JaTio’s Journey After Habitat

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Hear about JaTio’s Journey After Habitat

In 2019, JaTio Skinner achieved a remarkable milestone—she became a proud first-time Habitat homeowner. JaTio, along with her now 9-year-old son, helped build her home as part of the Agriculture Build hosted at the Indiana State Fair. Dedicated to her dream of homeownership, she completed the homeownership education program while working full-time night shifts and being a single mother. 

While in the homeownership program, Habitat University, JaTio didn’t just secure a home; she also completed her associate degree at Ivy Tech. This experience gave her the inspiration she needed to continue her education and transfer to the IUPUI Kelly School of Business to earn a bachelor’s degree in HR Management. “I knew I could do anything if I could do this,” she reflects. 

When asked about the role her Habitat home played in her life, JaTio responds, “Everything!” The sense of responsibility and independence she gained from homeownership is invaluable. Financial literacy courses through Habitat University equipped her with the skills to be credit-savvy and financially efficient. Describing the experience as “amazing,” JaTio emphasizes that owning a home brings a sense of peace, as she redirects her money back into her own investment instead of rent. 

Her neighborhood is becoming a close-knit community where her son can play freely. Since partnering with Habitat, JaTio notes so many positive accomplishments in her life. Not only did she gain financial stability, but she also feels the program helped her build character. 

One of JaTio’s fondest memories about Habitat is the care she received from the team. Now comfortable in her home, she has started a new tradition—Christmas Eve pajama parties, where family and friends gather to celebrate the holidays. 

JaTio hopes her journey is an inspiration and she encourages others considering homeownership to believe in themselves. For her, the right mindset and the right commitment are key. “See it, then achieve it. Imagine yourself on closing day cutting that ribbon. It’s hope that will get you there. It can be done; I did it.” 

To help more individuals, like JaTio, achieve their dream of homeownership and build stability for their families, donate today.

Read About Bugashane’s Passion for Computer Design

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Meet Bugashane Mugoovi, a promising first-year student at Purdue University, starting his academic journey in Computer Graphic Tech and UX Design. He gained a passion for computer design and software his first semester and was happy his major aligns with his interests. Hoping to make his parents proud, Bugashane chose Purdue because of their prestigious programs and to fulfill a dream of his own.  

Despite being in the early stages of his college career, Bugashane envisions a future working in computer graphics and software, with aspirations to work for companies like InVideo. His first semester at Purdue has been filled with exciting experiences, including plans to run for a position in the Student Government Association and engaging in campus life through intramural sports like volleyball. 

Bugashane’s educational journey is rooted in his family’s Habitat home, offering stability after multiple moves during his earlier years. He feels happy to know his siblings won’t have to constantly change schools because of their family moving. Their home also fosters a sense of togetherness. Memories of family gatherings and Sunday backyard cleanups paint a picture of a home.  

He recalls celebrating his brother’s birthday when they first moved into their home. “It was nice because there were a lot of shops nearby that we could take him. The fact that we live in a good location is nice.” The impact of their home extends beyond the physical space; it has brought positive changes to Bugashane’s family dynamics. With his father’s job now closer to home, the family enjoys more quality time together. 

We wish Bugashane the best as he navigates the exciting challenges of college life. Having the privilege of a secure home can empower individuals to pursue their dreams. Looking forward to all the success you will reach! 

Inspired by his story? Click here to learn about the 2024 scholarship opportunity.

Read more about the stories of our remaining three scholarship recipients.

Hear From Kali About Her Pursuit In Nursing

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Kali Negussie is pursuing her second bachelor’s degree, this time in nursing at IUPUI. Having completed her undergraduate studies in psychology and human development at Purdue University last spring, Kali’s decision to transition to nursing stems from a desire to build stability and independence for herself early in life. The accelerated BSN program is set to begin in January 2024. She is interested in various specialties like NICU, pediatrics, dermatology, and public health and aspires to become a nurse practitioner. 

Kali’s family journey with Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity began in 2009 when her family moved into their four-bedroom, one-bath home. Originating from Ethiopia, Kali’s family found a place to call their own in their Habitat home. Before, they were renters through the Carraige House, where other immigrant families find housing support. Her grandmother comes to visit often.  

For Kali, their Habitat home houses her favorite memories, including putting up the Christmas tree and sharing Sunday lunches as a family. “For my parents, it was a place they can call home. My dad said he wanted to own a home in his lifetime.” We are happy to see he is finally living out this dream. She also remembers painting rooms around the house with her mother when they first moved in. 

Encouraged by her father, who values education deeply, Kali applied for the Greater Indy Habitat scholarship. He said, “Education is the most important thing because no one can take it away from you.” Her academic achievements, including finishing ninth among all students academically at Ben Davis, reflect the dedication to education instilled by her family. She attributes her success to being surrounded by high achieving individuals. 

She chose IUPUI because it is close to home and because there are good hospitals in Indianapolis that she can train at. As she prepares to attend IUPUI, Kali is planning a trip to Ethiopia this fall to spend time with family and friends. Through the scholarship, Kali is one step closer to reaching her dreams and also is excited for continuous growth. The Negussie home is an example of the power of stable, affordable homeownership. 

Congratulations, Kali! 

Inspired by her story? Click here to learn about the 2024 scholarship opportunity.

Discover the stories of our remaining three scholarship recipients.

Wisdom Korrie’s Path to Mechanical Engineering

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Wisdom Korrie is on a promising journey as a first-year student at Ivy Tech. His pathway to Ivy Tech started through the Dream Alive program and a campus tour. DREAM Alive is a nonprofit that provides 7th –12th graders career-focused experimental learning, mentored relationships, and character development. He realized Ivy Tech was a perfect fit for him. Currently enrolled in English and Economics classes, Wisdom is exploring different subjects and options. He has expressed interest in mechanical engineering and automotive technology. He hopes to study something that gives him versatility. Looking ahead, Wisdom envisions transitioning to IUPUI after completing two years at Ivy Tech. 

Wisdom’s passion for mechanics traces back to working on cars with his father, who gave him hands-on learning. “My dad would say, ‘Wisdom, come look at this.’” He started doing break jobs, coolant washes, and transmission work. The City Life on Wheels program at Purdue Poly Tech High School further fueled his enthusiasm. “I was into really anything to get my hands working.” 

The Korrie family, owners of their Habitat home for nearly seven years, found a place where they could grow. Before Habitat, they were in a duplex in a neighborhood that was not the best. “My parents leaped for joy when they discovered Habitat,” shared Wisdom. “They had a lot more freedom to do what we want.” As a middle child among seven siblings, Wisdom is responsible for taking his siblings to school.  

When Wisdom learned about the Greater Indy Habitat scholarship opportunity, he said, “Oh wow. I feel like God is working for me.” As he begins his career at Ivy Tech, Wisdom looks forward to forging connections, making friends, and embracing the college experience. We hope God continues to work for Wisdom and his family! 

Inspired by his story? Click here to learn about the 2024 scholarship opportunity.

Discover the stories of our remaining three scholarship recipients!

From Dreams to Degrees: Alexis Adams’ Scholarship Journey

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Meet Alexis Adams, a tenacious junior at IUPUI on the journey of forensic science. Raised in the nurturing environment of her Habitat home since the age of three, Alexis has not only excelled academically but also has a deep passion for true crime and chemistry. 

Choosing IUPUI for its renowned forensic science program, Alexis was also drawn to initiatives they offer like the Diversity Enrichment and Achievement program (DEAP). Here, she gets diverse experiences in a sometimes less diverse academic setting. Alexis continues to excel academically, surpassing her own expectations and steadily proving her capabilities to herself, despite her doubts. 

Balancing school, Alexis, a former choir singer, now works at Walmart and is now seeking internships to gain hands-on experience in her field. With aspirations to become a forensic scientist, she envisions herself as a wonder woman making significant contributions to her field in a new city outside of Indy. 

For Alexis, her Habitat home is not just a house; it’s the backdrop to so many childhood memories, from walks to school with her brother to neighborhood friends and family gatherings. Alexis attributes her success and resilience to the stability provided by her home and acknowledges her mother’s teachings on the importance of having an affordable mortgage. Alexis sees the Habitat scholarship as another valuable gift to her family.  

Congratulations Alexis for being one of four recipients of the Habitat scholarship! Your dedication to your academic journey and pursuit of forensic science is incredible. Wishing you continued success in achieving your goals! 

Inspired by her story? Click here to learn about the 2024 scholarship opportunity.

Read more of the stories of our remaining three scholarship recipients!

Persevering to Provide a Stable Home

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As a healthcare provider and recent nursing school graduate, the impact of a safe, quality home on the health of her family is not lost on Brandy. This past year has shown all of us just how important a secure and safe home is.

In April Jim Morris, president & CEO, celebrated with Brandy at a small home dedication. Watch the video below to hear what home means to Brandy and her son, Adrian!

Brandy’s story is one of resilience and dedication.

“Everyone always dreams at some point in their lives about the ‘perfect home’ with the so called white picket
fence,” wrote Brandy. “Sitting on the porch with the children running and playing in the huge yard. For the longest time having a simple roof over my head that I could simply call home was my dream. Growing up I was bounced around from school to school being forced to meet new people and start a new life until we would become evicted again and forced once again to move to another location. Just when I started to make friends we would have to pack up and move to the next temporary home.”

Brandy also played the mother role often for her siblings. “Doing laundry, cooking and cleaning became more of a responsibility to me than my homework and studying. I remember cooking outside on a handmade fire pit because our gas would be shut off most of the time. Microwaving water to wash dishes and bathe in quickly before it got too cold in the unheated home. Using candles and tons of blankets for lights and warmth when the electricity was shut off on us. Getting up at six in the morning to bath in cold water without heat or lights. Taking a long walk to school in the cold winter mornings. I always told told myself as soon as I could get my own home I would make sure I at least could afford my utilities no matter the inside of the home. At ten years-old my dream home was just a home with working utilities.”

As a young, single mom, Brandy worked multiple jobs to make ends meet and eventually found a house to rent on the corner of a busy road. But, it was her own place. “My name, my bills and my little house on the comer. I was never more proud of myself. Over the next couple of years I started college to achieve my all-time goal of becoming a registered nurse.”

“One year into the home of my dreams I began to realize it was not so much a dream,” shared Brandy. “I ran into major plumbing problems that put me without water for days. I had to use multiple space heaters due to my furnace not being sufficient enough for the size and layout of my home, which increased my utilities bills so much that I could not afford them. The landlord did not give me many options to help fix these issues so I dealt with them as best as I could. About two years into this home I received emergency custody of my niece.”

“Giving up on college for the time being was my only option. My house became very crowded at this time. After two years living with us and becoming just like a sibling to my son, my niece was able to go back home to her mother on a temporary basis. I hope she is able to stay with her mother for good, however if she ever needs me I will be there for her immediately…I am a firm believer in God and I have truly been blessed to have made it this far in my life. I believe God has big plans for my family and me. I started college again and I landed a great job where I use my college education and can help continue my education.”

Brandy wanted a home to provide a safe and healthy place for her son and niece to grow up. That’s when she explored homeownership with Habitat for Humanity. After applying to the program and completing 300 hours of sweat equity, including homeownership classes and volunteering to help build her home and other Habitat homes, Brandy finally signed the paperwork to become a first-time homeowner in April!

“I am ready to finally be able to secure a home for me and my family. One that we can call ‘Ours.’ A place we can safely lay our head down at night. Many memories are built within a home. I am very excited and eager to build memories within my Habitat home. It is a fresh new start for my family that is much needed. A place for my son to grow up and enjoy. A place for my niece to know she can always come and can have a space of her own when it is needed the most…Owning a home from Habitat for Humanity will truly be a huge blessing to me and my family.”

Habitat Homeowner Gives Back through #HYP

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Precious Johnson became a Habitat homeowner in 2009 and joined our Young Professionals group in 2019. She currently serves on the 2021 leadership team as the HYP Secretary. 

My name is Precious and my first experience with Habitat was in 2008. I volunteered at a build a site, and after working the build site I was intrigued. I talked to my neighbor, a few co-workers and visited the Habitat website for more information.

There was a homeownership meeting scheduled for the next week and I decided to attend. After attending that one homeownership meeting, I submitted my application for the program. At that time, I was paying $675 in rent, and a monthly $100 light bill. I believe my bi-weekly paycheck after taxes was $700. The apartment was a very spacious two bedrooms, with two full bathrooms and I still lived close to my parents. Every month I used one of my bi-weekly paychecks to cover my rent. My best friend and my parents would help me monthly with groceries, gas, etc. My son and I lived in a previous cheaper apartment that was not safe or clean.

(Precious and her son, Karachi, volunteering on a Habitat build site.)

Affordable housing should be option to any adult who has income to make a monthly payment. I tried to apply for the Section 8 program, but the list was usually closed, or the waitlist was at a least a year.

Home is a place a family learns to grow, cook, love, and so much more. A family needs a home that is affordable, clean, and safe. I’m the oldest of four children, our house was always full of chaos, good food, laughter, anger, and a strong family. I always wanted my own home, but as a single parent I didn’t think I could afford a home. Then I thought how I would maintain a home, cut grass, pay property tax, etc. Once I went to the homeownership meeting, I knew I could afford a home.

My Habitat home makes me feel grateful that I have a warm, safe, and clean home for my family. I know that my hard work, and dedication made it possible to have a home. Also, I have a home that I can leave to my son, and he is learning how to maintain our home.

Habitat is important to me because the homeownership program made it possible for me to become a homeowner. If this program did not exist, I would have continued to live in an apartment struggling to pay rent. My Habitat mortgage is a payment that I continue to afford without a struggle.

Welcome Home 2020 Homeowners

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In a year when a safe, affordable home is as important as ever, we want to thank you for helping make the dream of homeownership possible for our families. Though challenges abounded in 2020, our homebuyers, sponsors, volunteers, donors, and partners pulled together to find solutions, offer each other grace, and return to the imperative work of our mission.

Whether you wielded a paintbrush, offered words of encouragement, or shared a gift to support our work, we are grateful for your partnership and the belief that everyone deserves a decent place to call home. Through the generous support of our community, we:

These smiles below say it best – thank you for welcoming home our 2020 homeowners!

Jim Morris
President & CEO
Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity

P.S. This winter we’re getting a head start on building homes for 2021. Your donation today helps make this early work possible so that even more families can build next year!




Jim’s Desk: Dinner with Danielle

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Habitat homeowner Danielle graciously opened her home for an evening with Jim to cook dinner and share a meal together. Watch the video below for a glimpse into the fun and to hear how Danielle and her family have made their house a home.

Become a monthly donor today! If you sign up for a reoccurring gift before Dec. 31, 2018, we will send you a Habitat homeowner recipe once a month in 2019. Look forward to 12 home-cooked recipes to enjoy and remember the impact of your support of Habitat for Humanity families.

Check out Jim’s previous “From the Desk” videos with Steven Meyer of King Park Development Corporation and Andy Duncan with our ReStores!