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“I look forward to all of the new wonderful memories that will come with my new home, and the fact that I get to leave a legacy behind for my daughter.”

Heather, a mother of one and a non-profit Human Resources employee, is on the journey towards homeownership. She moved to Florida from Trinidad and left everything behind in order to have a better life in the United States. She graduated with three degrees in less than 3 years and shortly after had her daughter, Izabella. Heather switched into the HR department from the health care field three years ago and has not looked back. “It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. I absolutely fell in love with my job, and it inspired me to further my education in the field. I am currently pursuing my Master’s Degree in Human Resources.”

Izabella, is two years old and Heather describes her as “a mini Picasso”. She loves drawing, coloring, and painting. She also has a knack for puzzles. On the weekends Izabella loves to ride her tricycle around the park, and feed the ducks at the pond. While Heather is a full-time mother, she is also working and going to school full time. Along with this, Heather was recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, which affects her hearing, eyesight, skin, and bones. “Despite the challenges in life, I refuse to let any of these circumstances define me. I will overcome these obstacles and work towards the goal of providing a more stable home environment for my daughter and I. She is the most amazing person I have encountered, and she is the one that keeps me going each day!”

After living in transitional housing during her pregnancy, Heather moved to an apartment, but it is still not the safest complex. “My neighbors are loud and very inconsiderate. Almost every weekend cops are called on someone. Along with the safety issues, we have a really bad mold problem and our AC constantly breaks down. People in our stairwell smoke all day, and the smell seeps into my apartment as the door is not sealed properly. This is a huge issue as myself and my daughter both have asthma. I just don’t feel safe in my own “home” and I shouldn’t have to feel like I need to be inside before it gets dark out. ”

When she was accepted into the Habitat program, Heather said, “I kept asking them if they contacted the right person, I couldn’t believe it! I was truly beside myself, completely speechless. I had been trying to get into the program for two years, and this opportunity is a dream come true!.”

Heather is so excited about gaining knowledge through the program while learning to build her own home along the way. “Just the thought of being able to accomplish those things gives me the hope and drive to learn even more.” She cannot wait to feel safe and stable in her home. “My daughter will finally have her own room. We can paint and decorate how we want. Choosing the colors of the house and making it my very own will be so exciting. It will be my safe haven.”

To anyone thinking of becoming a Habitat volunteer, Heather says, “Plant flowers in others’ gardens and your life becomes a bouquet! Being able to give back to your community is one of the most empowering feelings that one can and will experience. Imagine putting in those countless hours to help a family in need, and being there on dedication day to see their smiling faces especially the children, and know that you have made a difference in their life. That is priceless!”

“My house will be a reflection of me. A space that feels calm and safe, where we will have much-needed stability for my daughter and I.”

The Clarke’s home is sponsored by Hooters¬†and was dedicated in June 2021.

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