NEW YORK (AP) _ Sarah Michelle Gellar put down her stake and picked up a shovel this summer, helping Habitat for Humanity build houses in the Dominican Republic.

``My mother taught me that whatever you have when you're in a condition to give back, you have to give back,'' Gellar said in the October issue of Teen People.

Gellar, the 22-year-old star of ``Buffy the Vampire Slayer,'' flew to the Dominican Republic because she ``wanted something I could feel I was a part of.''

She helped build a house for a single mother and her four children.

``There's something nice about the hope that this gives you, the way everyone worked together. It restores your faith in humanity.''