“You’re all my friends now!” Sharon proclaimed at the kick-off of her adorable two bedroom home. You could feel the joy radiating off of her as the sponsors Neighbors for Habitat, family and friends joined together to celebrate the beginning of construction of her new home.
“All the volunteers that work here are my friends now. I’m just so grateful for everyone who has taken time out of their busy life to help me.” The crowd chuckled and fell a little more in love with this wonderful woman.
It was an overwhelming moment for Sharon the morning of the kick-off, thinking about all that she has overcome to get to this point. Considering her long journey to reach this goal, the moment was a lot to take in.
Many years ago Sharon had to leave her job due to an illness. Her illness escalated and eventually she entered an inpatient mental health treatment where she was paired with a community-based mental health agency. She felt like she had hit rock bottom.
“I had to learn to take care of myself again. It has been a really long and hard journey. There is a lot of stigma surrounding mental illness and I had to overcome that stigma. It took a long time to understand that mental illness is a disease; it is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It is a treatable illness just like hypertension and diabetes. With this understanding, I began to focus on rebuilding my life, advocating for myself, and educating others. I started to believe in myself again! I am excited about my future and know that I can reach my goals.”
Sharon is a goal driven woman. She enrolled at Durham Tech to earn her Associate in General Education when she applied for the Habitat program. Because she was working on her degree at the same time, it took longer to finish her sweat equity hours needed to start building her home. In the summer of 2018, she graduated with her degree. “It was a dream come true,” shared Sharon. Next steps? She would like to work in the mental health field to educate the public about the truths of mental illness. In addition, Sharon will sign the mortgage papers on her new home.
“Owning a home is an accomplishment that I wasn’t sure I would reach. I feel like I am part of a larger community. The support of family, Habitat, my sponsors and friends helped me reach this goal and I am very excited and thankful for everyone who has helped me on this journey.”
We are proud to partner with Sharon, and can’t wait to see the future that is built in this home. We invite you to join a Durham Habitat partnership. Click here to volunteer or donate! Click HERE to follow the progress on Sharon's new home!