Home is where the heart is.
For Habitat homeowner Stephanie, home is where the heart is.
Before moving into her new Habitat home, Stephanie and her daughter were living with her parents. “We were on top of each other. It had been two years since I had my own bedroom. Now, I’m so excited to finally be on my own with my daughter.”
Stephanie looks at her home with a sense of pride. “I’m proud to look around and think ‘I did that!’” She learned how to use many new tools and enjoyed working with both the Habitat team and volunteers. “It’s fun to know who worked on the house. I wanted to meet them all! I’m so glad I got to be part of that experience.”
“The process, though a bit stressful at times, was easier than expected,” shares Stephanie. Her Friday through Sunday work schedule made it easier for her to be on the build site, although she didn’t have many days off. “I like knowing about the hard work that went into building the home. I’m so grateful for everyone who came out and all their hard work!”
Now, Stephanie and her daughter love to cook together. Stephanie enjoys watching her daughter learn new skills. “Our home is where we can grow as a family.”
Home is an accomplishment.
For Habitat homeowners the Dean's, home is an accomplishment.
The Dean’s are proud to proclaim, “we did it!” Though they never thought they’d be selected, through the encouragement of a grandmother, the Dean’s thought they should at least apply. They were “super excited” to learn of their approval sharing “it was a great feeling.”
Though COVID-19 made it hard for them to spend time with all the volunteers, they were amazed at the willingness of everyone to help their family. “This really gave us a chance,” commented Chris. “The fact that we know this is ours and we don’t have to move again is great. Our money is now going somewhere to benefit us.”
Their three daughters love the house and having their own space. They love to be “snow bunnies” snowboarding down the hill in their backyard. “The girls know it’s a safe and secure space. It was a great place to ‘hunker in’ during COVID-19. We had peace of mind knowing we were in our own place. Homeownership was one of our big goals, and we nailed it!”
To everyone who helped with their home, the Dean’s want you to know “You are more appreciated than you ever know. Your impact on our family is bigger than you’ll ever know.”
Home is awesome!
For Habitat homeowner JeriAnn, home is “awesome!”
JeriAnn’s face is radiant when talking about her Habitat home. Encouraged by her mom to apply, JeriAnn admitted she was ready to have a home of her own.
Soon after her approval, JeriAnn started putting money aside to prepare for future bills. Her determination to be independent and provide for her children was evident throughout the Habitat process. JeriAnn was a constant presence on the build site, even changing her work schedule to be available for every scheduled build day. Her enthusiasm and eagerness to learn and work were an inspiration to volunteers. JeriAnn loved working with all the people and on all the homes. “I’ll never forget all the memories. I loved it and would do it all over again!”
Since moving into her home, JeriAnn has enjoyed making it her own, adding special family decorations such as her grandmother’s fox dreamcatcher, and even paying her bills. Each night, she helps her daughter complete her homework and they read together as a family. “We have a good routine. My kids have both improved in schooling, behavior and even get along better.”
Homeownership has been a positive experience for both JeriAnn and her children. There’s less anxiety and more calm, they feel safe and have been healthier. She’s gotten to know her neighbors, something that she’d never had an opportunity to do before owning her own home. She’s saving more money, playing with her children -- all of which contribute to the family happiness. “My home is awesome!”
Home is a place of stability.
For Habitat Homeowner Mary, home is a place of stability.
As a mother of four boys, all of which require some type of need, a home for Mary is much more than a roof over her head. It’s a stable place for her boys to grow up safely.
Before moving into her Habitat home, Mary’s living space was extremely run down, falling apart and caused a lot of health issues for her boys. When she found out she was approved for a Habitat home, she was immediately filled with great emotion describing it as “one of the best feelings for a single mom with kids.” “I knew this would be my forever home. A place where I can teach my kids how to be successful, and give them the stability they need for the rest of their lives.”
Mary has learned so much from her experience with Habitat for Humanity, and now as a homeowner. She credits the classes she took through Habitat, along with the continual support of her mentor for teaching her so much along the way. “The whole experience has been filled with so many blessings,” she shares.
Mary’s home was the first ever Cardinal Build, where Mary personally got to connect with local Alexandria Area High School students who helped build her home through their Capstone class. Getting to meet volunteers such as these students, and work on her own home, were some major highlights for Mary.
To all the volunteers and donors who helped provide Mary’s family stability she says, “Thank you so much for all your hard work and effort. You didn’t have to support, but you did and I am very thankful.”
Home is a place for my kids to thrive.
For Habitat homeowner Chelsey, home is a place for my kids to thrive.
Life doesn’t always turn out the way you plan. As Chelsey frequently says, “it’s God’s plan, not mine” that determines your life story.
Chelsey has triumphed over many hurdles throughout her life. Her Habitat story is no exception. When first approved into the Habitat homeownership program, Chelsey and her husband, Joe, were excited to be able to have a safe and healthy home for their three children, especially for their youngest, Mataya.
Mataya was born with numerous health challenges, including hydrocephalus, a dislocated hip, spinal cord and kidney issues, and a club foot. Doctors are not certain that Mataya will ever walk. In the first two years of her life, Mataya had 13 surgeries. Chelsey took a leave of absence from her job in order to focus on the health of their three children, especially Mataya.
Five months into the Habitat process, Joe tragically passed away in a car accident. Chelsey, now a single mom to three children, one with medical issues. Her world was shattered and new worries new entered her mind.
Happily and gratefully, Chelsey still qualified for the homeownership program. “The day I found out that we were able to proceed with the house was the day a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I knew I would now be able to provide a stable, healthy house for my girls to thrive in. I also knew that this house was one that Joe and I started together and know that he is constantly with us.”
Chelsey’s home was built with over 350 volunteers during the 2019 Women Build. “I now have 300+ supporters and friends in this community, all thanks to Habitat. I have amazing mentors who still give me support. In fact, just a couple weeks ago, my daughter asked if she could call them Grandpa and Grandma. Of course, they were delighted.”
Now in their home, Chelsey is relieved to know that she no longer has to worry about the freezing cold rooms, lack of space, the neighbors smoking or playing in the parking lot. Now, her children can run in the yard. They can breathe clean air. They can safely navigate their home and have space of their own. They can thrive.
“God has not only given us the opportunity to have a house, but He gave us Habitat. To me, Habitat means hope, stability, security, love, and pride.”
Home is a place of my own.
For Habitat homeowner Jessica, home is a place of my own.
Upon learning about her approval into the homeownership program, Jessica was excited. "Everything I do is for my daughter." Jessica always wanted a home of her own, where she could provide for and be a good role model for her daughter, where meals could be shared together around the family table and where there was a safe yard where her daughter could run and play.
Through her partnership with Habitat for Humanity, Jessica's dreams came true! "I learned so much through all the classes I took and by helping build my OWN home." Jessica enjoyed all the connections she made with people throughout the process and the encouraging words written on the boards of her home.
Now, family can gather for meals, her daughter can safely play outside. They are safe and HAPPY.
To all Habitat volunteers, donors and supporters, Jessica says, "Thank you for changing my life. I LOVE my home! You are all wonderful."
Home is an opportunity to grow roots.
For Habitat homeowner Ash, home is an opportunity to grow roots.
When Ash applied for Habitat, she and her four children had moved frequently and lived in unhealthy environments. “My complete ‘shack’ of a house stared me in the face every day. There were fire hazards all around us and I knew the place we were in was temporary. It was shelter, for now.”
Upon learning of her approval, Ash was overwhelmed with emotions. She was proud that on her own, she was going to be able to provide stability for her children.
“The process was so much more than buying a home. It was being able to go to my Habitat family and get a hug when I had a really bad day. It was getting every single question I asked with a response I could understand. It was people who genuinely wanted good things for me and my kids,” reflects Ash.
One thing Ash learned is that Habitat is “for you. Habitat wants success to be yours.” She enjoyed seeing the hundreds of volunteers showing up just for her and her kids. “Even if they didn’t know it was ours. And that maybe makes it more special.”
Now Ash and her children have an opportunity to grow roots. “Having my own home means I get to make my own choices AND that I’m responsible for ALL of my choices.” When sitting in her home, Ash is grateful for the home she helped build and all the memories of caulking, painting, and installing trim. “My kids love the fact that we have our own home. They like inviting friends over. Just knowing that they have a safe, permanent, loving, enduring and consistent place to call home makes them feel at peace.”
According to Ash, “My family started out as qualifiers for a house and ended as forever members of a great family, the Habitat family.”
Home is an atmosphere of family.
For Habitat homeowner Sue, home is an atmosphere of family.
In 2000, Sue Wadsworth made a choice to apply for the Habitat homeownership program. When she applied for homeownership with Habitat, Sue was working four jobs. She was broken by divorce, trying to start again and have a place for her children.
“I just couldn’t afford much at that point in my life,” Sue recalled. A realtor friend suggested she look into Habitat for Humanity. So she did, taking the first of many steps toward a more stable and secure future.
“I was over the moon when I was first approved. I knew this was an opportunity of a lifetime. Habitat became my home church. They take you in and love you. Habitat is something real that matters in people's lives," Sue said.
Not only has owning her own house given Sue a financial start, it also has created a safe and comforting space for her children. “A secure home makes all the difference in the world,” she said. “It created a real atmosphere of family.”
Over the years, she has finished the basement, decorated rooms in her style and gardened in the yard – all ways she’s made her Habitat house her family’s home. That hard work and passionate involvement with Habitat has paid off.
“It really renewed my faith because people who are involved with Habitat for Humanity care about walking the walk,” Sue said of the process. “It was just an unbelievably awesome experience for me to go through. I don’t think there’s a day that goes by that I don’t wake up and I don’t feel gratitude.”
20 years later, and two years early, Sue completely paid off her mortgage. Sue is the FIRST Douglas County Habitat homeowner to achieve this momentous milestone!