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~A Home for the Holidays~

December 2015

When Sergio and Xenia Calderon came to the United States from El Salvador almost twenty years ago, they came looking a better life. They wanted a safe place to grow a future and raise a family. Sergio and Xenia have worked hard, gained citizenship and Sergio found employment as a contractor. They quickly out grew their small one bedroom apartment, but never thought it was possible to have anything more on their stable but small income. Their dream for their family was to one day be able to give their children a decent place to live that could also provide security and privacy that only a home with bedrooms for each child could provide. “Our dream was to have a house that our four children could be proud of and show them that their parents worked hard to provide them with a better life,” Sergio explains.

After seeing Houston Habitat for Humanity on Channel 45, they knew they had to take a chance for their children and for their future. The Calderon family dedicated any free time they had to complete their 300 sweat equity hours and built on their future home, alongside the Pope Francis House volunteers, every Saturday. When asked what their favorite part about building their home was, Sergio and Xenia looked at each other and exclaimed, “Everything!” Xenia and Sergio continued, “To put even one nail in our family’s future home was such a blessing. We always wanted a house of our own but never imagined having the opportunity to own a brand new home. Houston Habitat gave us that opportunity.” Houston Habitat and all of our dedicated Pope Francis House volunteers and supporters will welcome the Calderon family into their new Habitat home at the Pope Francis House Dedication on Saturday, December 19, 2015.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. — Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)



~Traditions~ We speak of traditions and how these customs or beliefs are passed on from generation to generation, and how it shapes you. During the holiday season, I bet you and your family have some time-honored traditions. For me, I like driving around and looking at Christmas lights in neighborhoods. I look forward to going to mass on Christmas Eve. I enjoy the tradition of cooking Christmas dinner for my family.

I also think about our new homeowners making lasting traditions of their own, and how they are able to have families over to their homes for the holiday; and how the children are sleeping in their own beds and not sharing their space in an overcrowded place. The holiday season lends itself to reflection, too. I think about what was good this past year and what I hope for in the coming year.

I think about my staff that gives their own gifts and talents in unsung ways – Corry picking up trach cans for a senior homeowner, Elizabeth making a person’s day by making it easier to come and volunteer, Simone teaching partner families about sweat equity.

It’s no secret that we are living in trying times. My hope is that we look more toward the light than back into the darkness. That we strive to be better, and that peace stays in our vocabulary. I am thankful for 2015; we are building our 1000th home, we had a great affordable symposium, and we were visited by Clive Rainey – a lifetime Habitat for Humanity International advocate – giving us lessons and telling us stories of how it all started. We remain a humble and grateful organization, and continue to serve hard working families that want that same as anybody – a decent place to live.

From our Habitat to yours; we wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!

I think about our partner families preparing their financial lives in the hopes of getting into their new home in 2016. I think about the many people we still need to help. Those that ask to have their house repaired but we don’t have the funds to help them.


Allison Hay Executive Director


~The Gold Wrapping Paper~ Sometimes the most precious things are not things. They are gifts from the heart. Here is a little Christmas story we hope you will enjoy:

Once upon a time, there was a man who worked very hard just to keep food on the table for his family. This particular year a few days before Christmas, he punished his little five-year-old daughter after learning that she had used up the family's only roll of expensive gold wrapping paper. As money was tight, he became even more upset when on Christmas Eve he saw that the child had used all of the expensive gold paper to decorate one shoebox she had put under the Christmas tree. He also was concerned about where she had gotten money to buy what was in the shoebox.

Nevertheless, the next morning the little girl, filled with excitement, brought the gift box to her father and said, "This is for you, Daddy!" As he opened the box, the father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, now regretting how he had punished her.

But when he opened the shoebox, he found it was empty and again his anger flared. "Don't you know, young lady," he said harshly, "when you give someone a present, there's supposed to be something inside the package!" The little girl looked up at him with sad tears rolling from her eyes and whispered: "Daddy, it's not empty. I blew kisses into it until it was all full." The father was crushed. He fell on his knees and put his arms around his precious little girl. He begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary anger.

It is told that the father kept this little gold box by his bed for all the years of his life. Whenever he was discouraged or faced difficult problems, he would open the box, take out an imaginary kiss, and remember the love of this beautiful child who had put it there. In a very real sense, each of us has been given an invisible golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, family, friends and God. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold. Author Unknown

PHOTO S OURCE: http://myfanc orating-ideas/



~Land Advisors Support Houston Habitat at Inaugural Event ~

Land Advisors Organization hosted their inaugural Houston Land and Housing Forecast event on October 14th at the Norris Conference Center in CityCentre. The event provided education on current trends in the real estate industry, as well as networking opportunities. As the Land Advisors Organization know how imperative affordable housing is to the Houston community, they graciously donated all the net proceeds from the ticket sales of this event to Houston Habitat for Humanity. Houston Habitat is thankful for Land Advisors Organization partnership and their support to help us to continue to move our mission forward!

~Choose Houston Habitat as Your Favorite Charity~ Chevron has partnered with the Houston Marathon Foundation to recognize the success of Run for a Reason program and recognize the vital funds it has helped raise to better the Houston community. Through this partnership, Chevron is sponsoring the Run for a Reason ‪Favorite Charity‪ contest. The nonprofit that receives the most votes from December 1, 2015 through January 23, 2016 will be awarded a $50,000 grant!

Please vote for Houston Habitat to help us move our mission forward & build more affordable homes for Houston families! Please share this exciting news with your friends and family. You don’t have to live here in Houston to make a difference!

PHOTO S OURCE: http://www.celebrating-c k-christmas-decorations.shtml/



~Welcome Home~

The McGee Family

The Taung Family

The Johnson Family

The Edmonson Family

The Collins Family

Houston Habitat was excited to dedicate five hard-working Partner Families the past few weeks! We are in awe of these families’ dedication to fulfilling the dream of homeownership.

~Mortgage Payoffs~

Congratulations to Ms. Tyler and Ms. DeWalt (pictured left to right) on paying off the mortgage of their Habitat home!

12/11/2015 12/11/2015

PHOTO S OURCE: http://brookeelliott.c om/christmas-dec orations-ideas-tomake.html

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~’Tis the Season for DIY~ Holiday Kissing Ball The Christmas season is a time to celebrate with friends and family and create lasting memories. Get ready for your upcoming holiday parties and events with this great do it yourself project that will make your home just a little bit more festive!

PHOTO SOURCE: Good House keeping

1. Take small Styrofoam or rubber ball and wrap in a holiday themed fabric of your choose 2. Tie the end with a rubber band 3. Wrap rubber band in ribbon and tie off in a bow 4. Add festive sprigs of holly 5. Hang kissing ball on any interior door. It also makes a beautiful ornament for your tree!

Find the materials you need for this project and much more at the Houston Habitat ReStore! 12/11/2015


~Merry Christmas~

Houston Habitat wishes you a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Brick and Mortar Contributors: Denise Bates, Communications Director Melissa Fox, Communications & Events Coordinator

3750 N. McCarty St. Houston, TX 77029

Houston Habitat for Humanity, with thousands of sponsors and volunteers, has built over 950 homes for hard-working, low-income Houstonians. Habitat Partner Families contribute 300 hours of “sweat equity” and complete training on home ownership to purc hase homes at cost with zero-interest mortgages. For more information about Houston Habitat for Humanity, and the Houston Habitat ReS tore – a nonprofit home improvement store and donation center open to the public , go to, or c all 713-6719993. Houston Habitat for Humanity is a tax-exempt 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization. Your gift is tax-deduc tible as allowed by law.



The Brick and Mortar 2015 12 December  

Houston Habitat for Humanity Brick and Mortar Newsletter December Issue

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