“I am building because I want to be a community leader. To help others as well as ourselves.”
Family means everything to the Trauger family. “My daughters are my life. What I look forward to the most is spending time with them. We’ve learned so much from this new experience,” said Priscilla.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Priscilla was furloughed from her job in the hospitality industry for two months. “I had a false sense of security. Restaurants are always open, so I thought I would be fine forever. I had no idea how long we would be closed.” Through all of the challenges, Priscilla worked with Habitat to keep her house on track while she got back to work with extra precautions being taken. “Through all of the uncertainty, I at least knew that my family was safe. It has been a tremendously bumpy road, but I knew all along that it would be worth it. I’ve worked so hard for everything my entire life, and I knew that the reward for this would be so much sweeter than anything I’ve had before.”
Her daughter, Sammi, is an honor-roll student. She enjoys art, is in the chorus, and plays the clarinet. Her sister, Jacki, “has a very complex condition that results in very low muscle tone and severe development delays.” Although she is nonverbal, Priscilla says she “expresses what she likes, and does not like.” Jacki likes being read to, swinging, swimming, and music. With their new home, they are so excited to decorate their own rooms, and have more exciting birthday parties than they ever could. “We sacrificed so many things when we needed to, and now we can finally make up for it,” said Priscilla.
Prior to the program, the family lived in a small space where the children shared a room. With Jacki’s extra medical equipment, there was limited space for both girls as they grow older. “The age difference between my girls is a couple years, however developmentally they are not as close. I feel Sammi is at the age where she needs room to grow, and a place to create her own space.” With the price of rent so high, Priscilla has also been scared of being pushed into a bad neighborhood or out of the area.
“I am so ecstatic about moving into my new home. Our dedication was a special event, and I love all of the neighbors already. I helped my friend move through this program last summer, and it really opened my eyes to a sense of community I didn’t see before. I was so inspired by the fellow volunteers, site supervisors, and the families.”
“Now that we’re at the end of our journey, I see this as less of a completed project, and more of a new beginning. Our home will be a safe place that we can love, care for, and upkeep the way we want to. It can be a place of sanctuary and security for a lifetime, and it will give me something to pass along to my children. We can have our big family dinners, and a place to make so many memories. A forever home.”
The Trauger family closed on their home in August 2020. Special thanks to Raymond James for partnering with Habitat on this home. To watch the home dedication, click here: https://youtu.be/tNAFiswN1mk