On a snowy day in January, Jackie and her five kids walk into our office and look at the scroll of paper laid flat on the table that will one day be their home. It is a surreal moment. It makes their future house more real than it has ever been up to that point, yet it is still a diminished substitute for the thing itself. Mere lines on a page, it asks a lot of the imagination. Still, it is an incredibly happy moment as they step through their paper front door.
But now, Jackie— a kind-spirited woman who works in Rockford as a CNA— has been busy building her home for six weeks alongside our volunteer crew from First Free Church. What began as marks on a blueprint last winter is starting to materialize into walls and rooms.
A mother of three boys and two girls, Jackie’s six bedroom house will be the largest that Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity has ever built. Incredibly, up to this point, Jackie and her five kids have always lived in one- or two-bedroom rentals, and Jackie is eagerly working towards the day, in her words, that “[her] kids will have the opportunity to figure out who they are in their own space.” They range from two to eighteen years old.
As for Jackie herself, she cannot wait to decorate, plant flowers, and make her home her own. She says she is also looking forward to putting down roots for the first time. “This house will change everything for my family. It will give me and my kids our independence. It’s so comforting to know that we will be living in a safe place. Even just knowing that we won’t have to move again— that it’s something permanent for us— that’s huge!”
Jackie is a woman with a vision. She has had homeownership as a personal goal for some time, and now that day is just around the corner. She knows this house is going to be life-changing, and she says she knows it’s a change that’s going to be good.