Currently, Big Bend Habitat for Humanity has completed the construction of 2 homes and broken ground for the 6th home; 28 families are progressing through various stages of the process towards a path to homeownership; 778 families have submitted applications and been processed through our pre-qualifications screening.
Life is like a journey and you never know where it will lead. Here I am so many years later with 2 children and my niece about to embark on the road to homeownership. I grew up in Brooklyn, New York and came from humble beginnings, my mother’s family was in the Perry/Tallahassee area and I would visit them in the summer. I have fond memories of mudpies in the back yard, no shoes going to the store, eating boiled peanuts and picking scuppemong grapes off the vine. I thought I was in heaven. I knew that I didn’t want to raise children in the hustle and bustle of the city. I wanted my children to have what I didn’t – a house, a car, some of the simple necessities of life. However, at that time I had no real plans to move to Florida yet.
Meanwhile I received my acceptance letter into Hunter School of Social Work. During this time my mother also became ill and passed away. I finished my first year in the program but was not able to continue. I was still living at some and had to change roles to now become fully independent, with all the trappings of paying rent, utilities and growing up. Feeling the need on a new lease on life and a fresh start. Prior to my mother’s illness, her dream was to move back to Florid, so I felt like I was fulfilling her dream for her. Not long after my arrival I was accepted into Florida A&M University’s Masters in Social Work program. I was ecstatic as I was able to complete something I started; it was a success for me and my mom. Soon after that, I joined the military following in the footsteps of my older brother, while trying to figure out what my next steps in life were going to be.
I soon became a mother in the Army which led to my transfer to
the National Guard and eventually leaving military life altogether. At this time I also became the caretaker of my elderly father and was awarded guardianship of my 11 year old niece after her mother passed away. Although it seems like a lot of responsibility in retrospect, when I was doing all of this, it was just all in a day’s work. Fast forward, I was divorced in 2016. My father passed away in March of 2018.Just when the dust was beginning to settle from this transition, my family suffered another traumatic loss with the burning of our town house with all of its worldly possessions. The blessing was that no one was home so no one was hurt.
There is a silver lining in every cloud. A few months ago, a friend suggested that I contact Habitat for Humanity to inquire about their homeownership program. The timing was divine. After completing all of the steps and being approved to enter into a contract, I was getting more excited. Then we started working on the site as volunteers, the excitement ramped up another notch, especially after working on my neighbor’s home that would mirror my own, upon completion. I remember when we had no doors or windows and then the next week they were there. This process has been life changing for my family and me on so many levels. Statistics show that children and families that own homes have better success rates in school, work and community involvement. I know that stability is important to the success of any family and a major step in that process is owning a home. I’m really excited about the sense of normalcy that a simple structure will provide my family. It looks like we are on our way to fulfilling my life-long dream.