House Dedication #58 & #61

Welcome Home!


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House #60

March 3rd marked our 60th home dedication! The house was overflowing with family, friends, and volunteers that had worked on the home; as well as city and state representatives. 

Lawella and her daughters started their journey with Fox Valley Habitat in January of 2015. Lawella needed to complete 300 sweat equity hours and she has more than surpassed that amount by working on her home along with also helping at other build sites. She is always willing to help and continues to volunteer her time when needed. She has definitely become one of the family around our office!

Lawella's home was a rehab that was part of the Building Future Initiatives Program with East Aurora High School. The purpose of this program is two-fold. First is to have high school students learn building trade skills on the construction sites with FVHH to keep them in school to graduation and to begin a career path for employable skills when they graduate. Second is to provide affordable housing to working low-income families. After graduation, students can further their skill development through Junior College courses or look at apprentice programs to prepare for their career. This project is crucial to helping students find their job interests to determine what they will do to support their own family after graduation and to aspire to home ownership. Please follow this link to read more about the program.

Lawella and her daughters have been settling into their beautiful new home and have added an adorable puppy to the family. 

You can read more about Lawella's journey before finding FVHH on our website.


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House #58



The dedication in April for Juan and Maria, and their daughters was a beautiful celebration! The morning started out with a dedication service at St. Rita of Cascia Church in Aurora, followed by a home blessing at their Spruce St. home. The family was joined by many family members and friends; as well as city and state representatives.

Their jouney started in January of 2015 and they have completed more than their 500 hours of sweat equity. The family has worked many extra hours along side other Habitat families. Anytime they are asked to help out at a build site, the warehouse, or clean a house before a dedication; they are there with smiles on and ready to work.

We wish you many happy years of making memories in your beautiful home!

Their home was mostly built through in-kind donations from the generosity of companies that support our mission. To learn more about our In-kind Home, please click here.

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Things you need to know!

Our new volunteer registration website - Luigi's Fun Night - Who likes photography?


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Please note: We have a new volunteer registration website. Some of you may have already registered on our new sight. If you would like information on where and how to register, please contact Volunteer Coordinator, Julie Clark at:




We had a great turn out this year for our annual Family Night at Luigi's Pizza and Fun Center. All past and future Habitat families are invited to enjoy a night of delicious pizza and have some fun in the arcade, as well as play laser tag. The younger ones were able to make their own pizza creations and plenty of pepperoni was a must! The Habitat staff and their families joined in the fun also.

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Do you have a passion for photography? Would you like some opportunities to show off your talent? We are looking for people who would like to come out to our build sites and events to capture our volunteers and staff in action. No need to be a professional photographer! Just willing to join us occasionally and then share what you captured. If you are interested, please contact Julie at:

Spring Women Build 2018

Every Woman
Every Woman

The rain didn't stop our Women Build Ladies!

Women Build is Habitat for Humanity's program that empowers women to learn construction skills, build homes, and build communities. The ladies who participated in this year's build days raised funds and were rewarded with fun incentive gifts when they reached different goals. The first one is the t-shirt they are wearing, and then the pink gloves and safety glasses. They looked pretty sharp with all their gear on!

The first day of our Women Build weekend, the ladies laid all the sod for our Spruce St. yard. They lifted and hauled many rolls of sod to get the job done before the rain came in. They were dirty and tired, but also very proud of the work they had accomplished. Thank you for all of your hard work and determination to get the job done!

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The rain stopped long enough on Saturday morning for the ladies to build garage wall frames and some interior wall frames. They were done building them before lunch time! The walls are for the home of Marisa and Tino, and their family. Their home will be built with features to aid their son who is in a wheelchair. While the ladies were building, Marisa Facetimed her son to show him the wall frames that had been built. Needless to say, both of them were very excited to see the beginning stages of what will be their home. Marisa is pictured in the third photo talking to her son on the phone. Thank you to all the ladies who took nails and boards and turned them into frames for walls that will soon be a home. 

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Groundbreaking for our 61st home

Cold and rain didn't dampen the spirits!


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The weather was not cooperating the best for an outdoor celebration, but that didn't dampen anyone's spirits! The groundbreaking was for the future home of Tino and Marisa, and their family. The home will be built so that it is handicapped accessible for their 14 year old son. He does not have the freedom needed to move around in his wheelchair in the home they live in now. He will have ramps outside and plenty of room to maneuver around inside with his new motorized wheelchair. During the groundbreaking, Oxford Bank & Euclid Insurance presented them with a very generous donation for building funds for their home. This will be the 7th home that Oxford & Euclid have sponsored with Fox Valley Habitat. You can read more about how this amazing partnership started with Fox Valley Habitat by clicking here

After the groundbreaking, NBC 5 Chicago came to the home they are currently living in to interview the family. You can hear more about this wonderful family and see a little bit of what life is like for them by following this link to see the video of their interview that was shown on the NBC 5 News.


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Peter's Place

Building Communities 1
Building Communities 1

A subdivision with rich history - Written by: Christopher Schindler, Fund Development Manager


“Peter’s Place”


If you’re ever driving down Solfisburg Avenue in Aurora, you may happen to look out your car window and see a plot of land with some houses being built on it. You might also notice some completed houses there that look relatively similar: simple, one-story, moderately-sized homes.

You’re basically looking at a “Fox Valley Habitat Mini-Subdivision,” as I like to call it.

We call this stretch of land “Peter’s Place.” It has five lots with three completed houses and two in the works for this upcoming 2018 Build Season. When we acquired it in 2010, it was nothing but a dense mess of trees, roots, shrubs, and rocks. As soon as all of the documents were signed and the plans were in place, Fox Valley Habitat cleared it out, cleaned it up, and got straight to work building our affordable homes, and by the end of 2018 our “mini-subdivision” will be complete.

Now you may be wondering, “Who’s this ‘Peter’ that we named it all after?” Well I’m glad you asked, because there’s a pretty cool story behind the name.

Peter Colis founded Euclid Insurance Services, Inc. in 1952 and later acquired a bank with his family that was renamed Oxford Bank & Trust in 1987. He served as the CEO for Euclid until the early 1990’s when he became chairman. He also served as chairman of Oxford’s bank holding company. Suffice it to say, Peter was a very successful entrepreneur, but his beginnings were quite humble. As a child in the Great Depression his father, a well-established businessman, lost everything and became unable to afford their apartment. This unfortunately meant that Peter and his family had to move into a relative’s home, where Peter slept in the dining room due to lack of space.  Obviously, he was well-versed in the hardships of not having an adequate home for a family to live in.

Nevertheless, Peter overcame the obstacles of the Great Depression, worked his way through high school, joined the Navy through World War II, went to college, graduated, and went right on to start his successful business endeavors. His sons, John and George Colis, eventually became employed and heavily involved in the family businesses. George happened to hear a speech by Millard Fuller, the founder and former President of Habitat for Humanity International. He told his dad all about Habitat: giving others a “hand-up” in life through home ownership, the “Sweat Equity” Habitat families put into building their homes and the homes of other Habitat families, and the massive difference our Mission can make in the life of every family we help. As someone who spent his youth sleeping in a dining room, then working his way up in the world, and eventually launching two successful businesses, Peter was sold on Habitat for Humanity. The Colis family set out to begin a partnership with Fox Valley Habitat by way of sponsoring some of the homes we’ve built. John and George put it best: “Dad saw Habitat as an organization that gave a hand up, not a hand out. He knew what it was like to not have a home and highly valued hard work, persistence, and the concept of helping people get on their feet. As you can see, he was a perfect fit for Habitat.”

Sadly, in 2012 Peter passed away, but his legacy did not. In fact, it continues to live on through his four amazingly generous children, George, John, Leslie and Valerie. The family has continued its tradition of sponsoring Fox Valley Habitat homes in the amount of $150,000 per house, and has now sponsored six. Six homes. Just think about that for a moment: this staggering amount of giving covered the vast majority of all construction costs for us to have built six entire homes for hard-working, deserving families in Aurora that just needed a hand up in life. And the Colis Family didn’t simply fund six families’ homes: they changed six families’ lives for the better, forever. Whenever I reflect on the Colis Family’s consistent benevolence and the lives they’ve changed, I am always reminded that there is definitely still good in this world.

So why call it “Peter’s Place?” Because shortly after Peter Colis passed away, the city of Aurora asked Jeff Barrett (CEO of Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity) to choose a name for the plot of land we had acquired on Solfisburg Avenue. Honoring the patriarch of such a beautiful, selfless legacy of giving was a no-brainer.   

“Peter’s Place” was perfect.    

I hope that you’ve been inspired by the Colis Family’s story, so much so that you might let Peter’s legacy live through you, as well. Please consider giving to Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity; your donations go directly to our Mission of building homes, communities, and hope for our amazing families. 

Peter’s children: thank you. There are no words that can adequately describe our gratitude for your endless generosity.

Peter: thank you for all that you’ve done. I hope you know that your legacy lives on through your sons and that your story not only touches lives, it changes them.

Christopher Schindler
Fund Development Manager
Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity
(630) 206-5032                                                                                                                  

The 2018 build season has just begun! The next home that Euclid Insurance & Oxford Bank is graciously sponsoring is underway. Meet the family that this home will be built for and see the pictures from their groundbreaking here.

Your donations help us get more homes like this built! Please contact Chris at the above-mentioned phone number or email address with any questions you might have about donating, or visit our website by clicking here now to give today!

John & George Colis                                                                                                                                                                                         

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The 2018 Build Season has just begun, and we need your donations to help us get these houses built!  Please contact Chris at the above-mentioned phone number or email address with any questions you might have about donating, or visit our website at to give today!

Welcome Home to the Zeray Family!

On January 29, 2017 the Zeray family moved into their new Habitat home.

After a long journey, the Zeray family was finally able to move into their new Habitat home! Their house on Elmwood was a rehab home. As you can see from the pictures, many changes were made to the home inside and out. Ramps were put in the front and back for Mr. Zeray to have easy access with his wheelchair. The inside is very open so that he can move around with ease. They now have a very beautiful home and we wish them many happy and healthy years of enjoying their home! 

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