The Unsung #SHEroes of Women Build
All #WomenBuildMonth long, we asked supporters all around San Gabriel Valley to share stories of their unsung #SHEroes. These women inspire them and represent the strength and resilience inside every woman. This blog is a celebration of each and every one of these #SHEroes, and the many women out there like them.
“My mother raised my siblings and me (5 total), by herself. She brought all five of us and 2 more cousins to the United States illegally. My mom cleaned other people’s homes to pay rent, put us through school, and put food on our table. In 1996, my mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor, she was suffering from seizures, she had surgery, recuperated, and continues to thrive. My mother is my inspiration because no matter what life throws at her, she finds the will and strength in her to get through the struggle. My mother has taught me to keep pushing forward no matter what life deals you.”
“Elisabeth (right) works tirelessly, six days a week, to provide opportunities and training to young adults on the autism spectrum in film production/post production, video game design, visual effects, and animation. She is a program supervisor with Actors for Autism. She always shies away from thanks, because in her mind these opportunities and students are worth fighting for and committing time to. THEN, in what little free time she has, she is pursuing a career as an actress. I’m inspired by her commitment and dedication to her craft running so deeply, and she keeps finding more success as she constantly challenges herself to grow her career.
She is welcoming to literally anyone and everyone. She makes people feel at home that might otherwise be alienated. She’s the type of person who would give a homeless person $10 if they ask for change. She tithes 10% of her income to an under-resourced orphanage in Mexico. Additionally, for the orphanage, she has organized clothing and diaper drives, to take down to the orphanage herself. She donates time and money to Mercy for Animals, to help stop animal cruelty. She has volunteered for Camp Del Corazon to help children with heart disease. She basically donates her time and money to more amazing companies and non-profits than I can even think of.”
“Flora is amazing beyond measure! Despite her extremely busy schedule—working more than a handful of jobs, while managing her own freelance businesses, as well as being a full-time bunny mom (just to name a few), she still makes time for her friends and family. There is a saying that goes: “Nobody is ‘too busy’. Rather, they make time for the people they care about.” Flora is the perfect example of this saying because she is always there for everyone, regardless of how hectic her life may be. She timelessly puts others before herself. She never fails to make sure that every single person is well taken care of. Her compassion for helping others is something truly admirable. Anyone who crossed paths with Flora would agree how much brighter their life has gotten because of her words of wisdom and charismatic personality. Even with how brilliant she already is, she eagerly continues to have the desire to learn new things. With that, she has been a great life mentor for myself and many others—all while staying true to herself and being humble.”
“My mother (right) is a selfless and strong woman. Her love for her children and family is incredible. She is a mother to my special needs brother Sebastian Mujica and is constantly looking out for his best interest, fighting for his rights and fair treatment and wants the best for her family.”
“My mom (left) made the most important decision in her life when she decided to become a single mother. Growing up, she made it possible for my brother and I to focuses on our studies, participate in extracurricular activities, while still packing all homemade lunches and giving us a safe place to call home. Raising two kids in a single-parent household was not always easy for her, but she never let anything get in the way of being the best mom, the best example, and the best SHEro she could be. My mom gave, and still continues to give, my brother and I all that she can, even if it means having fewer things for herself. Selfless, hard-working, and strong are the words that come to my mind when I think about my mom. My brother and I are educated, first-generation, Chinese-Americans who are products of a single-mom household. We are living proof that single-moms are strong.”
“Every since I was young, I always wanted to be exactly like my mom (left). Her energy is like nothing else – she is strong, and opinionated, and uses her voice to consistently speak out against injustice and for what she believes in. She is also kind, and thoughtful, and goes out of her way to make everyone feel welcome and included. The joy that she brings into the world is unparalleled and infinite, and I cannot be more thankful to have a woman like her in the world!”
“My mother, Veronica, is most definitely my #SHEro. Throughout her life, she has been dealt a difficult card, from being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, to breast cancer twice, and so much more, she has kept fighting for her children. Even throughout those difficulties, she always instilled in us the wisdom we needed to succeed. Today, she’s a grandmother, and part of a strong bloodline of “Guerreras” – or female warriors. I could not be prouder of her, the women before her, like my grandmother Josefina, and the women after her, including my sister Vanessa, and nieces, Josefine and Amelia. Each have left and will leave a path for future generations of women to take, and surpass – as they should.”
How Housing Affects Educational Outcomes
Academic Success Begins At Home
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a supportive and stable home can attribute to the educational success of children. When families spend less on housing, they can invest in themselves. This includes investing in higher education. Long-term career growth, social mobility and finances can help lift the entire family into prosperity.
No matter one’s age, having a decent place to call home – a place to study and think – a place to feel secure – can lead to a more successful future.
Low Quality and Unaffordable Housing Affects Children and Adults
Frequent or unplanned moves because of unsafe situations, rising housing costs, or other difficulties negatively impact school performance. In some cases, families are forced to move to undesirable areas with low-performing schools. These situations create cycles of instability that easily permeate into adulthood.
For children, moves can interfere with the development of personal relationships, resulting in the lack of a support system in school. As friends are vital to school-age children’s healthy development, children who lack friends can suffer from emotional and mental difficulties. Establishing roots in the community allows children to develop friendships, ultimately increasing their empathy and compassion.
Parents paying too high a percentage of their income for housing often find themselves making tough choices. The decision between making rent, paying for education, or having safe transportation can cause stress, depression, and hopelessness. With affordable housing, adults spend less time worrying about finances and more time invested in their children’s education as well as their own.
In a 2016 report “Impacts of Habitat for Humanity Homeownership,” researchers from the Wilder Foundation determined that almost two-thirds of Habitat homeowners in Minnesota say they feel more confident about their ability to fund their kids’ college education. Having a stable place to call home provides the entire family with a secure environment to grow and excel in life.
A Hardworking Family Gets the Space They Need to Thrive
Azat and her children (Kristina pictured) once lived in an overcrowded apartment sleeping cramped on one couch. After moving into their Habitat home in Glendale, Kristina and Arthur now have the rest and personal space they need to focus on school.
“Everybody is happy, and I feel more secure. The kids feel free-er to focus and learn. Their grades have improved!”
Today, the family is thriving in their safe and stable home. Thanks to the extra space, they can stay in touch with their Armenian roots – hosting family members and sharing dishes with their community of friends. This is all thanks to San Gabriel Valley Habitat supporters and donors, just like you!
How You Can Help
- Advocate for affordable housing with SGV Habitat and Habitat for Humanity International
- Support the #CostOfHome Campaign
- Strengthen enforcement of fair housing laws, including the Fair Housing Act and other state and local regulations prohibiting racial discrimination in housing markets
- Donate to show your support to fix the housing crisis in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond
- Sign up for SGV Habitat’s e-newsletters by scrolling to the bottom of sgvhabitat.org
- Share this article and educate others on the importance of affordable housing