DEDICATED DECEMBER 21, 2017 -Two years ago, Kathy Baxter was not familiar with Habitat for Humanity until her friend who was working on her own Habitat house told her about it. Today Kathy and her daughter, Brionna, are happily planning their own Habitat house and it will be the first home she will own.

Kathy has always lived in rental housing. Her friend suggested she check out the Habitat home ownership program and while she hadn’t expected to qualify she did “check it out”, was qualified, and began working very hard to make the required hours of service and sweat equity count. She and Brionna both worked to build up the required volunteer hours and now they are waiting for their house.

Brionna is equally excited about a new place and wants to spend her birthday in their new home.  She’s also the family decorator and can’t wait to put up their Christmas decorations, indoors and outside in a new place. “Last year our outside decorations were stolen”, Brionna said.  “And our plants, too.” So, Kathy said one of the most important things for her to do is to find a safe place to live and a home that is relatively close to her workplace.  Kathy has worked for SPARC, in client services, for the past 15 years.                “I really want a nice place to call home, a place that will be just ours,” she said.

She’s selected a lot she thinks will work, and mother and daughter are imagining how it will look.  They want three bedrooms.  Brionna will have her own bedroom to decorate and they want an extra one so they can host guests. “And we want a nice outdoor area.  Brionna loves to be outside,” Kathy said.  “We want trees for shade and maybe a patio, so we can sit outside when the weather is nice.”

Jean Pennell is the Habitat family Nurturer who has worked with Kathy and Brionna on their new home project. A retired pastor of the United Church of Christ, she has found her new calling very rewarding.  Jean supports the Habitat philosophy of offering a hand-up, not a hand out, to those who are in the program. She has accompanied Kathy and Brionna to the classes on making home repairs, home security and small construction projects.  For Kathy, Jean has become a good friend.  

“We are hoping for our forever house,” Kathy said.  “I don’t want to have to move again.”