- Published on Wednesday, 30 January 2013 12:38
|By: Marianne Lynch|
Here’s to New Beginnings!
I love spring. I love it for the new beginnings it brings - the flowers waking up from their long winter sleep, the baby geese following their mamas and the fresh smell of cut grass wafting across the countryside. As I look around in awe of nature’s beauty I am always struck by how, after a long period of rest, things can sprout so suddenly, and with such speed. One day a tree will be bare and the next it will have little green leaves all over it.
I think this is how I feel about Habitat right now as well. After a long period of quiet movement, we are ready to burst forth on so many different fronts. For instance, this weekend, we are breaking ground on our newest project in the Hatfield Borough. This is a new community to Habitat, but one we have been quietly partnering with for some time to make this project a reality. The community will get to meet the partner families for the first time as they start their new beginning on their journey to homeownership and, if you join us at 1PM on Saturday at 144 Penn Street, you can learn how you can participate in this new endeavor as well.
In addition to our own new beginnings, three of our partner families will start their new lives as homeowners later this spring as well. We will be finishing up projects in Upper Dublin later in May and in Norristown in mid-June. These new beginnings are exciting times with lots of preparation to do. In this month’s Habichat, we will take a look at Cornerstone, the homeownership preparedness program that helps our families know what to expect through the settlement process, how to fix things when they break and how to make the most of the resources homeownership brings.
Finally, in my own life, Spring is a great time for new beginnings in my own home. It is a time for me to throw open the windows, clean out the garage and get rid of the items that have been cluttering my life. If you find yourself doing the same, remember that our ReStore is a great place to donate those items and create a new beginning for local families. Check out our website to see what we are able to take, schedule a FREE pick-up for larger items or stop by Wednesday through Saturday to drop off your unwanted items. After all, your discards are a new beginning for someone else!
- Published on Friday, 14 December 2012 20:38
|By: Jean Ford|
The Sweet Spot of Homeownership
March is rapidly coming to a close, and what a month it is! One could even consider March the 1/12th of the year most marked by transition: the equinox (and daylight savings time) stir hibernating souls from slumber to life with the promise of more daylight; winter’s grayscale succumbs to the rich, vibrant, varied hues of crocus and netted iris; birdfeeders host nomadic friends on their return trek from south to north; even American folklore testifies to the evolution of March from lion to lamb. But perhaps the most popular change March ushers in is the annual passage from basketball’s madness to “the ol’ ball game.”
Baseball, that bat-and-ball sport played between two nine-player teams, is widely known as “America’s pastime.” Even if you’re not a baseball fan, chances are you’ve encountered its many cultural references. From Thayer’s “Casey at the Bat” to Kinsella’s “Shoeless Joe”, from Oscar nominees “The Natural” (1984) and “Field of Dreams” (1989) to Fogerty’s classic hit “Centerfield”, baseball permeates our culture, and with it, more than a few idioms derived there from: “in the ballpark”, “batting 1000”, “covering your bases”, “thrown a curveball”, “playing hardball”, “hitting it out of the park”, “out in left field”, “hit or miss”, “stepping up to the plate”, “touching base” – the list could go on and on.
One such idiom – “sweet spot” – gave me pause recently as I evaluated a specific applicant-family’s case file. In baseball, the “sweet spot” within a batter’s strike zone refers to that swing-area in which the batter applies the most power and accuracy to his swing, i.e., where it’s easiest for a batter to hit the ball most powerfully and accurately. Interestingly, the term is also a nautical one: the same phrase “sweet spot” refers to the enclosed structure on a ship’s deck or bridge from which the captain navigates its course. (Historically, a ship’s “sweet spot” literally held the ship’s steering wheel.) Did you catch the parallel? A batter guides his bat, hence the ball, best from his sweet spot – it is from there that he has the greatest chance of hitting a home run – and a ship’s captain guides his vessel best from his sweet spot. In both cases, the sweet spot provides the mechanisms for most powerfully, accurately and effectively impacting the objects’ trajectory.
As I reviewed the file before me, it occurred to me that a Habitat house is actually a “life” sweet spot of sorts. It became abundantly clear, reading the case notes, that the family before me simply needed a stable, decent, safe, affordable home-base from which to step up to the plate and swing – a place from which they could effectively navigate their lives in the direction their dreams propelled them, a place from which they could hit life out of the park and reach their familial, social, educational, and financial goals. Sometimes that’s all any family needs: the sweet spot of a home of their own. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not the Habitat structure itself that brings success, no more than a wheelhouse brings a ship to its destination without its captain’s influence or having a sweet spot automatically means batting 1000. It is that batter himself, the captain, the heads of household taking advantage of the potential a sweet spot provides and utilizing its stability and power – its wealth of opportunities – to catapult lives forward and reach heights perhaps never thought possible. Is the analogy too far left field to make sense? I suspect it’s at least in the ballpark… and that we here at Habitat provide the sweet spots from which our families can hit their own home runs.