The White Family
Girl scouts, dance, band, cross country, writing, art and AP classes; these are just a few of the activities that Hannah (11), Lindsey (14) and Sara (16) are involved in. Hanna loves math and playing the saxophone, Lindsey loves history, art, film and playing the flute, and Sarah runs on the cross country team, volunteers at an animal hospital and loves to write.
The girls excel in school, but long for a stable and permanent home. “Summertime always means moving time for us,” says Lindsey. Their mom, Shelley White, says that last year the rent went up 50%, so they moved again. Finding an affordable home has been tough, despite the long hours Shelley puts in as a housekeeper and pet sitter. In their current home, Hannah sleeps in a little loft space where she can barely stand up in. “But it’s better than the room downstairs where everyone else sleeps, it’s freezing down there,” says Hannah. Their heating bills are high because they use the portable heater a lot, affectionately called “R2D2”.
Shelley is very thankful that they won’t have to move again and to know she can afford to keep a roof over the girl’s heads. The stability means a great deal to her. She is extra thankful for the low mortgage payment they will have as it means more discretionary income for other needs. For example, their car is 20 years old and Shelley doesn’t know how much longer it will last.
Shelley says, “I had to be picked up off the floor when I got the call that we were accepted into the Habitat program. We are simply thrilled! I thank everyone for what they are doing and for the security the girls and I will finally have.” The White Family home will be part of a duplex at Habitat’s new development, “Blue Spruce Vista” in Kittredge.
The Rhoads Family
“We’ve moved three times in five years and I live in constant fear that my rent will go up and I’ll have to move and uproot my girls again”, says Pamela Rhoades. Soon Pam’s fears will be over when she will own her very own Habitat home.
Pam is a single mother working the night shift as a nursing assistant at a local hospice and raising her daughters Chloe (age 12) and Sadie (age 10). In addition to paying a very large portion of her income in rent, Pam’s current rental is poorly insulated and cold. Ice builds up on the inside of the windows in winter. “Finding a quality rental that I can afford has been impossible”, says Pam. “We’ve always lived in shabby places”. Pam goes on to say how excited she is to finally have a permanent home and not be dependent on a landlord. “I look forward so much to having a warm, safe home and one that is new and clean.” The girls look forward to having a bedroom with a door and a closet, things their current home does not have.
Chloe loves to read and enjoys art and outdoor activities such as biking. She is currently taking a ceramics class. Sadie likes to write and PE is her favorite class. She takes hip hop dance lessons and also enjoys painting. Pam and the girls love to do outdoor activities and do a lot of biking and camping over the summer months. Pam is looking forward to the day when she will have an affordable monthly mortgage payment so that she afford to do more activities with her daughters and be able to achieve her dream of going to nursing school.
Pam’s home is sponsored by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and local Lutheran churches and will be located in Kittredge. “It is inspiring to see so much goodness in the world when is seems there is so much negativity going on. It makes me feel very blessed”, says Pam. “I am so excited about the whole process and being part of the Habitat community. It touches my heart that people are doing so much for us. Thank you!”
July 2008 - Yvonne La Fon, her son Travis (age 11) and grandson Devon (age 4) can’t wait to move into their new Habitat home. Currently, they live in a small old cabin. The living room is Travis’s bedroom, and the old sun porch is their living room with barely enough room for a couch and TV. Travis doesn’t like to have his friends over because of the awkward set- up, but he will when they move into their new Habitat house and he will have his own bedroom. Yvonne says the cabin has no interior doors and no one has any privacy. The cabin only has one door to the outside and she hangs a ladder from the 2nd floor in case of fire.
She lost a grandchild to a fire and is very worried about the lack of access to the outside in her current home, as well as the faulty wiring. Yvonne worked as a waitress at Stroh’s Restaurant for 14 years until it closed this year. She was recently in a severe car accident that damaged her knees and put her out of work for 7 months. She is till in a lot of pain and won’t be able to work again as a waitress as her knees will not fully heal. However, Yvonne is very talented and resourceful and she is now cleaning houses and has regular customers doing seamstress work. She also makes jewelry and paints murals on walls and on furniture. In fact, she has promised Travis she will paint a mural of a stream in his room as he wants to be a fishing guide when he grows up, and she will paint trains on the walls in Devon’s room.
Yvonne tears up when asked about how she feels about Habitat and the people who are helping to make her life better. “Travis asked me why I’m always smiling, and I say it’s because I just can’t help it. I’m so happy and so excited about our new home. I am so grateful.” Yvonne’s home will be built by five local builders as part of the Habitat Home Builders Blitz. The home will be built in just 11 days from September 5th through the 13th. The builders are; Brittany Builders, Inc., Triad Builders, Ades Design Builders, Cassidy, Inc., and Timon Development Corporation.
March 2008 - Blue Spruce Habitat for Humanity is proud to introduce Pam Matheson. Pam will be living at Early Morn Lane in Evergreen, which is slated to begin in April. Pam has been a hard worker her entire life. She cooked in restaurants for 25 years, and owned a small BBQ shop in Texas before moving to Colorado.
Life has been very challenging for Pam for the last few years due to numerous health problems that have kept her from her typical hardworking lifestyle. She is in chronic pain from osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. She’s endured multiple surgeries and joint replacements. Pam can’t stand up for more than 10 minutes at a time, and knows she will eventually be in a wheelchair full time.
Pam came to Colorado to be closer to her grown children and her grandchildren. Her sister has since moved here as well. She currently lives with her sister as she is unable to find affordable housing that allows her to be near her family and a good friend who helps take care of her. Pam is very involved with her grandchildren, particularly her one grandson who is deaf and spends a lot of time with her.
Pam has been very concerned about her future and is thrilled to know she will own a home and will have an affordable mortgage payment. She says the knowledge of owning a home soon has helped her get through some tough times lately. She looks forward to having stability and independence. Pam has put in sweat equity hours at the former Resale Emporium, and at the construction site. She’s enjoying giving back to Habitat and also knows it’s good for her to be out of her wheelchair as much as possible.
Pam says, “Habitat is a wonderful organization. The volunteers are terrific. I am amazed and really happy. This is making my life so much better”.
December 2007 - This year the holidays will be extra special to Padma Thornlyre and his daughter Circee. Thanks to Blue Spruce Habitat for Humanity, they will finally have a decent, affordable, and permanent home in which to celebrate. As a single dad, Padma’s priority is to provide stability and a good home for Circee, an engaging 3rd grader with an amazing talent in art.
Stability has been elusive for the two of them. They have moved often and currently live in an inadequate one bedroom cabin. “It’s been a struggle,” says Padma. He wants something better for Circee. “I grew up a bit of a gypsy, and I don’t want that for Circee. I want her to be a part of this wonderful community. It’s important to me that she have a stable home so she can thrive in school and have long-term friends and relationships.”
Padmas and Circee’s home is under construction in Kittredge. Padma is putting in 250 hours of sweat-equity labor into building his home as required by the Habitat program, in addition to working as a waiter and writing and publishing poetry. “It’s humbling to work alongside so many generous volunteers. It’s a gift to know people of such fine character, and to be part of Habitat’s homeownership program.” Padma and Circee look forward to another gift - the gift of home that will be theirs this holiday season.
Circee is already drawing pictures of her new home, and describing how she is going to decorate her room. She also has plans for a unique part of the house – the space under the stairs. In a child’s eye, especially one as imaginative and creative as Circee, this will be a very special place indeed. Circee has plans to decorate it and make it her own “secret playhouse”. She looks forward to sharing it with Jordon, who will be moving next door in the other Habitat home. The two are the same age and have already become fast friends. Padma’s dream of having a home for Circee in which she can grow, thrive, and make lasting friendship is already unfolding.
Padma has worked hard for his Habitat home and will purchase his home with a no-interest mortgage. He and Circee look forward to the day very soon that they can cut the big red ribbon on the front door during their dedication ceremony and say “We’re home!” Finally they will have stability, hope, and freedom to build holiday traditions in a warm, wonderful home built with the love and effort of hundreds of caring volunteers.
Blue Spruce has over five hundred volunteers, who have contributed over nineteen thousand hours. As of the end of 2008, Blue Spruce Habitat built twenty-four homes. We will build at least two, and hopefully, four more homes in 2009 at our new development in Kittredge - Blue Spruce Vista.