Jean White moved to South Hampton Roads in 1994 because, as she likes to say, “the water drew me here.” At the time, the mother of two and licensed practical nurse (LPN) also needed something more than proximity to the coast: stability for her family.
Thanks to Habitat for Humanity of South Hampton Roads, Jean found both.
After renting for a couple of years in the Norview section of Norfolk, Jean learned of Habitat for Humanity from a sister who lived in a Habitat home in Pennsylvania. With young children at home (a seven-year-old son and three-year-old daughter), she began the application process. After Jean attended the Habitat homebuying classes and put in the “sweat equity” by helping to build other Habitat homes, the dream of homeownership became a reality.
For the past 20 years, she has loved her Habitat home in the Ocean View community. “My home has given us roots and a place to call our own,” Jean said. “Habitat for Humanity of South Hampton Roads has allowed our family to grow and thrive all these years.”
While Jean talks about her Habitat experience, she beams as she watches her son, Darrayl, play with his three-year-old daughter, Dionna. Darrayl is now a fourth-grade teacher at Cedar Road Elementary in Chesapeake. In the other corner of the room, Jean’s daughter, Tashonna, giggles with Dionna. Tashonna is a daycare teacher and loves to see her niece.
It’s a picture of a family who’s happy, secure and grateful for the life afforded to them because of Habitat for Humanity. Jean has also continued to work, and she is now a home health LPN for medically fragile children.
Darrayl says he sees the “Habitat” impact every single day.
“Habitat for Humanity planted a seed and allowed our family to blossom,” he said. “And now look at my own career. I teach children and plant seeds in young minds. It’s all possible because of Habitat.”
As the family relaxes on the front porch, Jean can look back on her decision to move to Hampton Roads and breathe easy. “I’m thankful to Habitat for Humanity of South Hampton Roads,” she said. “The organization has impacted our lives in so many ways and given us the security we needed.”
And wouldn’t you know it — a perfect view of the ocean is only a few blocks away.