Take The Opportunity

Posted by Lauren
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By Ma-Tenneh Sampson, AmeriCorps Family Services Coordinator

Life so often takes us by surprise. We each can reach a peak of struggle in life that leaves us feeling helpless and hopeless. At this point, crucial decisions can either make or break the outcome of our current situations. I believe it’s our destiny to get back up, push forward, and to succeed.

It was me, pushing through my hardest times before coming to Habitat as an AmeriCorps.

It’s a single mother striving for change in the environment where her children will grow – a mother dreaming for a safer place to raise her kids and wanting to give them stability for a successful future through Neighborhood Revitalization.

It’s a family of three, determined more than ever to get a stable, affordable home through our Homeownership Program - a family who despite being rejected from the program at first, kept working hard and has finally been approved to buy a Habitat home after completing our Almost Home Financial Literacy course and reducing their debt.

It’s a 65-year-old senior calling every day, seeking an update on the status of his Critical Home Repair project to provide safety, security, and accessibility to his home.

Confidence.  Resilience. Hope. For the past several months, I’ve seen more than just average courage; I’ve seen fighters overcoming what life has thrown at them. This is a beautiful and encouraging sight to see.    

Life is full of possibilities when you give yourself the opportunity. That’s exactly what I did when I became an AmeriCorps member at Habitat for Humanity.  My personal life experience pushed me to grab this opportunity, not knowing what to expect.  The struggle of suddenly losing my job - being hungry, homeless, helpless, and unable to make ends meet – was a driving force that led me to Habitat for Humanity.  Because of my own personal struggles, I was able to relate to the families that Habitat serves.

Being an AmeriCorps with Habitat was a learning process that gave me a great deal of growth both personally and professionally each day. Of course, there were days when I thought of just walking off and telling myself, “And…you’re done!” But then there were the days when my heart melted from listening to our families’ and applicants’ stories. I truly sympathize with them and understanding what they’re going through.

Working with the kids from Kids Club was such an eye opener for me. I’ve had to watch a drug-addicted parent pick up their child from the club, and just seeing this look on this little girl’s face blew me away. These types of situations are the harsh realities brought about by instability in the neighborhoods we serve.  These realities are the reason I’m so passionate about serving our Habitat families.  The relationships that I’ve built with the kids and our families has truly been a blessing.

I am also truly grateful to have worked with a group of talented individuals, whose commitment to our programs is just as strong as mine. On a rough day, I could always count on the Family Services staff and interns to assist me with achieving my goals, whether it was making phone calls or distributing flyers in 20-degree weather. Knowing I could always count on this team made my time with Habitat Montco so meaningful.     

Now that my year with Habitat has come to an end, the next opportunity for me is to serve with the Peace Corps in Ghana. Just as when I began my journey with Habitat Montco, I don’t know what to expect – but I know I’ll make the most of this opportunity. I’ll take the lessons and skills I’ve learned and gained from my time here at Habitat and the resilience I’ve seen in the families I served to fuel my success in my next step!

*If you would like to apply for an AmeriCorps position with Habitat Montco, click here: