I sometimes find it hard to describe the enormous amount of good just one person — one donation, one day of volunteering, one word of encouragement — can do as we work together to build a better world. We often use terms like “making a difference” or “making an impact” to tell Habitat supporters what we’re capable of doing together, but these phrases don’t always cover the whole story.
Habitat creates more than the smiling faces and tears of joy captured on camera at home dedications and move-in days. Beyond those moments of excitement and relief — Habitat’s work sparks something much bigger.
For years, JaTio and her 5-year-old son, JayCeon, moved constantly. They were repeatedly evicted, kicked out, and forced to stay in motels. But after years of hard work, JaTio earned a degree in Business Administration.
Then JaTio built and moved into her new Habitat home — her son’s first time in stable housing since he was born. “I just wanted to provide a reliable, affordable, and safe residence for my child and myself,” she says.
Through Habitat, I’ve watched the cycle of goodwill and dedication repeat over and over.
I’ve seen parents, fueled by unconditional love for their children, pour their hearts and souls into creating a better life for their families.
I’ve been inspired by parents like Tuan and Cuc, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1999 and moved into a small apartment in Southeast Portland with almost no money to spare. When rent began to increase, they knew they had to find stability in an affordable home of their own, where they could raise their two daughters.
In 2006, they partnered with Habitat to achieve their dream of homeownership. They were able to give their daughters more room to study and flourish in school. Now both attend Oregon State University — one is studying nursing and the other studies business — but they still return to their Habitat home to visit their parents on the weekends.
There’s a profound sense of pride and peace that comes with first-time homeownership. It can be a subtle feeling at first, quiet and steady, but it lays a foundation for strength and serves as a launching point for opportunity. For so many new homeowners, it’s the first time in their lives knowing this kind of peace. It’s the first time envisioning a better future for themselves and their loved ones.
The power to make that happen — to partner with families who have been fighting so hard for so long — is what makes Habitat’s mission and work so deeply special. And it’s why our work lifts entire communities and spans generations.
Thank you for helping to build a better world for all of us.
In gratitude and service,
President and CEO
Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East