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By Marianne Lynch, Chief Executive Officer

"Someone once told me that I have a lot of bad luck…I told them that I was not unlucky, but blessed to be chosen to overcome the challenges that would have paralyzed most people." I heard this statement from one of our homeowners the other day and it has stayed with me since that time.

I've met so many families with challenges that I can't imagine facing. One family I know had just gone through the loss of the children's father through a horrific crime before finding Habitat. Another faced stage four breast cancer where the prognosis was dire...Not only did these families survive,but they have THRIVED since becoming Habitat homeowners.


Habitat meets families at a time in their lives where they have decided to dig deep, work hard and make the dream of home-ownership possible. Each comes to us with a story that is unique, inspiring and powerful and we help them write the next chapter. The power of the hard work that they do to get into their Habitat home helps continue to define them as persistent and resilient. They have to put in 200 hours of "sweat equity" building their homes. Often at dedication, homeowners will share that they learned how to do things they could not imagine before, like running a saw or hanging drywall. Besides the sweat equity, our families have to face many of their past financial "demons" head-on in order to qualify. I know so many people who would not be willing or able to do this, but these families show me their grit each time they pay off a bill, sell a treasure to get out of debt or create an emergency fund. They show it to me, too, as they share freely and openly about how difficult it is to survive on what they make.

Habitat's model is really beautiful in this way. It promotes self-sufficiency while at the same time, provides families the tools they need to succeed literally and figuratively. They build their tool box through home-building, classes to understand their finances as well as the home-buying process, and through the coaching that each family receives before, during and after purchase. No one here is a recipient of charity- they are partners in an investment that the community is making in their future. Each time someone provides Habitat a gift of their time, treasure or talent, they are building resilient families who will continue to inspire us all.

When a family does finally receive keys to their home, they are not thinking about the challenges in their past that have to this point, defined them. They are thinking about this new chapter of their story and how they can now face anything life hands them knowing how hard they worked to obtain a stable place to lay their heads each night.  

Still, for many families the story does not end there. Even after they have accomplished their own goals of security and stable living, many families continue to work hard, not only to maintain their new lives, but to encourage the growth of those closest to them. This is the true Habitat success story.  As you read this issue of Habichat, and see pictures of families who may have passed through our programs, or are a friend of someone who has, I invite you to join us in helping to foster resilience in the lives of many more families across our community.