First Quarter Reflections - Our AmeriCorps Members Share Their Stories

Posted by Markolline Forkpa
Hits: 38

By Cara Przybylowicz, Volunteer and Community Relations Manager

In the first quarter of our AmeriCorps members journeys they have learned a lot, gained a lot, and have been working very hard with our organization.  Each quarter, as a part of their membership with AmeriCorps, they must complete a report of all of the projects, and activities that they have been working on, along with their trainings, and every day work.  As their Host Site Manager, it has been a pleasure, thus far, to work with them and I am excited to see what the rest of their service term brings!  This quarter was their first reporting term, and they have all taken the chance to reflect on their work so far!  Here’s what they have been up to so far:

More

Fall, A Time to Connect With What Inspires You Most

Posted by Markolline Forkpa
Hits: 95

By Megan Briggs, Director of Family Services

A Year to Remember: What being a part of the Habitat Family Really Means

I decided to take a break from our family voices series to highlight a few memorable moments from 2017. Each fall, I reflect on my entire year, and purposefully seek out those in my life that have impacted me to let them know just how meaningful their relationship has been for me. As I thought about this year, I realized the amazing network that surrounds me, and I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmingly grateful for the experiences this has brought me, and I thought it might be great to share with you, as supporters of this work.

More

Resilience

Posted by Markolline Forkpa
Hits: 121

Resilience

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.

More

Building a Platform for Family Voices

Posted by Markolline Forkpa
Hits: 112

Introduction by Megan Briggs, Director of Family Services

The Family Services Team is kicking off a series of blog entries that are submitted by the families that are involved in one of our programs. As a team, we felt that it was important to give a platform for our families’ voices to tell their own stories and own reflections about their experiences and perspectives. Afterall, the power and determination to succeed lies within them. To begin our series, we are sharing a submission from the Pottstown Community Action Committee, a group of neighbors that we have been working with to increase the quality of life in Pottstown. One of the group members, Howard Charles, wrote the below value statement and the group came up with their core values at our last meeting. Howard and his wife Charlotte are not only active in this group, but also serve as the Assistant Caretakers of the Barth Elementary School gardens run by Mosaic Community Land Trust. In addition, they work actively on voting issues. Howard and Charlotte have been a huge asset to this group, as each member contributes their own skills, experience, and perspective to make an impact. The Pottstown Community Action Committee is kicking off their first project which will be a community clean-up day on September 23rd.

 We look forward to sharing many more, and if you are a family that would like to submit a blog entry, please contact the family services department at mbriggs@habitatmontco.org.

More

Helping Your Neighbors

Posted by Markolline Forkpa
Hits: 123

Helping Your Neighbors

By Elizabeth Hefner, Director of Development and Communications

Over the past few weeks, I have been reminded just how lucky I am.  As Hurricane Harvey moved across the Texas and Louisiana coasts creating devastating flooding, all I could do was pray and weep.  I wept for the families who lost everything, for communities and cities who have to rebuild, and for the leaders who will have to make difficult discussions along the way. 

As Harvey rolled in, I was overwhelmed by memories from Hurricane Katrina. Like Harvey, waters rose displacing tens of thousands and people fled. After the waters fell, the searches began.  People searched for family and friends, their possessions, and they searched their souls to find some glimmer of hope, peace, or joy. The searching continued, and then the great clean-out began.  Neighbors and strangers worked side by side to shovel mud, clear the roads, and start gutting houses. Through this process the joyful resilience of the city took root in the hearts and mind of all who lived there.

More

We Are Running Out of Time...

Posted by Markolline Forkpa
Hits: 140

"We Are Running Out of Time"

By Marianne Lynch, Executive Director

Last week, I made the trek across the state to drop my 18 year old son Kyle off at college for the first time. It was an emotional day…I am so proud that he got into the school of his choice and he’s looking to change the world, but so sad that he’s leaving the nest.

As I was driving to the campus, I began to think about the journey that got us to this moment. Before Kyle was 7, we had moved seven times. Each time we moved, I encountered an angrier, more anxious little boy. By the time we arrived at our house in Chalfont he was doing very poorly in school, having trouble making friends and having behavioral issues in and out of the classroom.

That changed though, when we purchased the house we have lived in for the last eleven years. By having a consistent place to lay his head, do his homework and invite friends over for playdates and sleepovers, his anger eventually subsided and his school performance improved to the point that we could begin thinking about life beyond a secondary education. Growing up in the same community allowed him to create life-long friendships, participate in community activities and even be the star of a play or two.

Kyle was able to realize his potential because he had the stable foundation of a permanent home. Even though it did not come until he was 7, the time that he spent there was enough to change the course of his life from a kid who had been labeled angry and a troublemaker to one that had a bright future ahead.

More

Until Next Time...

Posted by Markolline Forkpa
Hits: 197

This summer, our Development Department was fortunate to have the help of Brady Riley, a talented, and good-spirited student intern who came to our affiliate from New York University. Looking to "gain professional experience", Brady devoted his energy and focus to learning what it would take to be an asset to a community-based, human services centered organization. At Habitat, he was pleased to have the opportunity to learn more about the affordable housing crisis, and what organizations like Habitat are doing to be a vehicle of solution. Likewise, Habitat was equally as excited to have Brady's gift for language on our team. 

More

A Story of Hope

Posted by Markolline Forkpa
Hits: 245

By Shekesha Robinson, Habitat Home-Buyer

Early 2017, I received a call from Megan Briggs, Director of Family Services for Habitat for Humanity that I was selected to be a partner family.  I was at work when I received the phone call. It was totally unexpected. I was so excited that I cried tears of joy. The first person that I wanted to call was my sister, Kenya to share the good news.  Then I realized that I couldn’t call her, my tears of joy turned into tears of sadness. I began to wonder how I was going to complete 200 hours of sweat equity when I was going through one of the most devastating times in my life.  I wanted to call my sister, I couldn’t call her as she was in a rehab recovering from a severe brain injury.

Kenya and I share everything. She is my confidant, my cheerleader, and best friend. We worked at the same job, lived across the street from each other for many years, and raised our kids together. We even share a birthday three years apart. She was diagnosed with cancer one year before I was accepted as a partner family. She was still was my biggest cheerleader despite what she was going through with her health.  She told me that I would get accepted as a partner family although I had my doubts. She would have been so excited to see this dream come into reality.

Kenya started her chemotherapy treatments without any issues.  We were all anticipating her beating cancer. One day she had a severe allergic reaction to one of her medications and went into cardiac arrest. The doctors told us to take her off of life support as she had suffered severe brain damage from lack of oxygen to her brain. She was in a coma, they told us she would never wake up, and if she did wake up, she would never walk, talk, or live a normal life. My family and I knew she was a fighter and we believed she would fully recover. We ignored their advice and kept her on life support.

More