Partner Families Share their Experiences
The Zerbe Family was referred to the Habitat for Humanity of Citrus County partnership program for homeownership by a family friend, who is a Habitat homeowner as well. Both Sandra, the “grandmother,” and Linda, the “mother,” worked very hard to focus on providing their children a simple, lovely home in a very beautiful area of Citrus County!
Upon acceptance into the partnership program, Sandra Zerbe became a fixture on our construction sites wielding a hammer, just like our core construction volunteers do daily! When asked what opportunities our partnership program afforded them in addition to their home, Sandra was quick to give Habitat the credit for allowing her to be able to retire, while enjoying her grandchildren. She continues to volunteer on our construction sites, in the ReStores and for our Family Services Committee.
Linda has been able to continue with her college education. She is currently working toward her degree to become a radiology and ultrasound technician. This opportunity will provide her children, Austin, Makayla and Madisyn, a brighter future!
The Zerbes truly appreciate the Habitat Staff and Volunteers for affording them this opportunity. They have a special appreciation for Nancy Wessel, their Family Services Mentor, for her assistance throughout this program. As Sandra has said, “It’s truly a wonderful program. We thank God every day that we have our home!”
Our family is blessed and eternally grateful every morning we get to wake up in our Habitat home! Just two years ago, I went through a bad divorce. My sons, Draven, age 12, and Jaiden, age 8, and I were limited with our options for housing. That’s when we rented a room from my parents. Ironically, that’s when I first heard about partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Citrus County from my Dad, Dan Kern, (a trades person with Habitat), and the amazing work they do.
After facing one roadblock after another, and not being able to secure decent, affordable housing for my little family, I went to Habitat’s Crystal River ReStore. That is where I met one, among countless, amazing individuals, Ms. Rose Strawn, Family Services Director. Ms. Rose, along with my Family Services Mentor, Ms. Trish Motley, and many other HFHCC staff and volunteers, guided me and helped me toward my family’s journey of homeownership...the rest is history!
Habitat for Humanity of Citrus County has given me and my family hope and optimism for a better future. They have shown us that we are never truly alone in our struggles as long as we keep faith and hope! For the first time in our lives, we have peace and happiness! Again, we are truly and eternally grateful and will continue to pay it forward by helping other families like ours. We never thought we would gain an extended family through this process, but we have, and we are thankful for our Habitat family!
In June of 2013, I decided to volunteer at Habitat for Humanity of Citrus County. I wanted to experience for myself what I had heard about this organization. After speaking with a couple of the future homeowners, I took a chance, went to a Habitat Orientation where I was informed more about the program and what it would take to apply.
Being a single parent, and with the information in hand, I filled out an application which changed me for life! I was accepted into the organization and I met a bunch of great future Habitat Families. Most of them have now become homeowners, as well as me and my son, Anthony.
My experience has been one of the best! I’ve learned that if you’re willing to work hard, do what is needed, and show others that it can be done, all the hard work does pay off! I am excited to say that it was a wonderful experience working with everyone within the Habitat for Humanity of Citrus County organization!
I want to thank everyone for this experience and our new home! I want to especially thank my Family Services Mentor, Harriet Tuck, who assisted my son and me throughout our partnership with Habitat! I certainly intend to continue in the Habitat program, assisting new families toward the construction of their homes! Again, thank you!