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Faith Build Home 2018 for the Fernandez Family

Carmen finds a forever home for her daughters

My name is Carmen Fernandez and I am 27 years old. I was born and raised in Aurora, Illinois. I have two daughters, Naima (age 9) and Jaeda (age 7). My girls attend Oak Park Elementary School in Aurora and they are in 4th and 2nd grade. Naima enjoys reading Dork Diary books and drawing comic strips. Jaeda loves playing outside, riding her bike and writing sweet notes for her loved ones.

A little bit about myself:  at the age of 15, while I was a student at East Aurora High School, I started taking college credit courses off-campus at Waubonsee Community College. I earned my Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certificate by the age of 16. Over the years, I saved and stretched every penny I could and I continued taking college classes at Waubonsee Community College. I earned my Phlebotomy Certificate and completed my pre-requisites for Nursing. Fast forward 11 years later, I am currently employed at Rush-Copley Medical Center as the Center Secretary/PCT of the Day Surgery unit. I enjoy my role in the hospital and I love to interact with our community.

In March of 2016, my daughters and I had to move back in with my parents due to financial hardships. The girls and I sleep in the unfinished basement of my parent’s home. The living conditions in the basement are not ideal and the temperature is unstable. If it rains, this does cause the basement to flood due to not having a sump pump installed. All 3 of us suffer from allergies and they have been severe this year due to our living arrangements.

Before Habitat for Humanity, we moved 7 different times. My daughters had to adjust to new schools and make new friends over and over again. At times, these changes were really hard on them. I quickly realized that the girls were getting older and they really needed some stability. My friend Rubi encouraged me to reapply a 2nd time for Habitat for Humanity. After a week of her encouragement, I finally reapplied and got accepted within a few days!

Now that we are a part of Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity and we are the family for the Faith Build of 2018, my daughters and I sit and talk for hours about our future home all the time. We discuss the potential that this house will bring to our family. It will bring them a stable home to call their own and grow up in. The girls are super excited to finally have their own bedrooms. They dream about the day they can play in their backyard and ride their bikes up and down the sidewalk. They jump in excitement because they know that we will live just down the street for grandma and grandpa, as we are going to build our home on the same street I grew up on! The best part about our future home is that we will be next door neighbors to my good friend Rubi Mata and her daughters. Rubi is our Faith Build 2017 and I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the volunteers that are building her home.

My experience with Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity has been extremely positive and uplifting all around. I meet new volunteers every Saturday that we go out to work on the homes and they have left such a great impression on me. To see firsthand how giving our volunteers are and how hard they work while on the work sites is a feeling that words cannot begin to describe. They take time out of their busy week to come out and help us build homes. The Habitat families have become my 2nd family, we work together every week and we work hard. We do things most of us thought we’d never be able to do, such as putting walls together that will frame a house, insulating the house, we put up siding, we hammer in countless nails…at this point, we can basically call ourselves construction experts! The support that the Fox Valley Habitat staff provides myself and the families is never-ending. They are extremely supportive; they motivate you to do better and be better. I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart that is involved with Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity. The generosity you all provide is what makes this dream possible. Forever, thank you!

The Fernandez Family were handed their keys to their new home at a dedication ceremony in December of 2018. They have celebrated many milestones and have made some very precious memories since then.


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