On Saturday, February 25, Habitat Greensboro kicked off the future home of Naomi and her daughters Erin and Jordyn. This is the eleventh of seventeen homes to be built by Habitat Greensboro in the White Oak Heights Community. This build was sponsored by the Richard Evans Family in memory of Mr. Evans.
The overcast sky and intermittent sprinkles of rain could not dampen the spirits of those assembled to celebrate with Naomi. The joy was palpable among the volunteers, Habitat Greensboro Board members, staff, homeowners, and sponsors as Habitat Greensboro COO Ruthie Richardson-Robinson offered greetings.
Following greetings and the opening prayer, the build sponsor was invited to speak. Richard’s daughter Cynthia Tessien shared memories of her father and his upbringing on behalf of the Richard Evans Family. She began, “I want to tell you a quick story about Richard. When he was little, he was named Richard. But as he grew up, his name became Papa. And he’s in heaven… He grew up very poor … Eventually, he entered the Army and went to North Carolina State, where he studied engineering. He got a really good job… He married his high school friend and sweetheart, Mimi. They didn’t have money for a long time. When I was born, they brought me home from the hospital. I was fully paid for, but they only had $7 in the bank. My brother always said they should have left me in the hospital and kept the money. So my brother and I were raised knowing that lots of people helped us along the way. Papa worked hard and saved his money. And when I was 14, he started Evans Engineering. And he always cared about helping others. He felt like God had blessed him in so many ways. And he and my mom tried to give back. They gave to their church, they gave to Habitat, and they cared about the community. We miss him so much. But I know he is smiling and grinning today because he’s so happy that we’re all here.”
Cynthia concluded her statement with a wish for the family, “What we want is for you all to love this house and love growing up here. And then make sure you do your homework. Make sure you study hard, even when it’s hard, like math, and do a good job. And then one day, you help somebody too. And that’s how we create community together. We’re so grateful to be here. We’re so grateful to all the volunteers that make this happen. We are one small piece. The money is one small piece. It doesn’t happen without community. And we’re just thrilled for the opportunity to be here on behalf of my mom, Mimi, and me. Thank you so much for caring and coming together today.”
After Cynthia’s comments, attendees were introduced to the future homeowner, Naomi, and her daughters, Erin and Jordyn. An emotional and overjoyed Naomi expressed her gratitude, stating, “Thank you all for being here. I’m so happy. I’m so excited. I’m so grateful. I want to give thanks to my Lord, my Savior, my king, first and foremost. And I want to thank all of you guys … This is truly a blessing to me and my children to set us up for our future.”
Naomi’s oldest daughter, Erin, also expressed her gratitude, sharing, “Thank you so much for helping us. We waited for so so long. And I’m so blessed. I’m happy to have our own rooms, so I can game and play outside and stuff like that. And I’m really, really thankful.”
Naomi took a leap of faith two and a half years ago to create a better life for her daughters. After praying, “Lord, where am I supposed to go?” Naomi saw an advertisement for Greensboro, NC. Naomi moved her two children from Flint, Michigan, to Greensboro without any connections in the area.
Greensboro provided better school opportunities for Erin and Jordyn and an opportunity for Naomi to pursue her education in social work. The young family flourished in Greensboro, yet Naomi had one more dream for her family – a home.
Naomi’s first friend in Greensboro mentioned Habitat Greensboro’s Homeownership Program, and Naomi applied and was accepted. She shared, “I’m so excited and grateful. If it wasn’t for this opportunity, I don’t know how I would have gotten into a home.”