Celeste McDuffie was one of our first families to own a home in our Hope Landing community and shared with us how becoming a homeowner has changed her life. A single mother of two, Celeste made the important decision to become a homeowner when she brought her two daughters, Julissa and Yari, out to the build site to take a look. “Do we get to play outside mom? Do we get to stay here?” they asked. Celeste knew then that partnering with Habitat was the right move for her and her family’s future. “I didn’t have a lot of stability growing up, so to know that I didn’t have to move again, that this was going to be my kid’s forever home – that mattered to me”.

Celeste has worked for Manatee County for the past 20 years, in addition to owning her own business as a personal assistant. When asked about how her life has changed, Celeste shared “I now have a sense of security, stability, and a forever home. People don’t think about what it takes to be a homeowner, the repairs, the maintenance, even things like mowing the grass. It was a learning experience – but an important one”. Celeste now serves on the Manatee Habitat Family Services committee, where she helps new homeowners start their journey with Manatee Habitat.