“This is what community looks like.” - Damone Presley
Community members turned out in force early one Saturday in December to dedicate a new addition to the neighborhood.
Since 2011, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has been working closely with Frogtown community partners through a Neighborhood Revitalization effort. This process focuses on the neighborhood as a whole, rather than Habitat's one hammer, one home, one family model. This holistic approach stems from the knowledge that for families to succeed it is important that they feel supported and integral as a member of their community.
Results of a three-year impact study and discussions with Frogtown community organizations showed that while there were many positives happening in the community one area of concern was trash dumping in local neighborhoods. In response this year, Twin Cities Habitat worked with Frogtown partners to organize two major clean-up events. Most recently was Garage-a-palooza, which took place in October. This effort included landscaping an entire alley, removing trash and the painting of six garages in one day. Garage-a-palooza was hugely successful and utilized community leadership and involvement through the entire planning and implementing process.
Abdullahi & Sahro's new home backs up to the alley where Garage-a-palooza took place, and there were many neighbors, community members and supporters on hand to welcome them into their new home.
Damone Presley of Frogtown Rondo Action Network spoke about the tight-knit community. As he looked around the packed room, Damone stressed that showing up, supporting each other, building neighborhoods, creating connections and providing families with safe places to be, are integral to community.Homebuyers Abdullahi and Sahro told volunteers at the dedication that they were very grateful for all the support from volunteers, staff and donors. “We can now raise our children with happiness and freedom.” They praised the voluntary work done on their home and the Habitat mission saying “it is very special that you are willing to change the lives of families you’ve never met. Thank you. This is a great program with talented staff and wonderful sponsors. You have improved our lives...This is what community looks like.”
Many echoed the message of gratitude for the volunteers that put their energy into this build.
Melissa Steiner, the Site Supervisor on this build, shared that it was challenging, as it was her first build after having a new baby. “I don’t how you ever get out the door,” she said to Abdullahi and Sahro who have six children. “I couldn’t have done this without my amazing AmeriCorps, Moriah, and the support of these incredible volunteers, especially the groups that come back year after year. I feel that I have one of the best jobs (in the world) to work with you all.”
Mikeya Griffin, a member of Thrivent Financial who was a major sponsor on this build, spoke about her experience working with Habitat. “I am so happy and so blessed to be part of this journey, your journey," she said to Abdullahi and Sahro. "I get to work with wonderful families, Thrivent members and volunteers. It really isn’t possible without you all.”
Sue Haigh, Twin Cities Habitat’s President & CEO, reflected on the importance of gathering community in action and celebration. “At a time when the world is so filled with hate, it is wonderful to be here, there is so much love in this room. My heart is full. Thank you.” She listed the countless volunteer groups from congregations all around the Twin Cities, including Interfaith Builders, Faith Builders, Gustavus Adolphus Church- Redeemer Lutheran, St. Stephen’s Coalition and Messiah Lutheran Church. “We couldn’t do any of this without our partners. Thank you!”
For more pictures from this home dedication, follow this link.
To learn more about Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity's work in Frogtown, click here.