On January 15, Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County hosted a home dedication of the Escalante Family, the newest members of the Habitat Family. We are proud to welcome Patrick, Claudia and their four year old son Nicholas, home. Their hard work and dedication is a testament to their desire to build a safe and stable environment for their young family. Below is an interview with Claudia Escalante, who shares what the new home and partnership means to her.
Please share with us some of your background and why you want to stay in Monmouth County. Why did you decide to apply with Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County for an affordable home for your family?
We believe that Monmouth County is one of the best counties in New Jersey for education and progression. We are very excited that Rumson has such high performance schools that will give an excellent beginning for our son!
What does it mean to you, and your family, that you will be receiving an affordable home?
It is a gift from God and a great opportunity to give our son more stability because we have the security that we can pay for and afford.
How would you define a “home”? What does it mean to you?
For us a home means to live in peace and harmony. We are happy that a home allows us to live honestly and to be able to face the difficulties that present themselves in the best way possible.
For our son Nicholas home means “to have space to play with Charlie [their pet dog] and help mom make banana bread.”
Knowing there will be hundreds of hours of volunteer work go into your future home, how does this impact you?
We feel incredibly blessed and grateful to have the opportunity to know people with such big hearts with generosity to invest their valuable time and knowledge to help us. My sincerest thanks for everything.
What would you like to say to those that are helping build your home?
To the people that have helped us in any way we say: God bless you and protect you always, you’ve made us immensely happy. You have shown us your humanity, you have shown us to see life in a different way, you’ve transformed our lives in the most positive way and have brought hope to our hearts. We are immensely thankful for the dedication of your valuable time and work to leave the best of you in our future home. Thank you for the kindness and nobility that you’ve shown us. From all of my heart I wish and hope that one day I can repay all that you’ve done to better our lives.
How does it make you feel to be working on your own home? Can you describe an instance or two that really made an impact while working on site, or another build site?
It feels like a dream to have the opportunity to see the house change every day, it keeps looking prettier. It’s impacted me a lot that so many people without hesitation, and without knowing us, want to contribute to our well-being. It’s a lesson that all of the work, as easy as it may seem, has its trick. (Painting isn’t as easy as it looks!)
What are some things you are looking forward to when you are living in your new home?
Peace, tranquility and privacy are three things that are essential to live a life of dignity. We feel blessed and thankful to be able to achieve it.
Who are some of the people that have helped you along the way? What did they do and how would you describe the interactions and/or specific experiences.
There are a lot of people who have helped us along the way. Mrs. Marianne Herring with her friendliness, generosity and charisma always makes us feel like family. Lori, with her smile and good humor always has made us feel super happy. Sharon is so friendly and understanding. Andy, who seems a little serious, but in reality is so friendly and has a good heart and always puts forth his best to do a good job. And, in general, the entire team of Habitat for Humanity who always has been ready to help with anything. And thank you to everyone from the Affordable Housing Alliance who have helped us with the necessary formalities of the documents and requirements of the house. Thank you to the lawyer, James Morris, for his unconditional support.
In general to all the people and companies that contributed economically with our future home thank you very much, also want to thank Fair Haven Garden Club for the beautiful garden that they donated and designed for us. (I already want spring to come to enjoy my flowers!)
And we can’t leave out our most sincere thanks to Mrs. Nancy Doran and Mr. Don Thoms who were the people who did our home visit because that day, these two people who didn’t know anything about us, understood the difficult situation that we were going through.
If someone is considering giving to, or volunteering with, Habitat, what would you tell them?
We would tell them that it’s an act of goodness, that they can’t imagine how much they can do to change the lives of a person, and the amazing feeling of contributing to a greater cause in our community.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Life is full of moments… some are welcome and others not welcome, but to find people so special and full of goodness like all of you makes one not lose faith and hope. You all came at the moment that we most needed, and for that we will appreciate you for the rest of our lives.