All Posts By

Abri Hochstetler

Perseverance to Provide Stability for Generations

By | Homeowner | No Comments

Perseverance is a theme we see in many of our homeowners’ stories, and Ebony Duffy’s journey exemplifies this theme. Ebony first applied to Habitat’s program in 2009 and didn’t initially meet the qualifications. However, she did not give up visualizing the impact of homeownership and worked hard to see that happen.

Ebony remembers: “I was determined to improve my credit history and increase my income. The last seven years, I had tough obstacles cross my path. However, I overcame them with my strong beliefs and guidance. There was a time when I worked two jobs, working 14 days straight with one weekend off a month, attending classes and raising my daughter. I was extremely motivated to get my finances in order and provide a stable home for my daughter. I am extremely proud to say that my hard work has paid off. Our new home will bring more memories and a brighter future.”

This summer Ebony will become the first homeowner in her family. She acknowledges the longevity of her commitment to this goal: “It will be a start of a new tradition that will be passed down to my daughter and other generations,” wrote Ebony. “One of my objectives [through Habitat’s program] is to show Kaliyah to never give up on your dreams in life.

Ebony already knows what she’ll do first as a homeowner: “I am looking forward to hanging up a picture of Kaliyah cutting the ribbon for our new home.”

Watch the first stage of construction on Ebony’s home completed during the 2017 Statehouse with Habitat for Humanity Indiana and get a tour of her future home. View photos from Ebony’s build with Eli Lilly & Company volunteers on our Flickr page.

Know someone who might be interested in our homeownership program? Invite them to join us for an info session the first Thursday of every month!

Volunteers, By the Numbers

By | Tiger Team, Volunteer | No Comments

Volunteers are the lifeblood of Habitat’s work here in Greater Indy and across the country. Our volunteers may spend a day with us once a year or come back every week. Regardless of the amount of time spent on a build site or in the ReStore, our volunteers bring the Habitat mission to life.

Though we haven’t hit the halfway mark of the year yet, our volunteers are hitting some impressive numbers! Thus far in 2017 we’ve seen:

  • 2260 volunteer shifts completed in rain, snow or sunshine
  • 104 volunteer shifts completed by future Habitat homeowners
  • 14,312 hours of work completed by volunteers (4,094 hours by Tigers!)
  • 139 days where volunteers built/rehabbed homes or worked in the ReStore
  • 1,832 new accounts created since January, meaning 1,832 new individuals have or will join Habitat’s work in Greater Indy
  • 3 new homeowners now living in their first home and 7 homes under construction with volunteer support

And we have more to accomplish in 2017! Help us reach our goal of serving 27 first-time homeowners by signing up today. With questions, please contact volunteer@indyhabitat.org.

A ReStore “Pinterest Unicorn”: Andy

By | ReStore | No Comments

Written by Andy Duncan, ReStore Development Coordinator

At this year’s Habitat for Humanity Global Conference, I was able to speak with several other ReStore folks from affiliates across the country, and one of the topics that came up several times was the illusive “Pinterest Unicorn.”

For those who don’t know, Pinterest is a social media platform wherein crafty folk from all over can post and assemble pictures demonstrating the results of their hobbies. So the idea of donors and shoppers repurposing materials from the ReStore – turning vents into light fixtures, doors into garden benches, and lamp globes into planters – is an enticing and exciting one for us! At the conference we all mused and dreamed of such donors/customers bringing in picture after picture of their deft feats of re-use.

But in reality, we call them unicorns because, well, they are rare – perhaps even mythical. Not anymore! After myriad discussions with my peers and colleagues, I set off to not only find a Pinterest Unicorn, but to actually become one! I give you my new hobby: turning old light fixtures into terrariums.

It’s rather simple and inexpensive. First, you find the light you want to use – about $10 at one of our three ReStore locations. Next, remove the lighting parts; this is usually just a couple of screws undone with a wrench or two.

Then you needs some rocks (these are free, outside). Put a layer one to two inches deep at the bottom of your light fixtures for drainage. You will need some activated charcoal – this is pretty cheap in the aquarium aisle of your local pet store. Sprinkle a layer of this over your rocks for moisture filtration. Next place some moss – the kind that comes with hanging plant pots these days ($2 at a hardware store) – over this mixture. Then you need some dirt and sand, these can also be free but it’s recommended you get them free of earth-bound creatures who may not appreciate finding themselves trapped in a new glass house. Mix these together and fill a layer two inches on top of the rocks, charcoal, and moss!

Finally, you need some small moisture-loving plants. I’ve done well with ferns and certain types of succulents; ask your local garden center about these. You may need to cover and uncover the terrarium periodically to get the moisture level stabilized, letting water evaporate to lessen moisture level or misting to up the moisture level. And Voila! Do I have a rainbow horn coming out of my forehead yet?

Do you have a DIY project that can be created from ReStore products? Share a photo with us on our ReStore Facebook pages for Indy, Greenfield or Avon!

Cover Indiana-Discovering What I Can Do: Lauren

By | Events, Volunteer | No Comments

This year I’m serving as an AmeriCorps A-Team member with Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity. Before this trip, I had never ridden my bike over 45 miles. Yet, on the first day of the Habitat for Humanity Cover Indiana ride, I rode 72 miles! We started the day in Lafayette and worked our way down and around Clinton Co. to Thorntown. During that first half of the ride I had the pleasure of riding beside all kinds of riders – young athletic riders, a couple on a tandem bike, and a woman who is so dedicated to riding that even after breaking her hip on a bike ride, came back and rode on a recumbent bike! After reaching Thorntown, the majority of our team rode on to Crawfordsville. However, Paul (a Tiger with Greater Indy Habitat and pictured below), Ted (Director of Development with Greater Indy) and I turned around and headed back to Lafayette to finish out our day ride. We faced some serious headwinds and steep hills! But we forged on, got a little off path and then found our way back to base camp.


The amount of pride and accomplishment I felt was second to none! It was because of the support and strength of Paul, Ted and my fellow Habitat riders that I was able to accomplish this mileage goal of mine and feel this great sense of personal empowerment. Whether you are a future homeowner, a volunteer or supporter, Habitat does that to you – strengthens you, helps you discover what you can do and is there to cheer you on as you reach your goals.

Why I Build: Sheryl

By | Women Build | No Comments

Sheryl Lesem, 2017 Women Build Co-Chair, shares why she participates in the Women Build.

What first drew me to Women Build? I had heard about Habitat for Humanity for years through a friend whose father was very active in his Texas chapter. I was always intrigued. About four years ago, I knew I wanted to find more ways to give back and decided to research Indy Habitat. I came across the information on the website about the (first) Greater Indy Women Build and knew right away that was for me. Not just volunteering as a builder for Habitat, but a women specific build, that also required financially supporting it through my own donation and/or fundraising.

How long have I participated? This is my fourth year with the Greater Indy Habitat Women Build. Fourth year as a builder, two years as a Team Leader and two years serving on the advisory board.

Why is the Women Build important to our community? Not only does it provide an affordable home to a deserving and contributing family, it provides an outlet for many women to support Habitat through the funding and building of the home. Also, empowering these women to perhaps do something they’ve never done or ever thought they could do or would be interested in doing.

A favorite memory would be working with my teams, and seeing each of my builders glow with excitement and satisfaction on the build site.

Why get involved? Repeat of answer #3: It provides an outlet for many women to support Habitat through the funding and building of the home. Also empowering these women to perhaps do something they’ve never done or ever thought they could do or would be interested in doing.

Learn more about the Women Build program, how you can support the 2017 build, or participate as a builder in 2018!

2016 Milestones, 2017 Goals

By | From the CEO | No Comments

From the desk of Jim Morris, President & CEO

By this time of January, the holidays are clearly in the rear view mirror and many of us are living into the spirit of renewal as a benefit of a New Year. Our energy is on 2017 planning. Our board, staff, and Tiger Team (our “mostly” retired group of regular volunteers) are preparing to accomplish the year’s goals from activities like finalizing the budget, creating the build project calendar, and preparing the workshop for another fulfilling year.

While our team’s planning rhythm and contagious energy is familiar for the start of the year, it will be unique as we will recognize 30 years of bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope (learn more about our founding). Be on the lookout for a few fun things to highlight our 30th anniversary.

Before we dive into 2017 plans, reflecting on 2016 showed that with the support of our donors, sponsors, Tigers, and board, we walked alongside 65 families throughout Hancock, Hendricks and Marion counties to provide 21 new or rehabbed homes and 44 repairs that helped preserve homes for owners. That is the most housing solutions provided in the history of the organization.

We hit a few additional milestones last year:

In 2017 the goal is to build and rehab 27 homes and provide 40 repairs to existing homes. We’ll continue building on the tradition of our three main theme builds: the State Fair Agricultural Build, Women Build, and the Interfaith Build. We will be building in Hendricks County, Marion (in a variety of neighborhoods) and Hancock County.

I invite you to jump in and join us this year. Donate. Volunteer. Visit one of our ReStores. We look forward to seeing you help build strength and stability through homeownership in 2017.

Making Others’ Lives Better

By | Builders Circle, Tiger Team, Volunteer | No Comments

“I always feel so blessed to have found Habitat, although I have dreamed for years to work on a build.” Like many, once Terry Cohoat first volunteered with Habitat for Humanity she was hooked.

“I started volunteering in April of 2015,” shared Terry. “From that very first time I knew I had found my calling. I continued volunteering as often as I could by going to the volunteer hub and signing up. By the end of the year, I was a Tiger, a decision I have never regretted.”

In 2016, Terry spent more than 440 hours volunteering with Greater Indy Habitat as a Tiger Team member, a year-round volunteer. For Terry, the commitment to Habitat’s mission moves beyond just hours on the build site as she also supports Habitat as a donor and Builders Circle member.

“My parent’s grew up during the depression,” Terry reflected. “My father’s family was very poor and he told me how they would pick up coal along the railroad tracks to heat their home. Circumstances enabled them to get a home through an insurance settlement, but he never forgot his humble beginnings. My mother grew up in better circumstances, but never lived in a home that they owned. I support Habitat for my parents. They always wanted our lives to be better. Owning a home makes lives better. I volunteer with Habitat to make others’ lives better, the way I was taught by my Dad and Mom.”

As a Tiger, Terry works with a variety of volunteers on different projects throughout the year. “My favorite part of volunteering is working with the volunteers teaching them new skills,” Terry shared. “So many think ‘they can’t’ do something when they ‘can,’ and when that happens, we high-five all around! Those are the moments that make being a Tiger worthwhile.”

With Terry’s goal of making others’ lives better, the homeowners remain at the heart of her volunteer work: “All of the homeowner’s are so thrilled to be getting a home that it brings tears to my eyes whenever I think of them. Each has a unique story, with the same theme: they are going to be a homeowner, the first in many generations. I feel so proud of them, and am always glad that I have contributed to making their dream a reality.”

Thank you, Terry, for your commitment to serving our homeowners, volunteers, and community!

Help Kick Off our 30th Year!

By | Events | No Comments

As we enter into 2017, the significance of our mission and need for affordable housing is as great as it was 30 years ago, when Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity was founded. Throughout these years, we have had the privilege to work with many companies, organizations and individuals who selflessly gave their time and money to lend a hand up and help us partner with more than 540 families in our community.

We invite you to join us for an enjoyable evening to hear the many ways you can be a part of serving our mission in the Greater Indy community in 2017!

SAVE THE DATE: 2017 Kick-Off Event, Thursday, March 16th, at 6 p.m., at DeveloperTown.

Register to join us today!

In addition to meeting future homeowners and recognizing our outstanding partners from last year, we will share how we plan on continuing our mission this year, including ways you can get involved, including:

So please join us as we celebrate the year to come, and prepare for the work ahead! Spread the word, bring a friend, and get ready to build homes for families, hope for the future, and community in 2017!

Drinks provided by Sun King Brewing Company.
Light Hors d’oeuvres will be served.
Limited number of door prizes for attendees.

With questions please contact Amy Donhardt, adonhardt@indyhabitat.org or 317.777.6085.

A Place for the Everyday and Special Moments

By | Homeowner | No Comments

vargas-sanchez-family_enewsHome is a place for the day-to-day moments as well as special occasions. Over the past six months, Ixchel Vargas and Christian Sanchez have settled into the everydayness of homeownership with cooking together, hosting family, and playing with their three children.

We like having our own space; the kids can play in their rooms. We like to cook and have dinner as a family. When my parents come to the house I like to serve them and make them food,” shared Ixchel.

For Ixchel, the extra space is meaningful for her kids as they quickly turned the house into their home: “Allan, the oldest, loves to play with Legos in his room. He creates different things like robots, cars, houses, and more; he has a big imagination. But he sure doesn’t like when his sister comes in the room because then she wants to destroy his Legos and he gets upset. Alexa likes to play with bubbles and run around the house. The little one, Abril, she started to crawl and I love that we have carpet because she can crawl all over the house.”

vargas-sanchez-family-3_enewsHome has also meant a place to celebrate special moments, including Allan’s recent birthday and trick-or-treating for Halloween. “I love seeing my kids smile and saying to me, ‘Mommy, I want to go to my house.’ Hearing those words makes me happy because I know that my kids are happy, too,” said Ixchel.

vargas-sanchez-family-2_enewsIxchel offers encouragement for those considering Habitat homeownership: “I would like to let others know that this is a great program and if you have the opportunity to be in the program take advantage of what they offer. Try harder to do everything you can to finish the program and know at the end when you have your keys in your hand, know that it is your reward. You will be the happiest person because you are giving a stable, loving and secure home to your family.” If you’re interested in homeownership, please join us for an info session on Thursday, Dec. 1.

At the end of 2016, we will have welcomed 21 families into their first home. Join us in 2017 as a donor, sponsor, or volunteer as we seek to provide more families like Ixchel and Christian’s that happy feeling!