Beyond the Build: April's Story
“I have to be able to have a place of my own.” These words are ones that many of us have said at some point in our lives, whether it was when we were in middle school sharing a room with a younger sibling, or in college when our roommate always left the dishes in the sink. For April, these words mean so much more, because she knows what life could have been like without a place of her own.
In 2001, April and her family of five moved to Concord from Virginia and were renting a home. April was an assistant teacher for children with special needs and although she didn’t make a lot of money, she loved her job. As a couple, she and her husband decided that the best decision for their kids would be to give them a stable, safe and forever home. Together they joined the Habitat Cabarrus Homeownership program in 2002. In 2003 April and her husband divorced and she was left to pick up the pieces of the world she had known for twenty years and the only world her three daughters had ever known. To make matters worse, April’s mother also passed away in the same year, leaving her feeling hopeless. She was now left to do everything on her own without the support of two of the most important people in her life.
Habitat’s homeownership program was not an easy feat so she put the program on hold. She had too many things to handle and this one just didn’t seem like it was doable as a one woman show. In 2004 April reminded herself that her children deserved to be in a place they could call their own. One day while grocery shopping, April ran into the person who served as Habitat Cabarrus’ Construction Manager at the time. He encouraged her to come back to the program and without fail April was back on board as a future homeowner.
April spent the next two years getting to know each and every homeowner, working together on the build sites and creating a family, a new support system that was exactly what April needed. April and her three daughters moved into their home on August 6, 2006, the same day as her brother’s birthday who had passed in 2002. It was a great omen, a perfect welcome home.
11 years later April is still living and thriving in her home. The list of things she has accomplished since her move-in day is extensive because as she says, “I have never stopped moving forward.” April received her degree in early childhood education and sent three children to college, all of which have stable careers today. She started her own business, a daycare, in 2013. This business was one that she had dreamt of since her younger years and one for which she had written a business plan during her marriage. She started her daycare on her own and started off as an evening provider for families and now is a full-time provider. What she had written down as a dream in the crux of one of her most challenging times became a reality because she went for it. And just like owning your own home, she learned that you cannot turn down opportunities no matter what life looks like because in the end you can achieve anything if you just go for it.
Her home is hers, her business is hers and she is in the driver’s seat in nearly every aspect of her life. As someone who once had everything taken away and life’s mishaps were in control, there is nothing more liberating. April believes that “once you have something that is yours, that you can say I own this, God has blessed me to do this, you will have the strength to move forward. When you are alone with three daughters, you cannot lick your wounds. I had to get up and move forward, I was determined to not let my situation beat me down. My daughters needed to see my strength so they can move forward in life.” April’s strength has made her a homeowner, a business owner and above all, a fearless mother who has given her children the world and defied odds proving to them that with strength and faith in God anything is possible.
April looks back at the moment she decided to return to the Habitat Cabarrus homeownership program as she saw the flashes of what life would be like without a home of her own–instability, increasingly high rent and less than desirable conditions. She is grateful for choosing to stick with the program as she says, “I feel like this home is my new beginning. There are so many opportunities available in the future, but this is my foundation.” April has paved the way for herself and her children and we at Habitat Cabarrus feel grateful to have been a small part of that.
April, we’re thankful that your Habitat home is your foundation and we are thrilled to continue to watch you turn your foundation into a world of opportunities!
Every Habitat House Changes Lives
With a little help, Habitat homeowners are able to achieve the strength and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves and their families. Click here to learn about our future homeowners.