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Habitat For Humanity Sarasota’s Impact On One Family

A Dream Becomes Reality Through Habitat For Humanity Sarasota

Karla Arroglia’s Story

By Lalaena Gonzalez-Figueroa

Photography by Giovanni Lunardi

habitat-for-humanity-sarasota-volunteers

For Karla Arroglia, purchasing a home through Habitat for Humanity has been an investment whose yield extends far beyond the value of real estate. The hard-working mother of two, who invested over a year in the process of acquiring a property, notes that her home has given her family roots within the community, and allowed her children to flourish.

A Certified Nursing Assistant whose work revolves around caring for others, Karla knew she was neglecting her own children’s needs for a safe and secure home. Circumstances weren’t easy; after living with family members in cramped quarters, she moved her kids into a series of inadequate rentals in her efforts to find a place that they could call their own. Her young son, a late crawler, didn’t have ample room to practice walking in their tiny rented trailer. And the structure’s leaking roof was allowing mold to grow inside, posing significant health risks for the trio. Karla knew she needed to make a better life for her family, but she could not do it alone.

When she first heard about Habitat for Humanity, Karla immediately set her sights on achieving the ultimate goal: buying a home of her own. An optimist with a ready smile and an easy laugh, she acknowledges that the process was a true labor of love. “From the beginning there were people who said it wouldn’t happen,” she recalls. “They said I couldn’t do it.” Undaunted, she never wavered from her vision of becoming a homeowner. “I got into the program and said, ‘You tell me what I have to do and I’ll do it no matter what,’” she remembers. “It took a lot of patience and a lot of work, but it was all worth it.”

She had already been saving, putting away a little with each paycheck in the hopes of one day making the ultimate purchase. And Karla continued to build the nest egg that would become the down payment on her home. But money was only one of many contributions she made. Working nights as a CNA, she attended a series of meetings and seminars designed to educate and inform her on the responsibilities associated with owning a home. She sacrificed sleep in order to put in over 300 hours of “sweat equity,” an integral component of the Habitat for Humanity organization. And she did it all with a tremendous sense of gratitude, not only for the opportunity to own a home, but for the efforts of countless volunteers and support staff who were right there beside her, raising not only a roof, but the hopes of one family so desperately in need of a stepping stone.

It wasn’t easy, but she did it. And when she moved her children into their new home, something amazing happened: they blossomed. Her boy didn’t just walk; he ran. Her girl slept soundly in her own room, secure in the knowledge that she would go to the same school when she woke up the next morning. Secure in the feeling that she was somewhere safe, permanent. Karla, who had by now become well-versed in the details of maintaining a property, had the peace of mind that this house was more than just an address; it was a legacy of love. “I told my kids, ‘This is our land, our dream,’” she explains. “My children will work and take care of their home, even when I am gone.”

Habitat for Humanity Sarasota
www.habitatsrq.org
www.restoresrq.org

Administrative Office
1757 North East Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34234
Renee Snyder, Executive Director
(941) 365.0700

ReStore I
2095 17th Street
Sarasota, FL 34234
(941) 363.0777

ReStore II
4409 Bee Ridge Road
Sarasota, FL 34233
(941) 487.7378

For large item pickup
(941) 363.0777

Copyright © 2011 REAL Magazine
Links to this article are encouraged

Photography used under license from Giovanni Lunardi Photography
Photography Copyright © 2011 Giovanni Lunardi

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