Alejandro immigrated to the US from Peru in 2002. He said it was very hard to be away from his family and leave them in another country while he worked to get them here. He recalls having his longest double shift on Thanksgiving, the same day as his son’s birthday. Alejandro was determined to reunite his family and he finally did in 2014. They would have to live in a small space but at least they would be together again, and their basic needs would be met. They left because of high criminal activity. They have found security in the small, quiet town of Ashland.
Alejandro works on paving highways. He rotates between days and nights and his summer and winter schedule vary drastically but he and his coworkers have a great friendship. His wife, Rosila, is a stay-at-home mother. She is currently pursuing classes for English as a second language (ESL). Rosila and Alejandro have two children, Danae (10) and Diego (18). Danae is about to start middle school and Diego will be attending J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. He hopes to transfer to a university where he can study geology. The family enjoys visiting Poor Farm Park where they can play volleyball and frisbee together.
Alejandro heard about Hanover and King William Habitat for Humanity from his neighbor who is also a Habitat homeowner! Owning a home will mean freedom and pride to the Palomino family. The children are looking forward to having their own separate rooms and Rosila is excited to start gardening. Alejandro believes that even if you share differing opinions, you should always respect one another!
After Mr. Highsmith’s wife passed away from breast cancer, he moved in with his daughter (pictured with Tyree) in her Richmond Metropolitan Habitat home. He was using a sleeping bag on the floor of her office. She told him about Habitat for Humanity and encouraged him to apply.
Tyree has been working at General RV in Ashland for 6 years as a facility cleaner. He had a lot of doctor bills to pay off before he was in a position to buy a home. Now he is ready to see his house completed!
He can’t wait to move in and add his own personality and flare! He plans to stone his front yard. The first thing he is going to cook in his kitchen are crab cakes and ribs. But what he is most looking forward to is having his granddaughter over.
Tyree says owning a home will give him something to work hard for and a place to finally call his own. Due to increasing rent prices he does not feel he would be able to afford a home without a hand up. Mr. Highsmith believes you should “always keep your head to the sky because Jehovah has the answers.”
Sherita has lived her entire life here in Hanover County. She graduated from Lee Davis High School and has been working at the Richmond Times-Dispatch for 27 years! She also works part time in the cafeteria of a local elementary school. She has an older daughter named Brittany and three grandchildren. She and her youngest son, Kimara (18) are currently living with her mother.
Kimara participated in the People to People exchange program where he visited multiple countries in Europe including Italy, Spain, and France. This cultural experience has inspired him to continue to travel. He has considered becoming a flight attendant or going into the air force so that he can be successful and continue to see more of the world.
Raising her son on her own with a limited income has been challenging. She said she has worked hard her whole life and deserves her independence. She is ready for change! “This is a great opportunity, owning a home will mean everything to me” said Sherita. She is looking forward to cookouts on her back porch and hosting the holidays!
Shaneka first heard about Hanover Habitat for Humanity from a contact at social services. She grew up in Hanover county and attends Mangohick Baptist Church in King William. She is a technical assistant at Lutron Electronics. She has three children Jabari (13), Shamaya (10) and Nykeem (3).
Jabari’s favorite subject in school is math. He and Shamaya are both honor roll students and attend bible study every Wednesday night at Ashland Church of God. Jabari plays football and basketball. He wants to go to college and be a student athlete. Shamaya does gymnastics and wants to be a cosmetologist. Shaneka says Shamaya is very helpful with her little brother. Nykeem is a hyper baby who likes to play jokes and tricks on his mom and older siblings.
Shaneka says the hardest obstacle she has had to overcome is being a single parent and finding out how to work her way up to build a better life for her and her children. Currently the kids all must share a room. They can’t wait to have more space and be able to invite friends for sleepovers. Shamaya wants a closet so that she can organize her clothes and shoes.
Shaneka says she will be the first person in her family to ever own a home. She is most looking forward to having a washer and dryer. No more laundromat! “Owning a home changes lives, it will mean the world to me,” said Shaneka. She wants to encourage others by letting them know that it’s never too late.
The Roman family immigrated from the Dominican Republic in search of the American dream. They first moved to Hanover, VA in 2005. They lived in a mobile home on land owned by the hotel they were working for. This property had no running water forcing them to refill gallons and buckets at the truck stop nearby. Their bathroom consisted of a bucket and bag that they had to continually empty. They lived like this for five years until one day they received a notice telling them they had 30 days to evict the premises. During this time Ms. Roman suffered from a medical condition resulting in a major surgery that left her disabled. Mr. Roman felt like he had hit rock bottom and went into a state of depression.
Their oldest daughter said that even though they were in a very bad situation her parents made every day a good day. She said they told them “everything happens for a reason. There is a bigger plan for us maybe not now, but it will come.” They instilled this sense of resiliency into their family and lived by it! They told us that “life can make you or break you,” but that they don’t look back or dwell on the past because they still have a goal to achieve, owning a home that they can finally call their own! Mr. Roman said that Habitat’s homebuyer program is a “blessing” and that becoming a homeowner would be “magnifico!”
Franklin and Ramona first heard about Hanover Habitat for Humanity through a contact at social services. They then worked with HumanKinds Financial Opportunity Center to prepare for homeownership. Franklin works in maintenance and Ramona is now a stay at home mom/homemaker. They have three children. Francheska (14) is a freshman working towards her cosmetology license. Guillermo (21) is currently enlisted in the Army. Alianira (22) is a CNA in the VCU emergency room. She is working towards her RN at J. Sargeant Reynolds. The Romans are looking forward to having a home that they plan to keep in the family and pass down for generations to come.
Finishing college while being a mother of two has been the hardest obstacle that Rebekah has had to overcome. After several years at Randolph Macon, juggling motherhood and grades, she obtained her degree and is now a middle school science teacher. As an educator, she sees first-hand the challenges students face when their home lives are not stable. She longs to provide stability for her own children so they have every chance to succeed in life.
Rebekah and her children have been sharing one room in her grandmother’s house. They are excited to be able to continue living in Ashland where they can stay close to family. Owning a home will mean “independence” for her and her family.
The Turner family attends Duncan Memorial and volunteers to pick up and deliver meals to their food bank. Aubree (7) and Langen (5) both attend Saint Mary’s Catholic School. Aubree takes ballet and Langen loves to swim. They both enjoy jumping on their trampoline. They can’t wait to have a swing set in their new backyard. Langen wants to paint his room blue like the sky with clouds and sun. Langen wants to be a doctor when he grows up and Aubree wants to be a vet. They love animals and have quite a few exotic pets including a hedgehog, sting ray, and mini pig just to name a few.
Melissa Hoban will be Hanover Habitat’s Faith Build homeowner in the Hanover Cove neighborhood. Local churches and friends of the faith community will gather to help build and fund the construction costs of her home. Melissa and her daughter, Savannah, have longed for a home of their own. They are currently living in a small duplex with limited space and no storage. The apartment has poor ventilation resulting in bad air quality.
After seeing a flyer being passed around at work, Melissa attended a homeownership information session where she
realized that she met the program requirements. Melissa’s health has been the biggest obstacle she has had to overcome. For most of her life she has struggled with epilepsy and recently underwent a hysterectomy due to her endometrial cancer diagnosis.
Savannah, age sixteen, just received her driver’s license and her first part-time job at Chick-fil-A! Savannah has been recognized for her academic excellence and is very involved in her youth group’s Bible study. She wants to go to Randolph Macon College to become a Veterinarian.
Melissa works for the International Mission Board and attends Walnut Grove Baptist Church. She also enjoys performing at Hanover Arts. She has acted in the Variety Show and competed in Hanover Idol. Melissa and Savannah are looking forward to being able to decorate their home and they can’t wait to finally be able to host friends. Ultimately, owning her own home will mean “peace” and “stability” for Melissa and her daughter.
Amanda and her high school sweetheart were together for 16 years. They were raising their 3 children as one happy family until one day Amanda came home to hear her him say “you need to move out, I no longer want to be with you. You and the kids need to find another place to live.” Devastated and now homeless, Amanda packed up their things and she and the kids left.
She is very grateful her parents were willing and able to take in her and the kids. However the overcrowded home is not functioning well for the extended family. The girls are sharing a room and her son got the computer room. She ended up in the guest room. They have one working bathroom for six people in the house.
After Amanda’s parents told her about Hanover Habitat for Humanity she decided to start saving. Amanda is a training manager at a local restaurant. She also volunteers with the Hanover County sheriff’s office as a member of the citizen’s police academy.
Amanda has three children Robbie (13), Emily (14) and Kim (18). Robbie’s new favorite game to play on his xbox is Apex. Emily enjoys playing soccer and hopes to be on a women’s national team at Virginia Tech one day. Kim is a member of the God’s girls group at Hope Community Church. She also enjoys photography and plans to major in liberal arts at Longwood University.
Amanda will be Hanover Habitat’s 67th homebuyer. Her home will be the first house constructed in the upcoming Hanover Cove neighborhood. Owning her own home will mean “happiness” and “freedom” for her and her family.
After having her apartment broken into, Ali decided it was time for her to find a safer place to raise her children. She grew tired of “camping out” in the living room and set a goal to repair her credit and become a homeowner. She was persistent and never stopped believing in herself.
Ali is looking forward to having an affordable monthly mortgage. She has chosen West Patrick Henry Road and is happy to be in a rural environment with more space and room for her family. Ultimately, owning a home will mean “breaking the generational cycle of poverty” for her family.
Ali has two children. London (6) aka “Cardi B” enjoys gymnastics and running. She loves fashion and wants to be a princess when she grows up. If this doesn’t work out being a teacher is her back up. Zay (13) is on his school’s football team. He also enjoys playing Fortnite on his PlayStation 4 and going to the skating rink and Kings Dominion with his friends. Zay wants to go to college to be an engineer.
Ali grew up in Colonial Beach. She has been a resident of Ashland for the last 8 years. She is a Circles Ashland leader and on the Hanover Preschool Initiative policy council. She has worked in finance for several years.
Ali was recently diagnosed with Kidney cancer. She is still recovering from having her left kidney removed. She will not let this keep her from achieving her dream. Ali will be Hanover Habitat’s 66th homebuyer.
Bar and Nwe Htoo will be Hanover Habitat’s 65th homebuyers. After giving birth to their first child in Thailand they moved from Burma to the United States. They have been living in America for 10 years and have been residents of Hanover County for the last 3 years. Bar works in the produce department of a grocery store and Nwe works in dining at a local retirement community.
The Htoo’s are raising their three sons in Mechanicsville. All three boys have future plans of attending college. William (7) dreams of being a doctor, Eh Jay (9) wants to be a police officer, and Jay Soe (13) says he would like to be a teacher. While the youngest boys like playing soccer, they spend most of their time playing video games. As a family, they enjoy going to the river and fishing.
Bar and Nwe grew tired of spending more than they could afford to rent a house. Bar said it was “too expensive” to buy a home. They heard about Hanover Habitat from Ler and Lay Htoo, Hanover Habitat homeowners since 2012. Feeling encouraged they applied and were accepted into the homeownership program.
They are looking forward to having an affordable monthly mortgage. They are happy to be staying in Mechanicsville, an area they are familiar with. Ultimately, owning their own home will mean stability and self-reliance for their family.
Kimberly Shuler will be Hanover Habitat’s 64th homebuyer. She grew up in Hanover County. She loves the area and wants to stay close to her parents while raising her young family. She is a strong, hardworking mother who works in gift wrap and packaging for a large fulfillment center.
She is raising her two children in Mechanicsville. Lathan (6) is in 1st grade and loves to play sports. He wants to be a police officer when he grows up. McKenzie (4) is in Pre-K and is very outgoing. They love visiting local parks in the community. As a family, they attend Greenwood Church.
Kim grew tired of spending more than she could afford for her apartment. The everyday struggle of managing her finances was a burden. Kim says she felt “tied down” by her bills and expenses. She heard about Hanover Habitat for Humanity from Rick Holzbach, the ReStore manager. She applied and was accepted into the homeownership program.
She is looking forward to having an affordable monthly mortgage that will allow her to provide more for her kids. Kim says that owning a home will mean “having a place that will always be ours.” Ultimately it will mean stability and self-reliance for Kim and her family.
Shera Glasco has lived in Hanover County for her entire life and is now raising her two daughters in Ashland. Her extended family lives here as well and they love being a part of the Ashland community. They attend their local church, the Ashland Church of God and Shera works in Ashland, where she has a steady job as a restaurant manager. She started working in the same restaurant over ten years ago where she worked her way up from server, to a shift manager, and is now a member of senior management staff. Although Shera can’t imagine any other place being “home” for her and her girls, it has been extremely difficult for the family to find affordable housing in Hanover County.
When Shera applied for the Hanover Habitat program, they were living with family in extremely overcrowded conditions. It has been challenging for Shera to provide a stable learning and growing environment for her daughters in this type of atmosphere, where her daughters don’t even have a bedroom of their own.
Since first applying for the program, Shera has worked hard to get to the point where she is ready to purchase a home. She and her daughters can’t wait to start construction in Ashland this fall. To Shera, owning a home will mean a sense of pride and accomplishment, a constant reminder of how far she has come. Most importantly, it will mean a stable environment for her daughters to grow up.
Laura Hetrick is a hardworking mother raising her two sons in Mechanicsville. Laura grew up in Ashland and lived most of her life here in Hanover County. When she had children she relocated to King William. When she became a single mother a few years ago, she returned to Hanover County, seeking the support of family and friends, better schools and a more stable life for her children.
It was not easy to relocate two children and learn how to make ends meet as a single mother, but Laura worked hard and persevered. She got a job working nights at a hotel in Ashland, and has been steadily employed there for two years. Despite her hard work and success, Laura, like many others in Hanover County, still found herself struggling to find decent and affordable housing.
Living in an overpriced and overcrowded apartment that was in a regular state of disrepair, Laura worried about having to move to another rental. She did not want to put her youngest son through another move and risk having to switch his school yet again. This is when Laura learned about Hanover Habitat.
Laura first applied with Hanover Habitat in November of 2015. At the time she did not qualify for the program. Instead of becoming discouraged, Laura found out what she needed to do to qualify and she worked towards it. Laura returned to us in the spring, determined and ready to become a homeowner. She was approved for our homebuyer program in June of 2016. Laura has already immersed herself in our program, spending over 70 hours of her time working on the homes of others and attending educational classes.
To Laura, owning a home will mean getting to keep her son in the same school. It will mean not having to constantly rely on a landlord to make her apartment safe and healthy. Ultimately, owning a home will mean strength and stability for Laura and her family.
Myra Adams first learned about Hanover Habitat for Humanity when she was driving through Ashland with her son, Cody, and came across a sign for Bailey Woods, Hanover Habitat’s first neighborhood. Myra thinks that she was meant to drive past Bailey Woods that day because she learned about Habitat in a time of great need. She has overcome a lot in recent years, including learning to live with a severe illness and disability. Myra and her son have been living in rental housing with extremely high rent for years. In addition to their home being unaffordable, it does not meet Myra’s accessibility needs.
As an active member of Atlee Community Church and the coordinator for the Atlee Outreach Ministry, Myra devotes time, as her health will allow, providing food, clothing and much more to the homeless and underprivileged in Hanover County. Cody also supports the Atlee Outreach Ministry, primarily devoting his free time to serving hot meals to the homeless. Myra feels that God has called her to give back to the community however and whenever possible. In addition to her dedication to Hanover County’s faith community, she is also her children’s strongest supporter. She is currently putting her younger son through college. He is a successful, full-time college student at Old Dominion University.
Veronica and Luis Hernandez, Habitat’s 60th homeowners, are the proud parents of two children. Their daughter is in her senior year of high school and their son is a college student at Virginia Commonwealth University, studying Economics. The Hernandez’s are a hardworking and community-minded family. Veronica has spent her career in Social Services and currently works for Hanover County Social Services. Her son spends his spare time volunteering with Little Sisters of the Poor. They look forward to becoming active members of the Ashland community.
The Hernandez family has always lived in a rented house and it never really felt like “home.” They have worked so hard to become homeowners and they can’t wait to realize their dream of having a stable place to call home.