Give Us a Hand


Increased Demand For Affordable Housing

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact:

Jeffery Barrett, CEO Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity
J.barrett@foxvalleyhabitat.org
630.294.8575

  

Increased Demand For Affordable Housing Prompts Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity to Take to The Airwaves to Continue Its Mission

Montgomery, IL—April 30, 2020—Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity announced today that it will launch a television campaign targeting the Aurora and Naperville areas due to anticipated increased affordable housing demand. The campaign is aimed at driving increased donations to help the Fox Valley Chapter continue its mission of building more affordable housing.

According to Jeff Barrett, CEO of Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity, “With the Covid-19 pandemic affecting so many families who were already struggling with a need for decent and affordable housing, their daily lives have only become more challenging. For others, those who find themselves affected by the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the future is newly uncertain. We see our mission of building more homes for effected families rising as the virus continues to disrupt the economy. There is urgency out there and we want to be prepared.”

Mr. Barrett cited the use of television advertising as a way to reach out to the local donor base as a more urgent and efficient means of communication. Mr. Barrett added, “The three-week campaign will reach 88 percent of the Aurora/Naperville audience and will feature a text-to-donate app that will make it easier to contribute by entering HOMES to 243-725”.

Mr. Barrett also added that any in-kind donations of building supplies, appliances and other essentials will be accepted and greatly appreciated. “With your help we can meet the challenge of the increased demand for affordable housing.” Mr. Barrett said.

Text To Give

 

About Habitat for Humanity 

We are a Habitat for Humanity non-profit affiliate in the Fox Valley community. We are dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide, and work in partnership with people of all faiths and races to develop communities for people in need by building and renovating houses, while creating homeownership opportunities based on the premise of providing a hand up; not a hand out. As an affiliate, we are a grass roots organization that is independently operated under the greater Habitat Covenant. We independently coordinate all aspects of Habitat home building in our area with fundraising, building site selection, partner family selection and support, house construction, and mortgage servicing. Habitat for Humanity was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, durable place to live in dignity and safety, and that decent shelter in decent communities should be a matter of conscience and action for all. 

 

 

 

#GivingTuesdayNow


On May 5, 2020 we come together as a global community. To give. To help. To thank. To heal.

Families were already struggling before the public health crisis began. Now, families continue to struggle in the financial instability and uncertainty of recent times. With your support, Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity stands ready to build back alongside these families and for our future families.

On May 5, 2020, Fox Valley Habitat is participating in #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of unity and giving. But we can’t do this without you! Not only do we need your support, we need your help to spread the word. Please tell your friends and family why you believe in our work and encourage them to support us too!

Join the movement on May 5, 2020! Bookmark our donate link today: DonateFVHFH 

Thank you for being a part of the Fox Valley Habitat Team!

 

A perfect time for compassion and resolve, hope and action


A letter from our Executive Director

 

Dear Friends, 

The COVID-19 epidemic is a teaching moment for us all. Personally, it’s reminding me how our lives can be profoundly affected by outside forces we can’t control. And that is giving me a whole new level of empathy for the families served by Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity.  

Habitat families are hard-working neighbors who aspire to home ownership. But their inability to qualify for a traditional loan or accumulate a down payment has prevented them from ever achieving their dream. 

Today, you and I are feeling stuck at home, our freedom curtailed by social distancing. For their part, Habitat families spend years in their own form of isolation, prevented from achieving one of the most powerful building blocks of a better life: home ownership.  

When Habitat for Humanity helps them earn their way into that new home, we give them a rare new shot at self-determination – something I am sure neither you nor I is taking for granted these days.  

The corona virus is bringing humbling disruptions to each of our lives. Maybe that makes it the perfect time for us to think about those who are even less fortunate, and…… 

At this point, you probably think I’m angling for a donation to Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity. I’m not. Instead, I’m just going to ask you to make a contribution somewhere, to help our Fox Valley neighbors meet their profound human needs during this difficult time. 

If you choose Habitat to receive your gift, great – we will continue building our community through building homes and building lives and we will steward your contribution well.  

But the important thing is to give somewhere. Because standing up in the face of forces we can’t control makes this the perfect time for compassion and resolve, hope and action. 

Blessings, Safety, Health and Peace,

Jeffrey Barrett
Executive Director
Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity

 

Facing challenging times


And update from our affiliate on COVID-19

 

Dear Friends,

As you are aware, a wave of closures, cancellations and postponements has unfurled as the COVID-19 pandemic has quickly evolved. I speak for all of us at Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity when I say our thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted.

Like many other organizations, we have implemented changes for the safety of our families, staff, volunteers and community. It is our collective responsibility to stand in solidarity to do all we can to ensure the health and well-being of our neighbors.

Even in times of crisis, our work is so desperately needed — because everyone in this world should have a decent place to live. We must continue to stay together because when the urgency has lifted, the need for affordable housing will remain. Our generous supporters have helped sustain our work with families for 30 years, and we will weather this unprecedented challenge together. Fox Valley Habitat stands ready to accelerate our efforts with renewed energy and commitment when the time is right.

As much as we wish there was a playbook for our current situation, it has not been written yet. What has been written is the command to love our neighbors and to act with kindness wherever we can. We thank you for the close and loving community that you continue to help us build, and we appreciate your unwavering support.

In Faith and Partnership,

The Staff and Board of Directors of
Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity 

 

 

Women Build 2019


When Great Women Come Together, Even Greater Things Happen!

Women Build 2019 had 64 participants and over the course of 3 days, they built and raised all of the exterior walls for the home and the garage!! These amazing ladies also raised over $22,000 exceeding our goal for the event. Very impressive work from all of them!

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Volunteer Spotlight


Nicor Gas

 

Our Volunteer Spotlight is on Nicor Gas

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On a rainy day in May a team from Nicor Gas came out to work on The Uwamahoro Family home. They worked through the mud and puddles to finish building the exterior walls. 

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Inspire: Women In Construction had much better weather for their work day! They climbed ladders and pounded nails to work on the roof and start the siding on one side of the house. 

Thank you Nicor Gas for your partnership with FVHH and for all of your hard work!

Rubi's Story


Rubi's story is unlike our other homeowners. She is the pure definition of what it means to love and be a part of a family, and we are happy to have her as a part of our Habitat family.


Rubi is unlike all of our other homeowners because Rubi grew up in a Habitat home, and she is now a second-generation homeowner. She was living in her parent’s home with her husband and their two daughters. The home was not meant for that many people, and they were essentially living on top of each other. When Rubi’s husband was deported in the summer of 2014, she decided it was time to move out of her parent’s home. Rubi was denied of a loan to get a trailer home for her and her daughters because of her credit and school loans, and she felt like she was back at square one. Rubi’s mom suggested that she apply for a Habitat home, and she was very apprehensive about that because Rubi feared getting denied again.

In September 2014, Rubi decided to send in her application for a Fox Valley Habitat home. In November of the same year, two members from the office went to do Rubi’s home visit. Upon applying Rubi knew that all homeowners are required to take a Financial Peace University course. There was a new session starting January 2015, so she decided to enroll despite not knowing if she was approved for a home yet. She figured that even if she was denied, the class would still be beneficial.

It was not until July 2015 that Rubi got a letter in the mail from Habitat. Due to her already being in the Habitat family because of her mother, she assumed it was just a birthday card from the office. She had not heard anything in eight months, so she assumed she did not get approved for a home. To Rubi’s surprise, she read the word “Congratulations” at the top of the letter, and immediately had tears streaming down her face. She was finally going to have a home.

On July 29, 2016, Rubi and her daughters were told which house was going to be hers. Jeff, Fox Valley Habitat’s CEO, explained the floor plan. Rubi recalls the moment her daughters were told they were going to have two toilets, and her youngest daughter burst with joy. Rubi was also informed that her home was going to be the Faith Build home; a home built based on the donations of local churches and other faith centered organizations. On October 22, 2016, Rubi met the churches that sponsored her home and they broke ground on construction.

The real building of her home began in May 2017, and Rubi was there close to every weekend helping to build her home. She loved being able to see every wall put up, but she explained that watching the installation of her front wall was the most emotional. This was the wall that faces the street, the wall that had the windows, and Rubi reminisced, “That’s my front door. That’s where my Christmas tree is going to be.”

Rubi got the keys to her home right before Christmas 2017, on the day of her daughter’s 7th birthday. That night they celebrated the birthday and their new home with cake and pizza along with the company of another homeowner and her daughters. Rubi and her daughters spent their first night in their home on New Years Eve and rang in 2018 in their new home.

2018 was a big year for Rubi and her girls. This was the first year for everything. Since moving into their home, they have become more active in church. Before Habitat, Rubi was never really a “church person,” she was Catholic, but not active in any church. Rubi said, “Being the faith build gave me faith again. God wanted my family to be the faith build because he wanted me to go back to church and continue my faith and grow my girl’s faith.” In April Rubi was confirmed in her church, her daughters attend confirmation class every Friday and are going to have their first communion in May 2020, and they all attend church together every Sunday. 

In August 2018 her daughters started at a new school. Both of the girls are thriving in their new school. Her oldest daughter who used to struggle in school is now on honor role, has developed stronger social skills, and is a patrol at school. Her youngest daughter is on high honor role and her test scores are above the district and is known as a “role model kid” who gets taken out of class and moved a grade up for an hour every day to challenge herself. Both daughters are now active in cheerleading and 100-mile club.

Rubi also had substantial growth after moving into her home. She has lost 50 pounds and loves cooking meals for her and her family. Her husband was reunited with them in September 2019 and they are currently planning a church wedding, as they have been married in the courthouse but not the church. Rubi is very busy planning a wedding to celebrate the love she shares with her husband, which is set for September 5, 2020.

Rubi has grown so much since moving into her home, and even before moving in she was extremely active with the Fox Valley affiliate. Rubi takes so much pride in her home and has grown immensely with her daughters. As time goes on, there will be many more accomplishments and celebrations coming along with her daughters and the upcoming wedding. Rubi has proven that faith is what she needs to get through, and that is what she plans to continue to rely on.

 

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.

Andrea' Story


Andrea embodies the definition of "strength" as she has continued to stay strong for herself and her two sons during some of the most difficult and painful moments. From fighting through a violent relationship and getting herself on her own two feet, she has proven that she is capable to do anything she sets her mind to.

Andrea is a single mother of two sons. Her oldest is now three-years-old and her youngest is two, born a year and a day apart.

Like many victims of abuse, Andrea’s story is powerful and intense.  From a picture perfect beginning to restraining orders for protection of her family, Andrea has worked tirelessly to provide for her and her two sons.

Andrea would describe the beginning of that relationship as something strong, something great. As time had gone on, day after day, she saw a mood change in her partner and she began to be on the receiving end of his anger. During her time in a domestic violence relationship, she was battered and abused before, during and after her first pregnancy. She has experienced infidelity and heartbreak, but still held on to a hope of a family. She was gas-lighted time and time again.

Andrea’s partner was in and out of jobs through the entirety of their relationship, which made the financial situation a touchy subject, only triggering Andrea and her partner. With a baby on the way, she urged him to help provide for the future. As the financial situation tightened and worsened, Andrea fell into depression.

Andrea was rushed to the hospital for an emergency C-section, the scariest moments of her life, one that she went through alone. She begged her partner to come and be with her, but he made excuses each and every time. Fortunately, she delivered a healthy baby boy and Andrea decided to give her son her name.

As a punishment of betrayal – refusing the tradition of paternal last names – her partner would continue to cheat and abuse Andrea. In his eyes the baby was not his, he neglected any care for his oldest son. Andrea fell into a trap of feeling like she deserved this punishment—that she brought it upon her son.

She found out she was pregnant again shortly after. Andrea believed this could be a second chance to put their past behind them and move on as a complete family. Her partner continued to go without a job and stayed out all night, and their bills started to be late. Her credit dipped low because everything was in her name.

Andrea continued to rough it out until her second delivery. She started to stand up for herself and her family. She demanded respect and financial stability, and she took her two babies and left. He promised to do better for their family, so she gave him one last chance that continued to destruct her family. The final straw came with two incidents where she was to the point of death – twice in one week at the hands of her partner. Enough was enough.

She decided she needed to do better by her family. She immediately fled to Mutual Ground, a safe haven for victims of sexual and domestic abuse. One of the hardest decisions she would ever have to make, but a decision she looks back at in pride and strength. Andrea remembers lying in bed with her children that night and whispering they were finally safe.

Habitat for Humanity is a second chance for Andrea and her two boys. She is recovering from abuse and manipulation, while repairing her financial situation to be able to provide for two young children. One of the biggest concerns for Andrea was her own personal insecurity of feeling like she cannot do anything by herself – a byproduct of abuse. Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity has helped and is continuing to help Andrea find her stability within herself. And while she was in a short term safe space like Mutual Ground, she needed a long term solution that would prove to be beneficial to her children’s development and provide a thriving environment. 

Since Andrea was accepted into the Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity Program, the family has moved from Mutual Ground to her parent’s home while they wait for their home to be built.  Andrea has become more independent and her main focus is providing a stable and loving environment for her children.  They all sleep in one bedroom which is very cluttered and cramped, but they are safe and she is regaining confidence that she can provide for her sons on her own.

Andrea’s oldest son, Christopher, loves reading and playing with his trains, while the youngest, Nicolas, enjoys his toy trucks and loves to play outside.  Andrea can’t wait for the day to come when they will have a house and a yard to call home.

Andrea’s family has been chosen to receive the 2019 Faith Build Thrivent Home located on Solifsburg Ave. in Aurora, IL.  This is our affiliate’s third Faith Build Home with Thrivent Financial.  Thrivent awarded Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity $105,000 in matching funds this year for the Faith Build.  We have 30 area churches participating in this build along with Thrivent Financial. 

I asked Andrea, “What does getting a house from Habitat for Humanity mean to your family?”  She answered, “In one word it means everything. It is a fresh start. It will be a solid foundation where my boys can grow and become men and a place where I can feel safe and secure. It is also something I did on my own as a woman and a mother.  The father of my children always brought me down, telling me I would never amount to anything; I was worthless and would never accomplish anything on my own without him.  Now I am a provider and a fighter with a built in family support system.  I know all the Habitat for Humanity homeowners will be there for me, cheering and supporting my family through the whole journey.  I feel so accepted in our community and I am so grateful for all our partnerships.  I love this organization I will be there to help in any way I can for the rest of my life.  This experience has changed our lives forever.  I am so grateful.”

Szweda Family


Lawella and her daughters finally have a place to call home.

Lawella is a mother of two, three if you count her dog. She loves baking cookies, doing arts and crafts, collecting socks and making hats to donate to the inner city kids. She is a homeowner, more specifically, a Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity homeowner who still volunteers weekly with the Fox Valley Builder’s Club. She is also a disabled veteran.

Lawella, like many veterans, joined the military for a variety of reasons.  The military offered her more than any college or job could: a way out of poverty, a home, an education and the pride of serving her country. And while all veterans’ stories are unique, her story is much like others, leaving and returning home to nothing.

When Lawella graduated high school, she moved to South Carolina with a boyfriend, who was in the military at the time. She received a Secretarial Science Associate’s Degree, but really dreaded working as a secretary. After consulting with her boyfriend, she came to the conclusion that the military had much to offer her, including a way out of a mundane routine and the possibility of making this into a career. In 1985, Lawella enlisted in the Air Force as active-duty personnel where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource Administration.

Lawella met her now ex-husband during her four years in active duty. After her four years of service had ended, her husband continued a life devoted to the military while Lawella stayed behind as a military wife to raise their two children. Lawella explains how being a military spouse for 17 years was so difficult. “I was basically a single parent while my husband was deployed for more than six months at a time every year. I raised our children by myself and had to take care of all my family’s physical and emotional needs on my own. We lived in military housing on base and there was always a constant turnover of Air Force families moving in and out. It was so hard to make friends because we were always moving from base to base.”  Life had thrown everything at her, including natural disasters, poor housing, and the longing to have a permanent place to belong.

“Growing up in a military family was a very unique experience. Rather than remembering a childhood home, I remember all the people I met, the best restaurants from all the different towns, and being raised to be independent and ready for change at the drop of a hat,” said Lawella’s youngest daughter. “I had to learn from a very young age to say goodbye to good friends, become used to being the new kid in town, and that I shouldn't expect my bedroom to stay my bedroom for long. My family was one of the few constants in my life. I relied on them to keep me steady when I didn't have anything else familiar around me.”

In 2013, Lawella’s husband retired from the service and announced that he wanted out of their marriage and walked out. She could no longer live on the military base and she had no money, so she filed for divorce and bankruptcy, it felt like her entire world had collapsed. She looked for housing and apartments but was denied due to her credit. She turned to family, but there wasn’t any room for her and her two daughters anywhere. They were finally offered a place to stay at a family friend’s summer house by the lake, where they stayed for a couple of years. It was a two-bedroom cottage, that lacked proper insulation and was very difficult to keep warm in the brutal Michigan winters. Not the best place to live but a roof over our heads.

While she was working at the Ace Hardware nearby, one of the few stores in a neighboring town, she was introduced to a volunteer who had come in for supplies for Habitat for Humanity. She remembered hearing about Habitat for Humanity many years ago while she worked in a dental office. The dentist’s housekeeper was a Habitat homeowner and talked about the organization.

She was intrigued by what Habitat for Humanity did, so she decided to inquire about volunteering. Since it was the winter they were not working on any homes, so she pushed the idea volunteering with this organization out of her mind.

Two years went by and her oldest daughter graduated from college and moved to Illinois to pursue a teaching career. Lawella wanted to go with her daughter in search of better housing opportunities and decided the family would continue to live together. In 2015, Lawella found a nice apartment, but due to her poor credit history and earlier bankruptcy, her application for an apartment was denied. She had no one else to turn to. So she ultimately broke down and asked her ex-husband to be a co-signer on the lease for her and the children.

Lawella always had a military mindset to buckle down and just get through it, whatever it may be. “You move onto the next stage in life and continue to grind, and its ok to ask for help if you need it.” she said.  This is when the memory of Habitat for Humanity came back to her.  She called to inquire about the homeownership process and came in to the office to apply.  She thought, “I won’t know if I can qualify unless I try.”  

After she submitted her application, she heard back from the Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity affiliate quite fast. Technically, she reached out to them first. “I honestly didn’t think I would be approved since I was under the impression Habitat for Humanity was for young single moms,” said Lawella.

She laughed as she reminisced about being told she was approved. She could not take the suspense, so she decided to take her fate into her own hands. After getting home one day in December, 2015, she notes it was a few days before Christmas, she called Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity to get any news on her application. She was told they just mailed a letter to her the previous day, but since they had her on the phone, they told her she was approved for a home.

She remembers screaming and crying out of feelings of relief and security. She told herself she would wait until Christmas to tell her two daughters the good news, so to keep her mind busy, she went out for a drive. Out of pure excitement, she quickly dialed the phone to call her daughters and revealed the news, just hours after ending the call with Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity.

That has all changed since she and her daughters have moved into their Habitat home.

“In our community, they sit on their porches, take their trash out, do yard work, exchange cookies at Christmas, and pass each other and say hi,” said Lawella. “I’ve even seen a noticeable difference in the sense of community since a Habitat home has moved into the neighborhood. I’m making permanent friends. I have never done that before.”

This home and her Fox Valley community gave Lawella security and the luxury of building a home that is unique to her. She has established a life with roots connecting to all her neighbors and the Fox Valley community as a whole.

“This house is me. It’s security. It’s a peace of mind for me knowing that my daughters will never be told they have nowhere to live. They will never have to go through the panic of hearing they have no options.” 

Lawella has completed more than her share of sweat equity hours and generously helps other Habitat families with their homes as well. Lawella and her daughters had their dedication celebration in March of 2018 and have settled in very nicely since!

Marrufo Family


The Marrufo family have a happy ending for their son

The Marrufo family celebrated the dedication of their home in January, 2019. Their home was built with handicap accessibility for their 14 year old son, Manny. The home they were living in was a challenge for all of them to help take care of him. His wheelchair did not fit through the doorways, so he could not use it inside and they had to carry him up a flight of stairs every night to get to his bedroom. Their bathroom was also not equipped for him to use easily and due to him growing older, it was very hard to help him with his daily needs. 

He is now able to roam freely and maneuver his wheelchair around the whole house! One of the best outcomes of having this home is Manny is able to be more independent and do things for himself that we was not able to do before. He's now able to get in the kitchen and help out and do his own laundry. 

Marisa and Tino are settling into their home with Manny, their oldest son, Raffa, and Tino's mother, Soledad. Welcome home Marrufo Family! We are excited to watch them grow as a family and make many wonderful memories in their home!

Uwamahoro Family

Uwamahoro Family
Uwamahoro Family

A home worth waiting for

In 1972, our families were chased out of Burundi, East Africa by a rival tribe, the Tutsi Tribe. Our families moved from Burundi to Rwanda, then from the camp in Rwanda to the Lukole Refugee Camp in Tanzania, East Africa where we settled for a while with our families. Theo was born in 1988 and I was born in 1993 we were both born in the refugee camp in Rwanda before moving to the Lukole camp.

Living at Lukole Camp was very difficult, but we managed with the little we had. We were just happy to be alive. We had to work for every little thing for survival. The place was very dusty with gravel streets with huge rocks. The community was very small with tents pitched very close to each other. Since the community was so small, people got to know each other well. A life with no electricity or indoor plumping is not easy. We used cooking oil for our lamps at night and always had to make sure we had extra oil, matches, and flashlights for emergencies. After eight o’clock it got very dark and everybody was required to be in their homes.

We were given word that we were going to the USA. Our families were moved once again to Kanembwa Camp to wait for the process to move to the United States.  There we lived for about 18 months. This place was not a place that we could even make a home. We could not farm or go to school. We were treated like dirt because this tribe did not want us on their land and they were jealous that the people living in this camp were going to live in the United States and they were not. All we could do is sit and wait in anticipation for our turn to come to be sent to the USA. Our families lived in refugee camps for 35 years.

Then in 2007 our families were approved to settle in United States by the United High Commissioner for Refugees. When we found out that we were coming to America, we forgot all of our troubles. It was the best news anybody who lived in Lukole could ever have received. In June of 2007 our families immigrated to the United States. I was 14 years old. I graduated from middle and high school in Buffalo, New York. Theo was 18 when his dad and cousins immigrated to Aurora, Illinois. Our families knew each other in Africa. 

Theo and I once again met on Facebook. Our first conversation started when I liked one of Theo’s pictures. We started emailing and chatting with each other, and the romance started from there. We were engaged in August of 2012 and we were married on August 17, 2013. I continue to go to school at Waubonsee Community College for nursing.  My husband is an assistant supervisor at Berry Plastics. He has worked there since 2008. In November of 2014 we had our beautiful daughter and now we are expecting another baby in October 2016. (They now have another beautiful daughter!)

We presently live in a studio apartment with one bathroom and a shared living room/bedroom space. Everything we had once gathered for a home we had to get rid of because of lack of space. We were in desperate need of a bigger place to live after the birth of our first daughter, but were unable to afford a bigger apartment.

We learned about Habitat for Humanity from other families and friends who live in different states. Almost everybody we know from Africa who has moved to the United States owns a habitat home. They told us that the houses are the right size and very affordable. That’s when we searched for an affiliate in our area and met Debbi Albright.  We applied for a home in November of 2014 and with much prayer we hoped that our family would be chosen. We were always waiting with anticipation for the postman to bring us some good news. Then one day in the spring of 2015, Theo went to get the mail and there was a letter from Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity. The letter said that we were accepted and would be new future homeowners. Both Theo and I started to cry with happiness and we celebrated and started to plan our new home. 

We are very excited to be a part of the Habitat family. We have always wanted a bigger place to call home where our children can grow up. Living in a one bedroom house with everything stacked up on top of each other is dangerous with a toddler in the house. Habitat for Humanity is making our dream come true. Just working with Habitat families and getting to know each other is a blessing. On July 22, 2016 Barbara called from Habitat to ask me if our family would be free in August to have a groundbreaking for our new house. I was silent for a moment and asked Barbara if she was joking. She said it was no joke and that our new home was going to be located at Solfisburg in Aurora and our groundbreaking ceremony would be on August 23rd. I was so excited that I was screaming and shouting hallelujah!

God promised us a bigger place before we even knew about Habitat for Humanity and He has kept His promise. We thank God for giving us the house this soon because we need it more than ever. God is good! We can’t tell you in words what this means to our family. All we can say is, Thank you Lord! -Odette & Theo Uwamahoro

In January of 2018, the Uwamahoro Family had a dedication for their home. They are enjoying the extra space and luxuries that their old home did not have and watching their daughters grow and thrive in their new home.

Bonnie Proctor

Challenger Logo
Challenger Logo

Bonnie Proctor, the owner and President of Challenger Lighting Company, has contributed $5,000 towards the 2019 Women's Build home. Bonnie's passion for women homeownership radiates through her story and inspires all.

Bonnie Proctor, the owner and President of Challenger Lighting Company, has contributed $5,000 towards the 2019 Women’s Build home. Challenger Lighting is a manufacturer of custom Decorative Lighting fixtures for the hospitality market. Over the past year, Challenger has donated hundreds of lamps and light fixates to organizations including Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity. Although Bonnie’s generosity is also contributed by her and her husband’s donation for a home deconstruction in Wisconsin. 

 Bonnie was raised in a single parent home with her mother working both a full time and a part time job to support her last three kids. When the youngest child was in high school, Bonnie’s mother was able to become a homeowner with the assistance of her son. Bonnie reminisces on the pride her mother took in that home, and of the beautiful flowers she planted to make it her own. Bonnie describes, “The confidence in home ownership meant never worrying again about the landlord telling her she had to move next month because a family member would be taking over the house she had tended for years.” That confidence of Bonnie’s mother is the same confidence Habitat wishes upon their homeowners.

The Women’s Build home took a special place in Bonnie’s heart. Bonnie explains, “The Women Build home is much larger than the woman’s name on the mortgage; it’s her children, grandchildren, possibly her parents and siblings that are all affected by the stability the house represents.” Challenger Lighting contributed to the home, but that contribution would be nothing without the hearts of women like Bonnie, who are able to let give women the same confidence Bonnie admires and radiates.

Lawella's Story


Lawella brings sunshine into the lives of everyone she encounters. Through all of the hardships she has experienced, there is no denying that a woman that radiates positivity should deserve a place to call home. As a mother (of humans and canines), a veteran, and a Fox Valley Habitat homeowner, Lawella has proven again and again that you can achieve anything

Lawella is a mother of two, three if you count her dog.  She loves baking cookies, doing arts and crafts, collecting socks and making hats to donate to the inner city kids.  She is a homeowner, more specifically, a Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity homeowner who still volunteers weekly with the Fox Valley Builder’s Club.  She is also a disabled veteran.

Lawella, like many veterans, joined the military for a variety of reasons.  The military offered her more than any college or job could: a way out of poverty, a home, an education and the pride of serving her country.   And while all veterans’ stories are unique, her story is much like others, leaving and returning home to nothing.

When Lawella graduated high school, she moved to South Carolina with a boyfriend, who was in the military at the time.  She received a Secretarial Science Associate’s Degree, but really dreaded working as a secretary. After consulting with her boyfriend, she came to the conclusion that the military had much to offer her, including a way out of a mundane routine and the possibility of making this into a career. In 1985, Lawella enlisted in the Air Force as active-duty personnel where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource Administration.

Lawella met her now ex-husband during her four years in active duty.  After her four years of service had ended, her husband continued a life devoted to the military while Lawella stayed behind as a military wife to raise their two children.  Lawella explains how being a military spouse for 17 years was so difficult.  “I was basically a single parent while my husband was deployed for more than six months at a time every year.  I raised our children by myself and had to take care of all my family’s physical and emotional needs on my own.  We lived in military housing on base and there was always a constant turnover of Air Force families moving in and out.  It was so hard to make friends because we were always moving from base to base.”  Life had thrown everything at her, including natural disasters, poor housing, and the longing to have a permanent place to belong.

“Growing up in a military family was a very unique experience.  Rather than remembering a childhood home, I remember all the people I met, the best restaurants from all the different towns, and being raised to be independent and ready for change at the drop of a hat,” said Lawella’s youngest daughter.  “I had to learn from a very young age to say goodbye to good friends, become used to being the new kid in town, and that I shouldn't expect my bedroom to stay my bedroom for long.  My family was one of the few constants in my life. I relied on them to keep me steady when I didn't have anything else familiar around me.”

In 2013, Lawella’s husband retired from the service and announced that he wanted out of their marriage and walked out.  She could no longer live on the military base and she had no money, so she filed for divorce and bankruptcy, it felt like her entire world had collapsed.  She looked for housing and apartments but was denied due to her credit.  She turned to family, but there wasn’t any room for her and her two daughters anywhere.  They were finally offered a place to stay at a family friend’s summer house by the lake, where they stayed for a couple of years.  It was a two-bedroom cottage, that lacked proper insulation and was very difficult to keep warm in the brutal Michigan winters.  Not the best place to live but a roof over our heads.

While she was working at the Ace Hardware nearby, one of the few stores in a neighboring town, she was introduced to a volunteer who had come in for supplies for Habitat for Humanity. She remembered hearing about Habitat for Humanity many years ago while she worked in a dental office. The dentist’s housekeeper was a Habitat homeowner and talked about the organization.

She was intrigued by what Habitat for Humanity did, so she decided to inquire about volunteering.   Since it was the winter they were not working on any homes, so she pushed the idea volunteering with this organization out of her mind.

Two years went by and her oldest daughter graduated from college and moved to Illinois to pursue a teaching career.  Lawella wanted to go with her daughter in search of better housing opportunities and decided the family would continue to live together. In 2015, Lawella found a nice apartment, but due to her poor credit history and earlier bankruptcy, her application for an apartment was denied.  She had no one else to turn to.  So she ultimately broke down and asked her ex-husband to be a co-signer on the lease for her and the children.

Lawella always had a military mindset to buckle down and just get through it, whatever it may be. “You move onto the next stage in life and continue to grind, and its ok to ask for help if you need it.” she said.  This is when the memory of Habitat for Humanity came back to her.  She called to inquire about the homeownership process and came in to the office to apply.  She thought, “I won’t know if I can qualify unless I try.”  

After she submitted her application, she heard back from the Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity affiliate quite fast.  Technically, she reached out to them first.   “I honestly didn’t think I would be approved since I was under the impression Habitat for Humanity was for young single moms,” said Lawella.

She laughed as she reminisced about being told she was approved.  She could not take the suspense, so she decided to take her fate into her own hands. After getting home one day in December, 2015, she notes it was a few days before Christmas, she called Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity to get any news on her application.  She was told they just mailed a letter to her the previous day, but since they had her on the phone, they told her she was approved for a home.

She remembers screaming and crying out of feelings of relief and security.  She told herself she would wait until Christmas to tell her two daughters the good news, so to keep her mind busy, she went out for a drive.  Out of pure excitement, she quickly dialed the phone to call her daughters and revealed the news, just hours after ending the call with Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity.

That has all changed since she and her daughters have moved into their Habitat home.

“In our community, they sit on their porches, take their trash out, do yard work, exchange cookies at Christmas, and pass each other and say hi,” said Lawella.  “I’ve even seen a noticeable difference in the sense of community since a Habitat home has moved into the neighborhood. I’m making permanent friends.  I have never done that before.”

This home and her Fox Valley community gave Lawella security and the luxury of building a home that is unique to her.  She has established a life with roots connecting to all her neighbors and the Fox Valley community as a whole.

“This house is me.  It’s security.  It’s a peace of mind for me knowing that my daughters will never be told they have nowhere to live.  They will never have to go through the panic of hearing they have no options.”

Mark Knox

Mark Knox pic
Mark Knox pic

Thank you, Mark, for your dedication to Fox Valley Habitat.

Mark Knox began serving on the Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity board of directors in 2016, but his involvement with Habitat began the year before. Mark and his wife were invited by one of Mark’s colleagues to participate in a build event in Atlanta, Georgia during the summer of 2015. He explained that they spent the day installing roof shingles in the summer heat, but the heat did not stop them. They worked until the last minute they could, rushed to the airport, cleaned off in a restroom sink, and boarded the plane back to Illinois. After this event, Mark was inspired by the quality of workmanship, excitement of the volunteers, and how appreciative the families were in Georgia, that he decided to get involved back home. Mark soon became a member of the board of directors for the Fox Valley affiliate in 2016.

Mark has been a very active member of the board, as he truly takes interest in the development of the affiliate and the families within the program. Mark explains, “I realize that I have been very blessed in my own life and know first-hand how important it is to have a place to call home, raise a family, and develop lasting memories. Being involved with a Habitat build always brings a different experience and every home dedication always touches my heart.” Mark goes on to explain that he believes it is very important for anyone to volunteer with their community, and that it is important to give back to those who do not have the same luxuries as oneself. Mark describes, “Being involved with Habitat allows me the opportunity to give back to my community with my time, resources, and talents. Being on the board has also allowed me to work with many talented people who share my passion and spirit to make a difference in other’s lives.”

 Thank you for your dedication to Fox Valley Habitat, Mark.

Renee's Story


Renee has overcome hardship after hardship, and her resilience and determination to provide for her family is inspiring to all. Renee and her children have been living in their home since 2012, and there is truly no other way to describe Renee's feelings than "blessed."

Renee grew up in New Jersey, where she went to Community College proceeded by moving to South Carolina to pursue her love for culinary arts and restaurant management. Renee has always been a go-getter, so nothing could get in the way of her following her dreams. Once she received her degree, she was offered a job working for Marriot in Chicago. Renee packed her bags and once she arrived, she met the man who would soon become the father of her three children. After finding out that she was pregnant with their oldest child, they decided to move back to New Jersey, where she then had two of her children.

 Renee was on her own and was trying to find the most affordable and practical housing for her family. Renee and her children moved back to Illinois in order to give her kids the best life that she could. They moved around a lot, but specifically Renee recalls that there was a time that the family of four was living in a loft with inadequate air conditioning, barely any windows, mold, and overall a bad living space for her kids. This is when her son, Charlie, started acting out. Renee knew that the only hope for her family to start getting a firm foundation, was to find a home for her kids to feel safe and secure.

 Renee was looking at many options, but she could not afford rent for an apartment that would fulfill all of their needs. She resorted to borrowing a friend’s computer to research programs that would provide her family affordable housing, and she found Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity. Renee called the affiliate’s office, and she asked when the next orientation meeting would be. Initially, she felt very intimidated, but she sent in her application and was approved! Right away, Renee describes the love and support of the staff and other homeowners, as they would watch her kids so she could do the sweat equity hours required for her to receive her home. All of the homeowners are required to attend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, which teaches the homeowners how to manage their finances. Renee says that because of this program, she is now excited to budget and pay her bills, and how much that has positively influenced her life today.

 Renee recalls a moment when she was in queue that she read in the newspaper that Fox Valley Habitat had acquired two houses, one being on Michigan Ave in Aurora. Immediately, her thoughts went back to her time working with Marriot. Before moving to Chicago, the only thing she knew of was Michigan Ave, where the Marriot was located. Renee drove by the houses and told herself, “I am going to live here.” One night after a Financial Peace University seminar, Fox Valley Habitat CEO, Jeff Barrett, called her into his office and he told her that one of the houses on Michigan Ave was going to be hers. Renee said that this was the moment that everything felt like it was going to fall into place.

 As of February 2012, Renee and her children have lived in that home. Renee describes Charlie’s thoughts, that “having a house is so special because it makes him feel safe and secure. It is his favorite place to be,” and she states that all of her children feel this way. Her family is now able to have pets, and they currently have a dog and two cats. Her kids now constantly talk about their pets, and that they are very proud of that aspect of their life. While yes, her kids now live in a safe and secure home, but Renee is also graced with that same security. Renee says that she “went from surviving and is moving towards thriving,” and that is exactly what Habitat is about. Renee has been able to give her children a place to grow up, a place of security, and the ability to tend to her children’s needs. When it comes down to it, Renee describes, “I want the best for my kids. The best is not a brand new BMW, but it is a place to live, make memories, and grow together.”

Janice's Story


From Kenya to the United States, Janice's story never ceases to amaze.

Janice’s story starts in Kenya, Africa. Janice grew up in Kenya, and this is where she obtained her high school diploma, as well as began her college career. Kenya is also where she met the love of her life, George. Janice, her three younger sisters, and her mother lived in Kenya, while her father was living in the United States. He had left them to go to medical school, but Janice’s parents wanted their girls to go to high school in Kenya. In December 2013, the Owino women joined Janice’s father in the United States, but that meant that Janice would leave George behind in Kenya.

Janice restarted her college degree at North Central College, where she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in chemical microscopy in June 2018. After graduation, Janice started working at BP as a chemist. She also works part-time at RR Donelley, and in her free time she volunteers at World Relief as an interpreter for refugees that just entered the United States.

The four and a half years that Janice was apart from George were very difficult, but they continued their relationship through texting and video chatting. Once Janice graduated college, she flew to Kenya and married her high school sweetheart. Since getting married, Janice and George have been awaiting the day that George would get approval to move to the United States. If all goes as planned, the two will be reunited for good by January of 2020.

Awaiting her husband’s arrival, Janice knew she would need a home for the two of them—a home that was not also her parent’s home. One of her coworkers at RR Donelley, Ezechiel, a Fox Valley Habitat homeowner, expressed to Janice the benefits of Habitat and how much Habitat has helped him and his wife, who are also refugees from Africa. Janice was very hesitant at first, but she began research on Habitat. Due to the cost of college, Janice knew it would be very difficult for her to be approved for a mortgage from a traditional bank because of her student loans. There were many things holding Janice back from applying for a Habitat home: her husband still living in Kenya, her student loans, and the general fear of not being accepted. Although discouraged, she decided to send in her application anyway in March 2019.

By the beginning of July the same year, Janice was signing her partnership agreement with Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity. “Excited” was the only word Janice could use to describe how she felt. Janice is excited that she will not have to work three jobs and struggle financially just to afford a mortgage. Janice is excited to have her husband join her, and that they will soon have a place for their future children to grow up. Janice is excited that her and her husband will have a comfortable life. Janice is excited to have her growing family stable in one location to call “home.” Although one of the things Janice explained she was most excited about, is her ability to decorate her own home. With all of these amazing things happening in Janice’s life, she is very grateful and blessed to be able to say that her husband will be joining her soon, and that they will have a home together. After seven years a part, it all is about to be worth it, and Janice could not be more excited.

McCormick Brothers

McCormick
McCormick

Thank you to the McCormick brothers for your years of dedication to Fox Valley Habitat!

Dave and Steven McCormick, founders of First Centennial Mortgage, have continued to surprise the Fox Valley Habitat community with their generosity from the start of their journey with FVHH. The brothers initally met with Jeffrey Barrett, Fox Valley Habitat's CEO, in June of 2013. The two explain how they were incredibly moved by the acts of Fox Valley Habitat within their community. Dave and Steven wanted to be involved immediately, and they supported a fundraising campaign with a donation of four plots of land. Shortly after this donation, Dave and Steven joined the Board of Directors and have been active members since.

Dave and Steven have dedicated over 20 years to homeownership and mortgage banking. They explain how they were naturally inspired by the work Fox Valley Habitat was doing in the community, specifically with affordble homeownership. Steven explains, "The impact a stable home can have on an entire family is incredible and the Fox Valley Habitat affiliate has story after story of that playing out in our community. A piece of Habitat literature we once read said it best: 'Habitat seeks to put God's love into action by building homes, communities, and hope.'"

Not only are Dave and Steven active within the FVHH community, but they encourage their co-workers to be active as well. Often times, their office will participate in a build day. They explain that these build days with their co-workers have served as some of their most memorable moments working with Habitat. Working alongside with the family that will soon be living in the house provides a sense of accomplishment, and the brothers explain that everyone in their office finds great joy to work with the community in this way.

Involvement within the Habitat community has not only greatly impacted Dave and Steven, but their families have been impacted as well. Combined, the two have eight children. Their children are always asking how or when they can be involved with Habitat because they have witnessed the amazing things that Habitat has done in their community. Dave and Steven have also brought many insights to the Habitat Board due to their experience in mortgage banking.

On behalf of the Fox Valley Habitat affiliate, thank you McCormick brothers. Your dedication to our affiliate has created so many opportunities for us as an organization, and your generous acts have given countless families in the community more than they could have asked for. 

The Nibitanga Family Story


Ezechiel and Yoranda are both refugees from eastern Africa. Since their move to the United States in 2015, they have gotten married, welcomed a beautiful son into the world, and have tried to find a place to call home. After finding Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity, they are excited to have a place for their son to grow up, and a safe place they can all call home

The Nibitanga Family story starts in the countries of Burundi and Tanzania, both countries are in Eastern Africa. Ezechiel was born in the year 1986 in Burundi, Africa. In 1993 his family was chased out of Burundi by a rival tribe, and they found themselves in a refugee camp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After Ezechiel’s family was tragically killed, he settled in the Mtabila Refugee Camp in Tanzania. He stayed in this camp from the years 1996-2012. Yoranda, Ezechiel’s wife, was born in 1990 in the Gatumba refugee camp. When Yoranda was seven years old, her family moved from the camp that she was born in, to the Mtabila Refugee Camp in Tanzania—the same camp that Ezechiel was living.

Ezechiel described his time in this camp as, “Happy, because I was not involved in the war.” The camp offered schooling for those in it, but it was impossible to leave the camp. Ezechiel explained that if one was to leave the camp and get caught, then they would receive six months in prison. The streets were made of gravel and large rocks, and the air was extremely dusty. After 8 o’clock at night, everyone was ordered to be in their homes. They used cooking oil to fuel their lamps at night, as they did not have any electricity or plumbing. Because the camp was so small, everyone knew each other and became family. It was a small community—everyone knew everyone.

In 2012, both Ezechiel and Yoranda were moved to the Nyarugusu Refugee Camp in Tanzania, patiently awaiting their move to the United States. Ezechiel described the treatment in this camp as “being treated like dirt.” The officials were jealous of those in the camp, as they would be leaving the country to live in the United States. They were ultimately treated like the enemy for the three years they lived there, but it all became worth it in 2015 when they were approved by the High Commissioner for Refugees to come to the United States. Ezechiel said, “It was the best news anyone could have received.” Everyone in the camp was given the option of going to the United States or staying in Africa because the country was now at peace. Ezechiel explained to them that the people who had killed his family knew he was still alive, and that he would also be killed if he returned to Burundi. He was then approved to immigrate to the United States.

Later in 2015, Ezechiel and Yoranda were settled in the US. Although because they were simply friends before their move, they resided in separate states. Ezechiel found his home in Aurora, Illinois, and Yoranda was with her family in Lansing, Michigan. Ezechiel realized that he wanted to be with Yoranda, so he called her and asked her to be his girlfriend. They married in September 2017 and welcomed a beautiful baby boy in June 2018.

With their growing family, they soon realized that their one-bedroom apartment would no longer suffice. After moving to the United States, Ezechiel was in touch with other immigrants from the same country as him, which is how he met Theo and Odette Uwamahoro, who are Fox Valley Habitat homeowners. Theo and Odette explained what Habitat had provided for them, and that they provide affordable housing for those who qualify. Ezechiel and Yoranda asked their families and friends what they knew about Habitat, and they learned that Yoranda’s relatives live in a Habitat home in Buffalo, New York. Ezechiel explained that it seemed like everything was falling into place, and that they were lead to Habitat as their place to find somewhere to call home. They attended a homeowner orientation in October 2018. They learned that Habitat seemed like it would be perfect for their family. With their nerves at an all-time high, the Nibitangas sent in their application for a home in November 2018.

After their application went through and was approved by the first committee, Julie and Barb from the Fox Valley Habitat office went to do the home visit. Ezechiel and Yoranda explained how nervous they were because of their current living situation. The home visit was a success, and the Nibitanga family was approved for a Habitat home. Barb called the Nibitanga family one morning and shared with them the good news. Ezechiel described this feeling as one of the best ones he had ever felt. Both Ezechiel and Yoranda cried with happiness and celebrated with their son. The thought of becoming homeowners made them speechless. Their son currently does not have room to play, and they both explained that having space for their son to play and grow will be one of the most exciting parts. The Nibitanga’s are excited for a place to call home, in their new home of the United States. Ezechiel states, “Just working with Habitat families and getting to know each other is a blessing. Thank you, Habitat for Humanity, for making our dream come true.”

Habitat Hero Award Dinner

Future Faith Build homeowner, Carmen, and her daughters were the guests of honor at this years event.

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The 2018 Habitat Hero Award Dinner was held at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago in June. Carmen is the future homeowner of our Faith Build 2018 home. Carmen and her daughters were the guests of honor that evening. Along with Carmen and her daughters was her best friend, Rubi (2017 FVHFH Faith Build homeowner) and her daughters. Also in attendance was some of our Fox Valley Habitat staff and board members.

CBS Chicago's Irika Sargent was the Habitat Hero Award Dinner emcee. Hilti Corporation and Ed Wehmer, CEO of Wintrust Financial were also honored in recognition of their contributions and for partnering to support Habitat homeowners across Chicagoland.

Carmen is building a better life for her daughters – because every family deserves a foundation for the future.

You can find out more about Carmen and her journey that brought her to Fox Valley Habitat by watching her very moving video on our website. Follow this link to see the video. 

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Our volunteers Rock!


Volunteers from all over have been helping us this summer

We have had some amazing volunteers the past couple of months! They have battled cold, stifling hot, and wet, muddy weather, but that hasn't stopped any of them from coming out and giving it their all. We have our church groups for our Faith Build home and many groups that are from a wide variety of corporations. One group had volunteers from 10 different states as far as California!

There has been a ton of progress on both of the homes and we appreciate all of the hard work and dedication that goes into building them. We couldn't do it without all of you; thank you! Below are a few of those hard working volunteers. If you would like to join us as a volunteer, please register at: www.volunteerfvhabitat.com


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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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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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Welcome Home


Meet our newest Habitat Homeowners

 

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Barb Zegiel (FVHH) & Rubi Mata                 Matt Hutchison (Thrivent Financial) & Jeff Barrett (Executive Director FVHH)

December 2nd was a day for celebrating for the Mata family! Rubi and her daughters are the proud owners of our Faith Build 2017 home. Their dedication ceremony in December brought together many people from all the churches and other volunteers that were involved with the home. Some helped in the building process with starting out with no experience and quickly learning, and some brought their skills to teach to others. Others helped out by bringing food and drinks to the build site for the volunteers. Some of the churches raised funds by hosting events such as a trivia night, chili and chocolate lunch, pancake breakfast, and other fun events. 

Thrivent Financial generously contributed to Faith Build 2017 by matching the funds from the participating churches and other donors up to $75,000. They recently announced that they are going to fund our Faith Build 2018 as well! Thank you Thrivent Financial for your passion in our mission to build homes for deserving families!

You can learn more about our Faith Build homes on our website.

 

 

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Jeff Barrett, Ron Kelso (FVHH Board Chair), & Chris Schindler (FVHH) / George Colis (Oxford Bank) & John Colis (Euclid Insurance) & Families

The Uwamahoro family also had their dedication ceremony recently on January 14th. Their home was funded by the generous people at Oxford Bank and Euclid Insurance. The Uwamahoro home is part of a subdivision known as Peter's Place on Solfisburg Ave. in Aurora. The subdivision was named in honor of Peter Colis; the father of George and John. George is the President and Ceo of Oxford Financial Corp. in Oakbrook, and John is the President and Ceo of Euclid Insurance Services in Itasca. Peter Colis founded both companies over sixty years ago. The Colis brothers have continued their fathers legacy with his founded companies and his passion for Fox Valley Habitat. They have funded several homes for FVHH, and the Uwamahoro home is number six for them. They recently announced that they are going to fund the final home for the Peter's Place subdivision for the Marrufo family that will be built this year. We are honored to have them as contributers to our organization and hope to continue working with them for many years to come.

Volunteer Spotlight


Our spotlight is on Nissan this month

 

 

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A group from Nissan recently came out to work at one of our homeowners home. Fox Valley Habitat built a home 14 years ago for Virinda and Dino, and, unfortunately, Dino's health had declined in the past few years, but the upkeep on their home was something that he still strived to maintain. He was also known as the "community maintenance man" in their neighborhood and helped his neighbors with their homes, even as his health declined. Sadly, Dino was diagnosed with cancer and Virinda was his full time care giver for the last year of his life. During that time, the outside of their home and yard did not get the attention it usually had. Dino fought hard, but he lost his battle earlier this year. Virinda reached out to us for help for the outside of their home, so we sent our volunteer group from Nissan out to her. They cleaned and fixed the gutters, trimmed the hedges, edged the lawn, weeded, and got a bunch of unneeded tile out of her house. They wanted to do the finishing touch of mowing her lawn, but discovered her lawn mower was broken. They unanimously agreed and set off to buy her a new lawn mower! By the time they left, the lawn looked flawless. A huge thank you to Nissan for your generosity and hard work. We know Virinda was very touched and so very thankful for your selfless act of kindness. I'm sure Dino would be just as pleased and thankful for the love and kindness you showed to his family that day.

 

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If you have a group that would like to come out and work with us please contact Chris at: c.schindler@foxvalleyhabiatat.org. You can also read more about our Collaborative Build Days on our website.

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