As we enter the holiday season, celebrate Giving Tuesday, and prepare for the Advent season, we wanted to share a homeowner story to show why the work we do is so important. Happily, we had a successful Habitat story right in our own office. Antria Daugherty joined our staff in August as Executive Assistant, and she was willing to share her story and the impact that her Habitat home has had for her and her family. As we celebrate all we are thankful for, and prepare for the Christmas season, we want to thank all of our supporters for making success stories like Antria's possible.
The holidays have always been a special time for my family and I, as I’m sure most would agree it is for them as well. A time of gathering and sharing of stories, laughter and love.
It has always been the tradition for my siblings, myself and our children to gather at our childhood home with my mother for the holiday meals and festivities. However, there came a time when the childhood home was no more and my mother moved into an apartment. We attempted to keep the tradition by continuing to gather at the place my mother now called home, in spite of the challenges with space.
A few years later, a good friend of mine called me while I was at work and told me about a program called Habitat for Humanity that helped families get into newly built homes. Mind you, I had heard of Habitat for Humanity, only as in association with Jimmy Carter; however, I didn’t know there were local offices that helped local communities. My friend stated she was headed to their office as they were taking applications and suggested I come and meet her there on my lunch break. I did just that. We both submitted our applications and documentation that was being requested and within a few months or so, I received notification that I qualified for the program. Regretfully, my friend did not get approved; however, she was extremely happy for me.
I have been a Habitat homeowner since August 26, 2004. Friends and family helped with the build of my home and it has been one of the greatest, most rewarding experiences and blessing I have received in my lifetime.
As you may have guessed, yes; the family holiday gatherings were now held at my NEW home. It was a pleasure and humbling privilege to be able to host future family holiday gatherings in addition to many other “just because” gatherings.
Being a Habitat Homeowner has had a tremendous impact on my family’s life. The reality of experiencing the “American” dream, home ownership, afforded my family with many “firsts.” The security of having a place to call your own; the stability of not worrying about having to move because of home maintenance issues or a landlord not doing their job; the opportunity to create memories with my children, in their now childhood home; and the many benefits of being a homeowner with regard to one having an asset.
Today, my children are grown and building their own lives. My son, aged 25, is a Driver and Installation Specialist for Whirlpool Appliances in Charlotte, NC; my daughter, aged 23, is a recent graduate of MSU and an Applied Behavioral Analysis Technician in Grand Rapids, MI; and my youngest son, aged 21, is a Packing and Distribution Worker in Lansing, MI. I am the newly hired Executive Assistant to the CEO and President of Habitat for Humanity of Michigan.
I first give thanks, glory and honor to God for without Him none of this would be possible. Secondly, I am forever grateful to the mission, the efforts, the partnerships, the support, and the volunteers that stand with and for Habitat for Humanity.
To those who may be considering becoming a Habitat partner family, I would like to say; continue to work hard and be diligent in your efforts. There is a process; however, the reward at the end is greater than you would ever image. Continue to have the desire to be a homeowner, do the leg work and remember, Habitat is here to offer a hand up, not a hand out. When that home is complete, and you sign off on the many mortgage papers and receive your keys; it’s like the good Lord saying, “well done my good and faithful servant.”