Family Looks Forward to Their New Life at Church and Laval
When Carlos Hernandez and Ana Flores receive the keys to their new home, their lives will change forever. They are a family with two young children and they long to be able to see them play and grow is a safe environment; but, right now, Carlos and Ana are afraid to let their two young girls, ages three and five, out of the house because their neighborhood is unsafe. They long for a time to see their family live in a neighborhood without fear.
Both Ana and Carlos were born in Michoacán, Mexico but came to the United States to create a better life for their family. That better life, they feel, will take a second leap forward when they move into their new three bedroom, two bath home at Hope Village at Church and Laval Avenues. Ana feels they will have a new level of peace and tranquility, more room, their own back yard where their children can play, and an opportunity for Ana to beautify their new home by planting flowers.
Having a Habitat home is inspiring both parents to search for better jobs so they can meet their financial needs and improve their daughters’ futures. Ana is looking forward to learning how to hang dry wall and Carlos is looking forward to learning roofing and plumbing so that they can keep their home in good shape.
“I want our children to have a better future, a safer place to live, and more possibilities open to them as they grow,” said Ana. Those dreams will be realized as they receive the important “hand up” that Habitat is helping to provide for them as a partner family, thereby putting them on a course of hope and success for all of them in the future.
Dedicated Family Selection Member: Raul Zambrano
Raul joined the Family Selection team in 2010 and since that time has been one of its most active and dedicated members. Raul, who has along history of volunteering, began his work with Habitat as a Saturday site construction volunteer. He had worked behind a desk for the IRS for 31 years and wanted to get involved in some outdoor activity where he could also be helping others. Habitat was the perfect fit.
“It’s amazing that Habitat and its partner families can work together to construct a decent, affordable home when the families have no prior construction experience,” he said.
After he retired, he began serving on the Family Selection team. Raul can always be counted on to be available to interview families and his ability to speak Spanish is extremely helpful. His compassion for the people he helps and his ability to assess situations make him a valued member of the Family Selection team. Libby Mirhadi, Chair of Family Selection, said, “I can’t imagine Family Selection without Raul. He is one of our most reliable team members and brings to the table both wisdom and an incredible ability to make tough decisions.”
Raul has legal guardianship of his youngest grandchild, who is nine. In his leisure time, Raul loves to ride his motorcycle; his longest trip has been to Reno crossing the Tioga Pass in the Sierras.
ReStore Outstanding Volunteer: Monica Contreras
One of the reasons ReStore is so popular is their staff of volunteers, and Monica Contreras is one of those volunteers. Monica received the “Making a Difference” award as well as the “Above and Beyond the Call of Duty” award for the month of December. She is a very upbeat person, eager to work, and eager to please.
Monica began volunteering in October of 2014 and hopes to continue at ReStore for a long time. Although she is currently looking for work, she says she plans on continuing volunteering even after she gets a permanent job. “I enjoy working at ReStore with the customers, especially the regulars, as well as the staff,” she said.
A Fresno native, Monica graduated from Fresno High and studied at Fresno City College. She is a single mom of two sons aged 15 and 10 and is extremely enthusiastic about furthering her education this year in the field of special needs children. If she continues to carry that positive attitude throughout her educational journey, she will surely be a success.