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My Home for One is a Home for All

Summer ABWK Volunteers 2018

Toya has lived in her home for 28 years, and after years of giving she's finally getting the opportunity to receive.

Toya has raised seven of her own children in her home, but has done foster care for 27 years, which translates into more than 50 children who have stayed with her over the years. Toya and her family’s goal was to give children wonderful memories and experiences while they were waiting for their families to find them.

“[Foster Care] is needed. We talk about how we can help our community and help our children and at the time I felt that was one thing that the Lord was telling me to do is to help those children and help them experience what a real home life is like…it was just the best experience, I think, for myself and my biological children and of course my wonderful adopted children.”

Toya says she found her own  home through both the blessings of God and her realtor who is now her dear friend. She wanted a place to be able to support her children and give her the ability to go wherever she need to in her life.

She could never part with her home because she loves the atmosphere. “I have the neatest neighbors right in back of me and the side of me, and they are just wonderful.” Toya also loves the wildlife that surrounds her home, from deer making her backyard their home and having children there, to raccoons and other animals.

This drive to stay in her home brought Toya to Habitat's A Brush with Kindness (ABWK) program. Toya submitted an application, hoping to get a good chunk of her to-do list (such as deck and trim repair, fence installation, brush clearing, etc.) done.

When Toya was called by America, our ABWK Family Support Assistant, she knew what she wanted - but wasn't sure how to accomplish it. After talking over her options and how the process would go, her fears were gone.

"What wasn't my favorite part? I think my favorite part was talking to America and finding out that my things I’ve wanted to do – a lot of them would get done. She was my favorite part.”

“She is just a wonderful, wonderful person. I love the way that she explained things, she’s one of those people that says yeah you can do it yourself, and I love that because I am a do it yourself-er but I don’t always know where to turn to get the right information to do it right. So she was a really good source for that.”

Toya really enjoyed the spirit of A Brush With Kindness and how the crews that came out really believed in the power of the mission to help families in our communities. Having her time in ABWK filled with people and businesses that truly cared about both the community and the people in it was another thing Toya was overjoyed to experience.

Helping people is Toya’s business, and it was a pleasure to give back to her as she has given to so many people.

Discover our home repair program

Christy Ohlrogge

Christy Ohlrogge

Christy Ohlrogge joins us as an AmeriCorps Service Member looking to step into new opportunities to make a difference as a communicator for change. Having lived in the Twin Cities her entire life, she plans to use her degree in Communication Studies from the University of Minnesota to help others and advocate for change to improve quality of life in Minnesota. She loves cats, food, photography, and watches a plethora of shows on TV (including anime).

Topics: A Brush With Kindness, Family Spotlight, Age in Place, 2018