A New Chapter for Habitat Operations Director

After more than six years of serving with Habitat for Humanity Seminole-Apopka, Operations Director Jody Carey will be leaving us for a new opportunity. Under her leadership, the ReStores* have grown each year incrementally; this past year they saw a combined $1.4 million in sales. 

Jody began her service with us in 2010, when we had one store and a huge desire for growth. Six years and an additional store later, the annual income generated by the ReStores supports the construction of four homes. Year after year, we have been able to count on Jody and her team to produce unprecedented results, ultimately allowing us to serve more families. Jody’s dedication and commitment to our mission has played an important role in transforming the lives of Habitat families during her tenure (Habitat Seminole-Apopka has served 56 families since 2010!).

We want to express our gratitude and thanks for all that Jody has done for the Habitat ReStores. “It has been a true pleasure to work with someone who is genuinely passionate about the mission of Habitat for Humanity," Executive Director Penny Seater shared, "Her entrepreneurial spirit, strong work ethic and commitment will be missed.”

Please join us in thanking Jody for all she has done for our organization and wishing her the very best in her next endeavors.

*ReStores are home improvement outlets that provide additional funding for Habitat’s homebuilding program while offering incredibly priced items to the public and diverting usable items from our landfills.

2016 Volunteer Appreciation Awards

The 25 Women Strong Award Recipients

The 25 Women Strong Award Recipients

Millard Fuller once said, “A house is to a family what soil is to a plant. A plant needs to be rooted. A family is like that. If a family is not rooted, it will not flourish. But once a family is well-rooted, all kinds of wonderful things happen.” This year, Habitat Seminole-Apopka celebrates 25 years of wonderful things happening for families in our community. Decent shelter is something we all need to thrive, and the years have shown us again and again what a strong foundation a Habitat home can be for a family. We thank you for your support, for however long you’ve been with us, because it’s helped us grow, and we look forward to building with you for many years to come.

Please join us in recognizing our 2016 Volunteer Appreciation Award recipients!

Millard Fuller Award | Judy Bagley

Linda Fuller Award | Lisa Rose

Construction Volunteer(s) of the Year | Mike Cruse & Kenny Peck

ReStore Volunteer of the Year | Kelly McGill

Youth Volunteer of the Year | Aaliyah Corea

Outstanding Service in Fundraising | Joyce Odongo, Carla Hogan & Susan deFreese

Outstanding Service | Kelly McGill, Lauren McNabb, Brenda Lockett, Michael Sarra, Mark Ormond, Carolyn Hattaway, Aaliyah Corea, Michael Peverini, Mary Poteat, Isaih Flagler, Greg Raymond, Andy Nazaronko, Ari Stafford, Michael Bonacci, Judy Bagley, Regina Shnaider, Ed Schnaider, Eduardo Bouciaut, Pam Hamburg, Cynthia Chmielewski, Russ Risdon, Cabrina Hamilton

Volunteer Spotlight: Cheryl Snowden

"Volunteering is good for my soul - always has been, always will be." -Cheryl Snowden

"Volunteering is good for my soul - always has been, always will be." -Cheryl Snowden

Florida native Cheryl Snowden has a lifelong track record of serving others. A mother of three and grandmother of one “oh-so-sweet” little girl, she recently retired from a small training company where she helped manage the day-to-day operations and develop their market, and is now involved with a handful of local non-profits, including Habitat Seminole-Apopka where she is the Development Office Volunteer and more recently a member of the Homeowner Services Committee. 

“My husband, Barry, encouraged me to start my lifelong love of helping those less fortunate back in the '70's.  Barry was a pastor and I was involved in many phases of raising money to help various groups throughout the years,” she said. Cheryl and her husband were married for 39 years before he passed. 

Cheryl has very quickly become an instrumental part of our team here at Habitat Seminole-Apopka. Marilyn Hattaway, Director of Philanthropy, has worked alongside Cheryl since she began with us eight months ago. 

“For some people, volunteering is about giving; for Cheryl, it’s a way of living. She makes a difference every day for our donors sharing her smile, talent and energy,” said Hattaway.

Thank you for all you do, Cheryl! Habitat is a brighter and more organized place for having you. 

 

Teacher Builds a Future with Habitat

A graduate of Southeast University with a B.S. in Education, Kimberly is a spunky, third year, first grade teacher and PTF President at One Church.  Meeting those demands along with those of a single mom raising two active boys is challenging for anyone.  Determined to provide a good life for her sons, Kimberly has added a big item to her 'to do' list; providing a home of their own.  

Homeownership to her means 'freedom, a renewed sense of peace, belonging, autonomy and joy'.  Her sons names reflect her humble gratitude to be selected as a Magnolia Place family.  Seth means "for God" and this young man is both charming and funny.  Simeon is the one remembered in the Bible as the one to whom God made and kept a promise.  This faithful family feels blessed and excited to become part of the Habitat family.

Meet the Rose Family

The Rose Family

The Rose Family

“If I can’t take care of myself, I can’t take care of my kids”. Lisa knew it all too well as the proud, smiling mom of son, DiQuan (Bubba) and daughters Jayla, who she calls “Jay-bird” and Jasmine, nicknamed “Miss K”. Her children and their activities keep this mom busy, along with her full-time career as a CNA with Central Florida Regional Hospital. Her family attends Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church and Lisa will tell you she had been through ‘heck and back’ since 2005. But then her friend told her about Habitat for Humanity. Could she hope, or dream or pray enough to make that wish come true? With her friend’s encouragement, she applied. Then one day in August, she got the approval call from Habitat and everything changed.  “I’ll finally have a place to call home... it’ll be my kids’ home”, she says through tearful and grateful eyes. “I feel truly blessed!”

One Family's Journey Home

Your holiday gift can be priceless this year, empowering families to build a brighter future. Tatianna 'Taye' Johnson and her children are just one of the families whose lives are being transformed as we begin work on the Magnolia Place Townhomes.

Taye’s oldest daughter, Avianna, celebrates her birthday on Christmas Eve.  Taye and her 3 daughters shared a crowded, 2 bedroom duplex without heat or air conditioning.  Heat meant turning on the  stove.  With Christmas approaching, Taye planned a special gift for Avianna; a bedroom of her very own.  

The sacrifice meant that mom and the 2 younger girls would share the other room.  But a dream would come true and Avianna would have a room of her own, even if it was just for one night. After 5 years of heartache and struggle, Taye, with a BS in Mass communications knew she needed a plan.  Reading “Reposition Yourself” by Pastor T.D. Jakes, she started working on redesigning her own life.  Further inspiration came when she read about Habitat in a local magazine and realized that homeownership could be part of her plan.  Taye transitioned to a higher paying job, took control of her finances and contacted Habitat.  Careful to stay on track with the paperwork, her life changed when she got just one phone call.  

“It was too good to be true – and the thought of a new home just hasn’t hit me yet”.

As Taye continues her automobile sales career with J.D. Byrider, daughters Avianna, Autumn and Aubrie are excited about life in a new house, their own home that will keep them warm in winter and cool in the summer.  Thanks to a very determined mom.

 

Meet the Mendez Family

“This is our chance to have a place and a sanctuary to invest love.”

The lack of safe, affordable housing takes its toll and Raul Mendez and Kalesha Pruna know the struggle all too well.  Always searching for a decent place to live, they moved frequently with their four children.  Fortunately for them, their desperation turned into a commitment to provide a stable home for their children. 

Raul and Kalesha’s commitment to their children is clear.  Once sharing a small, two bedroom apartment, two children occupied each of the bedrooms while Mom and Dad slept in the living room.  Parents do whatever is needed to make their children comfortable.  Overwhelmed and anxious, Kalesha confided in a friend about their struggle and got some very good advice – apply to Habitat for Humanity.


A few months later Kalesha and Raul received the call that would change their lives; they had been selected as a partner family for the Magnolia Place project.


“We know it will take a lot of work and a lot of love. As a family, we are beyond excited and can’t wait to begin working. We are so thankful and blessed for this great opportunity and adventure to build memories in our new home!”  


The four active and animated children grin and talk joyfully about their new home, not really knowing the full significance.  But Mom and Dad do.  Never having to move again, change schools and make new friends. Having extra money for things like clothing, food or trips to the dentist.  A place to celebrate birthdays and holidays with family and friends, making cherished memories.  All because of a place to call home.


On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

Since 1991, Habitat for Humanity of Seminole County and Greater Apopka has worked to transform lives by building quality homes in partnership with families in need. To date, we've built nearly 140 homes. This #GivingTuesday, give the gift of homeownership to a family in need of a hand-up. 


Local Graduate Serving Habitat for Humanity through AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps is a national service initiative that provides community service opportunities to people of all ages and backgrounds. Habitat for Humanity has engaged AmeriCorps members to build and rehab homes across the Seminole County and Greater Apopka area for the past three years, and we're very excited to introduce you to our newest member, Emily Butterfield!

Why did you decide to join AmeriCorps?

I graduated from UCF and I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, but one thing was clear, I knew I wanted to help people. I came across this AmeriCorps position with Habitat for Humanity.  It was completely different than anything I ever imagined myself doing, but I was up for the challenge. I love it because I challenge myself with new things each and every day while also helping others. 

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Tell us about your education!

I graduated from UCF in May of 2015 with a bachelors in Psychology and Business with a minor in Education. 

What I do at Habitat for Humanity:

I am an AmeriCorps member serving as a Construction Crew Leader, so I work on the construction sites  and alongside volunteers and home-buyer partners to make sure everyone has a positive experience. 

My favorite thing about Habitat for Humanity:

In the short time I have been with Habitat I have surprised myself so much.  At the beginning of each day I am given a task to complete on the construction site and I am unsure that I can do it, but by the end of the day I have completed the once daunting task. It's crazy because I am realizing I am much stronger than I realized. 

A favorite destination:

It's hard to choose just one. I love traveling, but if I had to choose just one destination it would be Barcelona. It has beautiful sights, amazing architecture, it's filled with awesome artwork and the people are so friendly. 

A book (or book series):

Harry Potter. I am obsessed. 

A hobby:

I take a lot of pictures, I dabble in painting and I hang out with my dog Mylo a lot. 

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A favorite food:

I really like food, but my favorite is probably guacamole. I could put it on everything.  

Words to live by:
Talk about your blessings more than you talk about your burdens. 

TV favorite:

I Love Lucy.  I have seen every episode multiple times and I still laugh every time I watch it. 

Superhero power:

I would fly. It's basic, but I love traveling and exploring so if I could fly I would be able to get to the destinations much faster and cheaper. 

We're so happy that you're serving with us, Emily! To explore AmeriCorps service opportunities at Habitat for Humanity affilitates across the nation, check out  http://www.habitat.org/americorps.

Single Mother Builds Future for her Family with Habitat for Humanity

   

Jessica Prophete was a statistic, a teenage mom and high school dropout, but she also had a dream.  Living in North Carolina with her two children, Yesenia (9) and Elijah (7),  she learned about Habitat for Humanity's mission to provide affordable housing. When her family relocated back to Seminole County, she began frequenting the ReStores in search of more information. "When I heard about the homebuyer program, I knew that it was the perfect opportunity for myself and my children." Having moved several times already and her daughter now in her third elementary school, Jessica was determined to provide a better life for her family.

When Jessica found out she had been selected as a homebuyer partner, she recalls screaming in her car and calling her brother to share the news. Jessica's journey to homeownership is just beginning. She will spend the next year attending courses that cover everything from financial literacy to how to be a good neighbor, in addition to completing at least 200 hours of sweat equity.  But she is no stranger to hard work. “I’m a statistic and I made it.  I’ve turned my life from ‘high school dropout and teenage mom’ to ‘college graduate, second in my class and class salutatorian”. Landing a job as a medical billing specialist, she can now add future homeowner to that list. 

 “I’m excited to start my sweat equity- my family and friends are joyful and willing to help too!  I am grateful to give back to the community, that’s a blessing to me.”   

Habitat Seminole-Apopka Breaks Ground on 25th Anniversary Build!

On September 10th, Habitat for Humanity Seminole-Apopka celebrated the beginning of our 25th Anniversary Build with a groundbreaking. The Magnolia Place site is located in the Longwood area off Ronald Reagan Boulevard and just a few blocks from the SunRail Station. When completed in 2016, Magnolia Place will be home for 10 local families with a combined 29 children.

The Magnolia Place groundbreaking offered a chance for the community to learn more about Habitat’s program while meeting friends and neighbors at the site where construction will begin soon. One of our homebuyer partners, Conswello Bradley, shared her story of perseverance and dream of providing a safe, stable home for her three daughters. 

"It was a dream come true to sacrifice so much, with thoughts of giving up many times, because this home means everything to me and my children," - Conswello Bradley

The Magnolia Place project is a part of Habitat’s larger effort to eradicate poverty housing in the Seminole County and Greater Apopka area by stabilizing at-risk neighborhoods through affordable homeownership, home repair, and weatherization opportunities to low-income residents.

The current structure has been left abandoned since 2008 with an empty adjacent lot where the second phase of our project will take place. Habitat seeks to transform the neighborhood by completing the abandoned, blighted structures and will work with the City of Longwood to improve a local park near the development. Habitat is excited to begin work in Longwood, and even more excited to bring 10 families the opportunity to build their life there.