See how hard work and your support can change lives.
See how hard work and your support can change lives.
Please meet Blonetha Calvo, who is excited about having her own home in Palmetto. Blonetha is originally from Ft. Lauderdale where she and her husband of 25 years lived. They both worked for Broward County Library Services. Blonetha has 3 grown children who are out of area.
In 2005 Blonetha and her husband looked for a place to retire to in Florida. They did research and settled on Manatee county because it was slower and quiet than Broward County, yet still had a lot of interesting people and things to do. So, they decided to move here for their “Golden” years. They enjoyed bowling, going to the movies, and getting together with friends. Unfortunately, in 2016, her husband passed away because of unattended health issues. Blonetha has vowed to change her lifestyle and now is an advocate of healthy eating and works out regularly. She is very happy.
She is semi retired and works part time as a care-giver. The rest of the time she enjoys going to different churches (post COVID). She loves to read, and cook and going out with friends.
She has always dreamed of owning her own house. She can hardly wait to start her hours working on Habitat homes and she has 3 good friends to help! She will be our first homeowner for our 1 bedroom/1bath in the Triangle.
Please click here to donate and help Blonetha feel the security of homeownership.
US Army Veteran Terry Bibbins is our next prospective homeowner. Terry was raised right here in Palmetto and after graduating from Palmetto High he enlisted in the Army. A Cannon Crew Member, he rose to the rank of Sergeant and served his country in Iraq from 2003 through 2006. His military service ended after six years with many awards and an honorable discharge, he returned to his home, Palmetto, FL.
Like most combat veterans, his transition to civilian life was not easy, but he was committed to getting healthy. He started teaching martial arts to a small group of students in his back yard which helped keep him focused. Eventually Terry was able to open Bibbins Tae Kwon Do Studio in Palmetto. His primary mission through his dojo working with the youth in Palmetto is to teach basic skills stressing the importance of a solid foundation, establishing strong study habits, at an early age to build confidence in our young citizens. Additionally, Terry’s dojo offers an after-school program to encourage students to take part in Tae Kwon Do which supplements our culture, helps them improve their concentration so they can continue to demonstrate excellence in their educational endeavors. He is now celebrating twelve years as a 7th degree black belt, an entrepreneur and business owner. Terry has many awards attesting to his commitment to his craft and to the young citizens in his community.
He was recently awarded the DeMolay Chevalier in 2020 from the Manatee Chapter Order of DeMolay. Terry is an outstanding member of the West Coast Lodge 409 Free and Accepted Masons. Fishing, cooking, and gardening with his family and friends fill the remainder of his free time.
Terry has been a community leader for the area youth since opening his studio believing the kids need adults to look up to. One parent expressed her joy that her children finally had a small business owner who looked like they did, giving them something to strive for!
Click here to donate to Terry’s Veteran Build home.
Manatee Habitat is happy to introduce you the Edwards family. Shana is a hard-working single mom to 3 boys and a girl. Shane is 20, and is interested in becoming an EMT, Eden is 4, twin boys Ethan and Elijah are 2 1/2, they haven’t quite decided career paths just yet.
Weekdays you will find Shana hard at work with the Burn & Reconstructive Centers of America. She will be celebrating her 3″ anniversary with them very soon. Weekends she prefers to spend with her family and children visiting the local beaches, county, and state parks. An avid outdoor family, they love the beach and trail hikes. Shana considers herself fortunate that she has both family locally, mom, dad and sister, and a tribe of close friends, like-minded mothers, wives, and female entrepreneurs that share their knowledge, wisdom, and strength
This Detroit native has been a Manatee County resident since 2004 and has no plans of ever leaving. Having her “own home here in Manatee County would be a source of stability and safety for myself and my family. I am excited to have a yard my children can play in and where I can plant flowers, have a garden and barbeque!
Having volunteered with Habitat back in Detroit, Shana is excited to get started earning her own sweat equity hours “I think it’s an awesome idea to have volunteers build your home. It shows that people actually care and are
willing to give back time, energy and possibly resources to their community.”
Click here to donate toward Shana and her four beautiful children’s new home
Manatee Habitat is happy to introduce you to our newest family entering the Home Buyer Program LaShawn’te Lee and her three children! Victoria, 10, Isaac Amir, 5, and Isabella, 3, are the light of LaShawn’te’s life and she is dedicated to their health and well being! Singing, exercise, hiking in nature, traveling and simply playing outside are just some of their favorite family activities
Lashawn’te has been a member of the Children First Inc. team for the past 18 months where she is utilizing her degree from SCF and plans on one day becoming an educational consultant for ages birth to five.
Union Springs Alabama is the family ancestral home where her brother still lives today. LaShawn’te has made her permanent home here in Manatee Counter and counts her many friends as chosen family members. She is looking forward to having her own forever home and beginning her self-sufficiency journey.
Getting to meet the amazing and compassionate people who will be volunteering on her home while she completes her sweat equity is one of the things she is looking forward to most Right now LaShawn’te describes herself in one one word; thankful! Thankful she found Manatee Habitat and is able to join the Home Buyers Program!
Please help LaShawn’te and her children have a forever home! Click here to donate.
Manatee Habitat is happy to introduce you to our newest family entering the Home Buyer Program, The Padro Family. Carmen, Melquisedec 15, Nayely 13, and Elijah 7 who all love family movie nights, fishing, hiking, and DIY projects.
Carmen is originally from Illinois but has lived in Florida since 2001. Her family is spread across the country with a sister in Texas, one in Wisconsin, a brother still in Illinois, but luckily her mom is right here in Bradenton!
Carmen is very familiar with Habitat for Humanity and started looking into joining the Home Buyer Program eight years ago. Now that she meets the program requirements, she can’t wait to get started volunteering for her sweat equity hours because she wants to participate in building homes made out of love and kindness.
Providing her children with housing stability and safe living conditions while investing in her own home is a longtime dream for Carmen. Providing her children with a solid foundation means everything to her! She is also most excited to see her children’s faces when they get the opportunity to see their new home for the first time!
Help the Padro family obtain safe and affordable housing. Click here!
Yvette is a single mom who started working at the age of 12 by helping her mother who always made sure there was food on the table and a roof over their heads. Yvette brings this same strength to caring for her own son Jose, who is wheelchair bound with Cerebral Palsy. Yvette says “Providing him with a stable home so he doesn’t have to worry is very important to me. Jose is my world and he’s my reason to keep moving forward. God says he doesn’t give us more than we can handle so everyday I’m grateful to wake up and look forward to seeing my son smile.”
Having her own home would mean the world to her! Just knowing she has a stable and secure place to come home to with enough room for her son to move around in his wheelchair makes both mom and son super excited.
Yvette loves the idea of being able to volunteer on her own and other’s homes on the weekends. She is already grateful for the help she has received this far in the program, and look forward to moving the family cookouts to her own yard one day!
Help Yvette and Jose with a donation toward their new home. Click here to give now.
Ketty and Diego comprise the Nieves family. Diego is 9 years old and they love to play games, cook and make crafts together. Ketty is originally from Ell Salvador and became a US Citizen in 1999. She has been in Bradenton for 2 years and has been employed at the non-profit StepUp Suncoast for a year.
Although she is a college grad, she would like to return to school at some point to earn a teaching degree or Architecture degree.
Having her own home is achieving a favorite dream and she believes if you work hard, and believe in yourself, you can make your dream a reality and also gain a sense of security. Ketty thinks that is it a wonderful thing to be able to work with volunteers to help achieve your dreams and also gain a feeling of gratification and sharing in the process.
Mark met Belkin through mutual friends in 2018 and were able to communicate through Google translate on their phones. They fell in love and got married in September 2019 and they are teaching each other their native languages.
They learned about Habitat for Humanity from Belkin’s aunt who is a HFH Homeowner. They have a son (Angel) who is the light of their lives. Mark works for Callahan Tires for a year – and previously worked at Lanning Tire Sales for 8 years.
He is a certified High Performance technician but there are few jobs working on high performance cars in Bradenton. They hope to start their own business at some point. Mark would like to go back to school to get his degree in business management.
Belkin was an attorney where she lived in Honduras. She came to the US to be closer to her family. Having a Habitat home means a better life for Mark and Belkin and their family that includes more stability. They are currently staying with family. He believes working with Habitat volunteers will be an excellent learning experience and he values the efforts made by the Habitat volunteers. He plans on continuing to volunteer even after he becomes a homeowner.
The Sittig family is Jasmine, her daughter Ari’yanna and son Ja’sai. Jasmine has worked in the medical field as a admission coordinator for Operation Par and also as a Unit Clerk for Centerstone helping substance abuse patients. She very much enjoys helping people and working with the medical community and is actually planning on completing her education in the field of nursing. Having the stability of a Habitat home, she believes will facilitate this goal.
Her hobbies include cooking and she has recently begun working in furniture restoration by watching DIY videos on YouTube. She loves cooking with the kids and having a movie night once a week. They are looking forward to having a yard they can play in. Ayi’anna is excited and
looking forward to having her own room.
Jasmine is an only child and was born in Manatee County and has lived here all of her life. She would be the first homeowner in her family. She is excited about the prospect of helping to build her home and maybe someone else’s-that’s just the helper in her nature. .
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”.
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!