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Surprise - December 2018
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Habitat CEO Matthew Grundy (left) just surprised the Sims Family (right)

You'll Never Know What A Day Will Bring! 

Telling a family that they have been selected as a new Habitat homeowner is always exciting, but trying to find a special way to tell them without giving any clues is always the challenge.
 
Well, just before Thanksgiving, Team Habitat, in partnership with the Fresno Rescue Mission came up with the perfect plan, and the Sims family had no idea what was about to happen to them.
 
Each week, our Neighborhood Revitalization Department performs “Acts of Kindness” projects throughout the community and it was decided the upcoming Hinton Community Center interior painting project would be the place. Wil and Janie Sims are regular Habitat volunteers and Wil, who works for the Fresno Rescue Mission, is no stranger to our effort. Wil was asked to bring his entire family to work that day under the guise that he would be speaking to the media about why he volunteers with Habitat, and why he and his family applied to be new Habitat homeowners.
 
So, the stage was set, and the team of volunteers and the Sims family gathered to repaint the interior of the Hinton Community Center. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, not even Matthew Grundy, Habitat’s CEO, asking Wil to join him for a quick break as television cameras loomed over him.
 
Matthew spent a few moments talking about Habitat’s work while thanking the volunteers for a job well done. Matthew then invite Wil to share what it would mean to become a Habitat homeowner. Wil then spent a few minutes explaining what it would mean to have a decent place to live, a safe place for the children to play, and to have something to call their own.
 
Matthew, looking directly at the couple the entire time, followed Wil’s comments by saying, “We know you have lived in substandard conditions for a long time, but you have continued to give, and we want to honor that and tell you today that your family has been selected as our newest Habitat homeowner!”
    
It was completely unexpected. Wil said, “I’m totally overwhelmed right now; I am still in shock.” The couple had applied two years ago and always dreamed of building their own home. In just a few short months, Wil, Janie and their seven children, ranging in age from 17 months to 12 years old, will be moving into a 1,450 square foot home in Northwest Fresno. “It’s going to be amazing,” Janie explains. “Right now, our entire family is crammed into a small two-bedroom apartment, and what excites me most is our children are going to have more space, and a place to call home.”
 
Take a moment to watch this ABC30 news segment to witness the surprise for yourself. (Have your tissue ready!)

Sierra Health Foundation and Cultiva La Salud team members at work

Every Child Dreams of Having A Playhouse 

Who didn’t want a playhouse growing up? Playhouses are places to hang out with friends, use your imagination, and have a space to call your own. Habitat realizes many of the families in our community want to provide their children with that special place, but lack the additional resources to fill these childhood dreams, and that is where Habitat comes in to fill that void.
 
Habitat's newest Playhouse Program is a collaborative effort where local companies, the community and Habitat volunteers can come together to sponsor, build, and donate playhouses to local families and service organizations that work with children.
 
To launch this program, Sierra Health Foundation and Cultiva La Salud sponsored the inaugural build with a team of their employees to construct the first playhouse in mid-November.
 
The amazing part about this day was that the team of volunteers from Cultiva La Salud were able to use their creativity to build a playhouse matching the specific interests of each of the children. With an aquatic theme, they integrated pictures of mermaids liked by the daughter, Sophia age 7, and fish preferred by the son, Leo age 1. Coincidentally, after the Lopez family was selected, Habitat learned that the daughter’s Christmas wish was to have a playhouse! Timing couldn’t be better, as the family is set to move into their new Habitat home this month.  
 
Lucia Navarro, Administrative Assistant with Cultiva La Salud, shared that being able to volunteer for the first ever Playhouse Build in Fresno was a great honor. One of the highlights of the day, she said, was meeting the children’s mother, Stephanie, a hardworking mother of four. “She really inspired us to give our full effort…the family is so deserving.”  
     
Habitat’s goal is to build 15 to 20 playhouses for families in 2019. By sponsoring a playhouse, company employees gain a valuable teambuilding experience and help make children’s dreams come true. Ultimately, sponsoring a small house helps us fund construction of our large homes.

If you are interested in sponsoring one of these opportunities, please contact Mia Muñoz, Outreach and Development Manager via email at mia@habitatfresno.org or at (559) 237-4102 x 112.

Pictured from left to right: Mike Sanchez (Tradesman International), Stuart Goggins (Conti Solar), Tifany Oqueli (Conti Solar), Ryan Kemp (Conti Solar) and Torin Blount (ReStore Director).

It Takes Lumber to Build Homes! 

A big thank you to Conti Solar for donating approximately $40,000 worth of plywood to Habitat Restore! This donation marks one of the largest lumber donations ever to our retail outlet. Proceeds from this donation will go directly to Habitat related programs to fund our mission of building homes, communities, and hope.
 
And, it didn’t stop with the donation either. Conti Solar team members in Fresno chipped in and volunteered at a recent Acts of Kindness project where they participated in the interior painting of the Hinton Community Center.
 
Ryan Kemp, Assistant Project Manager at Conti Solar said, “On the day we were painting, one of Habitat’s long time volunteers whose family (the Sims) lives in substandard conditions was surprised to learn they were just selected as a new Habitat homeowner. . . what an experience it was!”
 
We are so grateful for the support of corporate partners like Conti Solar who realize the importance of giving back to the community and the impact it makes.

A Day of Caring! 

The team from Noticias Univision 21 Fresno spent their annual Day of Service with Habitat and had a great time improving the community! The day was spent building benches that will be used in a future plaza at St. Rest Baptist Church located in southwest Fresno.
 
The plaza will be used to host community events and will be a safe place for people to gather in the area.
 
Thank you to Noticias Univision 21 Fresno for partnering with us and for allowing us to share our mission with you!

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