Habitat Seminole-Apopka has started an all new program, the Financial Focus Program! This program includes 7-weeks of financial education and a 6-month mentorship program. In our search for new Focus Mentor volunteers we decided to interview a volunteer from the H.O.M.E. Mentor Program- Michelle Bell.
Michelle was the mentor for one of the participants in our Homebuyer Program- Mikayla. Mikayla completed the program and moved into her forever home with her daughter and newborn baby a few months ago.
Michelle was not sure what to expect when she agreed to become a mentor for Habitat Seminole- Apopka. Her experience as a realtor had provided her with plenty of experience working with new homeowners, so she thought it might be similar.
She quickly realized that Mikayla had a whole new level of excitement and level of gratefulness that Michelle had never experienced before! Michelle said during her interview- “That is the experience you want to have as a realtor- you want to see someone work that hard for their home. You want to see people be that excited for their home!”
Listening to Mikayla’s story and seeing how she worked hard despite everything was incredible for Michelle. She felt that as a mentor her role was to support Mikayla and make sure that she felt heard. It was not about solving Mikayla’s problems- it was about being an ear and providing community for Mikayla when things got tough. Like when Mikayla’s car broke down. Though Michelle wanted to jump in her own vehicle and drive Mikayla to work every day- she knew that was not her role as a mentor. Instead, she helped Mikayla talk it out and find an affordable mechanic. Michelle remembered that in the training she received to become a mentor she was taught that an issue that may seem small can have a domino effect on a family living paycheck to paycheck. She was there for Mikayla to make sure that this challenge was just a bump in the road, and not a catastrophe.
Michelle is still convinced that she was matched with the best homeowner at Habitat for Humanity Seminole-Apopka.
“I was humbled by her tenacity and her goal driven personality.”
As an employee who has worked with countless homeowners since I began working for Habitat in 2017, I can tell you that each individual who walks through our doors has a special story. A story whose trials and who’s hope inspires me every single day. I invite you to join our mentorship program and find out for yourself. As Michelle said:
“I may not be the one for hammering and painting- but this was my way of doing my part.”
Focus Mentors should:
- Have experience as a successful homeowner.
- Have Financial Literacy experience, including:
- The ability to read a credit report and make recommendations for repairing and building credit.
- The ability to put together a budget.
If you are interested in becoming a mentor for Habitat for Humanity Seminole- Apopka’s Financial Focus Program please email [email protected].
Want to hear more about the Financial Focus Program? Watch the video below: