team, including during Brooks' marathon three-and-a-half-year World Tour, but when they return to Nashville, the country superstars will focus on their individual projects. Yearwood has plans to go into the studio to record new music, while Brooks has announced an upcoming performance at Notre Dame Stadium. Despite the fact that they won't be onstage together, Yearwood and Brooks say they'll still be spending the same amount of time together offstage.

"I will be with him in Notre Dame, but I'm not on the ticket," Yearwood explains. "I'm going to make sure he stays sane! I'm kidding. I'm just going because we like to be together. We don't like to be apart."

In the meantime, Yearwood says, she's excited to devote more energy to her solo projects. "I'm trying to get done all the things I didn't have time for when we were on tour," she admits. "Most things we do as Garth and Trisha, but there are also things we do that's 'Garth stuff' and 'Trisha stuff,' that's separate."

Although he's excited for the new projects ahead, Brooks admits that there were some perks to touring with his wife. "It was very nice to have a part of the show where you introduce everybody's favorite person," he says. "I mean, she's got more Grammys than I do. She'll come out and just put me to shame with all that talent."

However, Brooks agrees that, aside from the show billing, not much has changed for the couple. "We didn't get married to be apart, so we're gonna be together all the time," he adds. "Let's say she announces her tour supporting this new music. Well, I'll be with her in the cities where she's at, and I'll be where she's playing. Hopefully nothing's really gonna change for us."

And while Brooks says that he's loved having Yearwood on the roster for his shows, going solo at Notre Dame will provide some new opportunities. "It was a lot of fun, but I guess we're gonna fill that space with more Garth [music]," he adds. "The good thing is that it'll give us a chance to try some new stuff."

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