My name is Tereza, and my family was fortunate enough to purchase a Habitat home at Leacross Landing this past summer. As a single mother of three I have worked hard to create the best life possible for my kids. I had my first child at the age of 16 and life presented many challenges along the way as I grew up and my family grew with me. Just over a decade ago I went back to school to study Early Childhood Education and have been working in the field as a professional ever since. Even with a post secondary education and a great position with a reputable organization, the idea of purchasing a home for my family was absolutely impossible as a single parent.
When I first heard from a friend that there was an organization offering affordable home ownership opportunities for working families, I had no idea what to expect but I knew I had to give it a shot. We had been living in sub par social housing for 7 years and I was tired of the struggles we constantly faced. I knew that simply by living in this type of community that my children were at a higher risk for so many potential challenges, and as a parent this was a constant source of stress and anxiety. Applying for the Habitat Program was a no brainer. I went online and filled out a simple application, provided some documentation and was contacted in December 2015 to let me know I had met all of the criteria to be accepted as part of the program. Talk about a Christmas miracle!
Fast forward three years, and my family is getting ready to celebrate our first Christmas in our new Habitat home. I can’t tell you enough how much this home has changed our lives.
My daughter has just started High School, some of the most vulnerable years of a young person’s life. Our journey this year, from the motivation provided by Habitat to the roots we’ve now planted have made a huge impact on her. She has gone from an average student to being on the Honour Roll. My son struggled with numerous health issues and learning difficulties in his young years. This new start at a new school has helped him to break out of his shell and he’s beginning to truly thrive with the help of his wonderful educational team. Since settling into our new home I’ve felt comfortable enough to stretch my own boundaries in my career.
This experience has been incredible for each of us individually, and for us as a family. Now we will have a home to create memories in and a place my children can look back in 20 years and say, ‘That’s the home we grew up in.’
Thank you for taking the time to hear my story. I hope you can feel just how deeply this organization impacts families in Ottawa and how essential this work is in providing hope and a new start for people who need it.