It’s a Wonderful Life - Peace and Joy from Durham Habitat!


It’s a Wonderful Life - Peace and Joy from Durham Habitat!

By Blake Strayhorn

If your family is like mine, you’ll watch a few classic Christmas movies this Holiday Season.  Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life are among my favorites.  But truth be told, I feel so fortunate to see the miracles of the season in real life.  As my new friend, El, said on Friday night, the kinds of things that usually only happen in movies.

So here’s to real life miracles, and to the partnerships that make them happen! With deep gratitude for your partnership on this special day, the Durham Habitat community sends best wishes for peace and joy, and for all the blessings of the Holiday Season.   

And, we send a hearty thank you! Through strong community partners like you, Durham Habitat will build and sell 26 homes this year, and we will repair homes for 50 low-income home-owners. Our partnership means many more Durham youth will grow up with a warm, safe place to call home.

Partnerships consist of churches and synagogues and mosques, corporations and clubs, associations and affiliations, families and friends.  All told, more than 7,000 volunteers per year give of their time, treasure and talent to make Durham Habitat thrive.  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

It’s amazing what our community can accomplish when we come together to address a common problem. And it’s amazing how many good, generous people there are in Durham.  In this divided world in which we live, the Habitat community and its partnerships give me great hope. I believe with good reason: take a look at this past Saturday, a typical day in the Habitat community.

9:30am. We started the day with the joyful and inspirational Tree of Bikes distribution. The Tree of Bikes is a collaborative partnership between alumni of the McDougald, Cornwallis, and Hoover Road public housing communities led by Stevon Green, American Tobacco Campus, Duke University Hospital, Bethel Family Worship Center, and Durham Habitat.  This group of partners collected and distributed more than 250 bikes to youth growing up in these public housing neighborhoods. Joy!

11:30am. Next, Habitat celebrated the completion of Tiajuana Holland’s Habitat home on Owen Street in East Durham.  Tiajuana is working hard to build and buy her Habitat home for her 5 children.  About 40 family and friends gathered in her new kitchen to dedicate and bless her home. Tears flowed as the group shared blessings. Joy!

12:15 pm.  We moved a few blocks to Alma Street, where we dedicated Ashley and Jahlil Jones’ new Habitat home, built in partnership with BCBSNC and Durham United, a group of Durham City and Durham County employees.  More tears. More joy!

1:30pm. A small group gathered on Long Street to plan a build which will kick off in January. Atif and Lubna Hasan and their five children will build their Habitat home in partnership with Rob and Elizabeth Everett and their family and friends. The Hasans are Muslim and the Everetts are Christian.  We began our conversation by sharing about our different faiths and customs.  We celebrated our differences and recognized how much we have in common.  Joy!

Back to my friend, El.  On Friday evening, a group of about 40 Habitat friends met up at Ponysaurus to go caroling in Golden Belt, a neighborhood in which 11 Habitat families own their homes. I met El at Spectre Art Studio in Golden Belt, who said “Who are you, and what is this?  I’ve only seen caroling in the movies.  I didn’t know it really happened. It’s a beautiful thing.” 

I feel that way with Durham Habitat. It is a beautiful thing, the kind of thing that happens in movies. And through partners like you, we make it happen in Durham.

On this special day, here’s to the beautiful things we can accomplish when we come together as a community. Join us in 2017!  Visit  Durham Habitat wishes you peace and joy on this day, and on all days. 

Habitat Success Stories

Lal is a Burmese refugee who came to Durham after stops in India and Thailand. Lal partnered with Habitat and the Durham Literacy Center to renovate a historic home in East Durham. “There is no more fear,” Lal said. “We won’t have to move again because the home belongs to us.”