Motivation: Giving Thanks and Changing Lives this Holiday Season

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By Michelle Spada, Director of Family Services at Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County

It’s the middle of November. Thanksgiving and the holiday season are right around the corner!

Thanksgiving is a time that we share with our family and friends and reflect on the blessings in our lives. As the Director of Family Services, I spend the majority of my time with HFHMC working with current and prospective homeowners. The best part of the job is being welcomed into the homes and hearts of families throughout Montgomery County. Over the past few weeks, I have felt such MOTIVATION here in our offices, out in the community, and in the homes of our partner families. This holiday season, I am grateful for and inspired by the motivation I feel buzzing around our families because that extra push is the first and most important step in making changes in our individual lives, in our communities, and around the world.

I am inspired by our newest partner family that is reeling from a recent loss but making the conscious choice to channel that energy into a life-changing goal of homeownership. Many of us turn inwards when we experience grief, but this incredible mother is turning outwards and fighting to build a strong foundation for her children. 

I am grateful for our newest homeowner, Sherell, for allowing Habitat to be a part of her family’s journey. Sherell’s children, family, and friends filled her new home last Friday with excitement and hope. I cannot wait to see the beautiful things that lay ahead for her family.  

I am inspired by one of our critical home repair families that continues to be slammed with new obstacles and challenges but manages to hold onto their hope, make crucial financial changes, and thank us for our help every chance they can get.

I am grateful for the seven families participating in our inaugural Almost Home financial literacy and life skills program. These families have shown up, engaged with the courses, and transformed six weeks of classes into a meaningful, long-term supportive network. They have taken risks, allowed themselves to be vulnerable, and held each other accountable. These seven families have shown me the power of letting yourself want something with every fiber of your being.

I am grateful for the residents of our neighborhood revitalization zone in Norristown for allowing us to join their community, for leading the conversation about making the neighborhood safer and stronger, and for fighting each and every day for a better life for their children.

I am grateful for the financial coaches that devote extra hours to working with our families. These coaches bring crucial expertise to HFHMC and work one-on-one with families to untangle complicated financial situations. I am inspired by these financial experts who continually go above and beyond and become advocates for our families. 

I am grateful for our incredible team of staff and volunteers here at HFHMC who make the everyday running of this organization possible. The work that this team does and the spirit and grace they bring to that work honors our families. I am amazed every day at the motivation this team shows even towards the smallest tasks because they understand the bigger picture. Our staff and volunteers and the determination they bring each day to our offices and construction sites sets the tone for our partner families.

Can you feel the tenacity, the dedication, the MOTIVATION that is coursing through HFHMC? Our families, communities, volunteers, and staff refuse to give up or succumb to the obstacles and challenges in their paths. And this holiday season, that is what I am most grateful for. Because, as Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”