See how hard work and your support can change lives.
See how hard work and your support can change lives.
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.
The Home Repair Program of Manatee Habitat is giving families in Bradenton a hand up to make repairs they could not afford through traditional financing channels. The Hamiltons have lived in their house since 1974. Originally from Slocum, Alabama, Nell Hamilton came to Florida and worked in banking customer service for 36 years. Now retired and a widow, she also cares for her mother who is blind. Her roof was leaking and she could not afford to replace it.
“The staff were so nice and answered all my questions and got me signed up. All the volunteers and crew were wonderful. I thank God for it every day,” said Nell. Now with a new roof, a new door and windows, she knows she has a secure home again and she is hearing how nice her house looks from her neighbors.
The Kendalls were the recipients of Manatee Habitat’s 2018 Interfaith Build home – a collaborative efforts of Manatee County’s faith organizations who raised the funds and volunteer hours to build the Kendall home. Several of the faith communities have been involved previously in Manatee Habitat homebuilding, but this is the first time multiple denominations and faiths have come together to take on a project from start to finish. The planners envisioned and welcomed the concept of an Interfaith Build and more faith communities are encouraged to join the effort.
“What a wonderful outpouring of love we are receiving,” said Jackie Kendall with her husband Marvin and grandson Marcus. Marvin is a custodian at Suncoast Behavioral Health Center in Bradenton and Jackie is a housekeeper in private homes and a “minister outside the walls of church.” Marcus Jr. is a 10th grader at Southeast High School. The Kendall’s have three grown children. Their two daughters and son are all military veterans.
One of our newest prospective Habitat homeowners is Markisha Harris, who has lived in Florida her whole life and has strong ties to the community. She currently works as an LPN at an assisted living facility where she has worked for over 3 years.
A single mother of 3 children, Markisha dreams of furthering her education by going back to school to complete her RN Associates degree. Her
proudest accomplishment so far is to get her LPN degree. For Markisha, “Owning my own home will change my life for the better because it will become one of the biggest accomplishment for me and my family!”
One of our newest prospective homeowners is Robin Chacon Primous. At just 23 years old, Robin is a single parent to her 7-year-old foster child Janaiya. Robin has been a dental assistant for 4 years and has overcome many obstacles in her life to meet her career goals.
Robin has cared for her foster daughter, Janaiya (now 7 years old) since she was only 4 and Robin was just 21. Robin saw a child in need and bonded with Janaiya immediately, who wants to be a ballerina or teacher when she grows up. For Robin, being a foster mom has been an amazing experience, and giving Janaiya a home is something she has always wanted to do. In her own words, “This is a gift from God. That is the best way for me to explain it”.
One of our newest Habitat homeowners is Tomacita Luna and her son Danny. Tomacita is an administrative secretary at an elementary school in Manatee County and has been with the district over 25 years! Tomacita’s son Danny is a freshman in high school and is an avid player on both his school’s football and wrestling teams.
For Tomacita, “To own my own home would be a dream come true. It would be a blessing not only for me and my son but for my older children and grandchildren. My family and friends are happy that you are giving me this opportunity and who are also very willing to help build my home.”
Welcome to the Habitat family Tomacita and Danny!
The Hernandez family’s story is one of faith, love, and courage in the face of adversity. Emilio was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2014 and has battled two different forms of cancer in just five years with the support of his wife Noemi and their sons, Noah and Phoenix. “The love of my family keeps me going and I’m doing this for them,” explains Emilio.
Diagnosed with glaucoma at the age of three, Noemi has persevered through a lifelong vision impairment to support her family and works full time for the Manatee County School District. Their sons, who were diagnosed with cataracts as children, champion their parent’s resilience and determination by pursuing their own dreams in the music and technology fields. For the Hernandez family, owning their own home would be a source of pride, stability, and joy.
Fun fact: Noemi is the daughter of Tomacita Luna, who just became a Manatee Habitat Homeowner this year. That’s three generations of Habitat homeowners right here in Manatee County. Whoa!
An authorization specialist at the Bradenton Heart Center, Mariam Gonzalez raises her three children, Jassiel, Ariel, and Mariamly, to always believe in their dreams. Mariam’s oldest son Jassiel is currently in college on a partial football scholarship and is the first person in their family to attend college. Ariel lives with his dad in Pennsylvania and comes out to Florida every summer to be with his mom and siblings. Mariamly is a smart and caring young lady who wants to become a cardiologist when she grows up so she can take care of her grandfather.
For Mariam, providing a stable home for her family is a big part of her life. “I’m helping build my own home, and helping build the homes of others just like me who have always dreamed of becoming homeowners and now have the opportunity to give back. I know that I put in hard work to build my home and take even more pride in it”.
Lakiera Carter seeks to build a strong foundation for her three-year-old son Ja’mir by owning her own home with Manatee Habitat. Currently living with family, Lakiera is excited to show her son that anything is possible with hard work and determination. Lakeria tells us “Being a homeowner means a lot to me. I’ve never had a place to call my own before, and having this opportunity brings a smile to my face when I think of it”.
A single mom, Lakiera has worked in the service industry for six years and is excited to work with volunteers and other homeowners to build more affordable housing in Manatee County. For Lakiera, “working with Habitat will help me gain financial stability and live independently – my son and I will have peace of mind and a better future in our own home”. Please join us in congratulating Lakiera and Ja’mir for taking the first step towards homeownership with Habitat!
One of our newest prospective homeowners is Martiza Giraldo and her daughter Kimberly. No stranger to hard work, Maritza earned her degree in paralegal studies while working full time and raising her daughter as a single mom. Her daughter Kimberly is in the 6th grade and is an incredibly bright and gifted student, participating in the math & engineering program Odyssey of the Minds. “I love to build things and meet new people. It’s a lot of fun because we all work together to make something amazing”.
Maritza and Kimberly have waited six years for a Habitat home – and never lost faith that it would happen one day. “The fact that I’m doing it on my own, as a single parent, and giving my daughter a better future – it’s a real dream come true”. When talking about what being a homeowner means to her, Maritza’s was overcome with joy, saying “I’ve prayed for this for so long. It’s a wonderful feeling to bring your child up in a community that you helped build – it shows her that anything is possible”. Please join us in welcoming Maritza, Kimberly, and their cat Angel to the Manatee Habitat family of future homeowners!