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Oscar Hernandez accepted into Loma Linda Graduate Program A publication of San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity

April 2010

The day had finally arrived. On March 6, 2010 four families, whom I had come to know as friends, were finally handed the keys to their new homes. Everyone was there. Wonderful people from every station of life who selflessly gave of their time, talents and resources to make this dream a reality showed up to celebrate. We came to celebrate the completion of the homes and transformation of a neighborhood. We came to celebrate and affirm the Habitat mission of providing quality affordable housing. But most of all we came to celebrate 21 truly deserving people who now permanently call Monrovia their home. My association with the project began at the groundbreaking. I was asked to represent the Xerox Community Involvement Program since I live in Monrovia. There I met Ann Dougherty, a

board member whose husband I worked with early in my Xerox career. Let me tell you, no one can talk to Ann about Habitat without being compelled to action. But that was just the first of many connections I made that day. Looking at the donor list, there were more than 30 friends from my church that had invested to start the build. The student asked to lead the Pledge of Allegiance was the daughter of dear friends and neighbors. I came in as a spectator and left knowing I had to get involved more deeply. Six months later I became a regular weekend volunteer at the Sherman build which was the highlight of my week. Over the ensuing ten months I came to know each family in a special way as we worked together to fulfill the dream. I met Ray and Sonia Quiroz and learned how much

photo by Randy Schenk

photo by Keith Johnson

sherman homes dedication celebration

photo by Randy Schenk

Oscar was majoring in social work when his back started hurting and was causing him excruciating pain. He was diagnosed with a birth defect , an incomplete vertebrae. Back surgery delayed his education. When he was healed, Oscar went back to school and received a grant for one more year. He had an internship in his last semester for pre-requisite courses in physical therapy. Two dreams have now come true for Oscar’s family — a home of their own and the start of Oscar’s professional career. His mother, through determination, perseverance and resourcefulness, qualified for a Kenwood Habitat home which has an elevator for her disabled son. Fulfillment of Oscar’s personal dream begins this fall with studies at Loma Linda University in the masters/doctoral program for Pediatric Physical Therapy. Oscar’s desire is to work with families whose children have disabilities. He enjoys the family dynamics and wants to help children with their recovery.

photo by Randy Schenk

Oscar Hernandez has a dream to work with underprivileged families who have children with disabilities. He would like to be affiliated with a hospital and run his own clinic. After competing with 300 applicants, he was accepted at Loma Linda University in San Bernardino. Oscar’s journey has been challenging, but it has taught him to be the responsible, compassionate person he is today at age 26. His younger 16-year-old brother who was born with cerebral palsy has taught Oscar to handle responsibility at an early age and to pay attention to details. Being extra

cautious, caring and nurturing have been the lessons learned while taking care of his brother. Oscar Hernandez has been blessed with the tools necessary to make his dream become a reality. Oscar’s mother who has four children kept the family grounded and didn’t hide his brother’s disability. Whenever his brother was hospitalized, Oscar, as a teenager, accompanied his mother to the hospital. He took on adult responsibility, but this didn’t deter him from making good grades. His mom didn’t have to tell him to do his homework. In high school he received the most recognized student award in math. He knew in his senior year that he wanted to go to college, but was apprehensive about leaving his family behind. He was accepted at Cal State University at Long Beach, but he didn’t have a car. For one year his mom drove Oscar five days a week for one hour each way. He stayed at school until 7:00 PM to wait for the traffic to lighten up. He could complete his homework at school with no distractions.

returning to Monrovia meant to them as a family. Between Ray’s quick wit, Sonia’s beautiful spirit and their deep faith in Jesus; I knew we would become friends in a New York minute. I learned much about being a better father and husband from Mario Del Grosso as we pounded nails or stuffed insulation. I marveled at the dedication of Marcos and Daniel Naccarati, two young men who served faithfully in building their family’s new home and the houses of their neighbors. The fact that the three of us are soccer nuts was icing on the cake. I was inspired seeing the entire Nava family taking on any task to help get things done. We may have started off as strangers but through Habitat we became an extended family. Continued on page 3


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Oscar Hernandez


Geneva “Down the Stretch”


SunGreen Systems


President’s Message


Sherman Homes Dedication

Inside: San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity 400 South Irwindale Avenue Azusa, CA 91702


Letter from the President

SunGreen Systems is proud to donate complete Photovoltaic Solar Systems to each of the five new San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity townhomes at the Geneva Build in Glendale. Each homeowner will enjoy lower electric bills while contributing to the health of our planet through use of their SunGreen solar system. While SunGreen Systems is covering the cost of the solar systems in full, SGVHFH is still raising money for the construction of the buildings themselves. You can help. If you are considering PV for your home or business, call SunGreen and present this advertisement. If you purchase a SunGreen solar system, we will donate $1000 in your name to SGVHFH for the Geneva Build project, SGVHFH's first "green" community. 12731 Ramona Blvd, Suite 208 Irwindale, CA 91706 Tel: 626-851-0008 Fax: 626-851-0001 2

Tel: 626-387-6899 Fax: 626-387-6890

Claus Agger-Nielsen, Jan C. Berentsen, Michael T. Davitt, Ann Doughtery, Tom Doud, Geroge Garfield, Donald W. Goodman, photo by Keith Johnson

Jay Harvill, Cynthia Heydt, John Mac Lean, Daric Lee, Deborah A. Loveland, Paul McAnnally-Linz, Judd Reas

Staff Sonja L. Yates Executive Director Damien Allen Construcion & Corporate Sponsorships Sayaka Ota Accountant

Continued from page 1

Amy Borton Volunteer Coordinator

So on March 6th, 2010 we all came together to marvel at what God had done through us all. Lao-tzu said that “a journey of a thousands miles begins with a single step.” For me, the dedication of the four homes on Sherman Avenue in Monrovia marked the completion of one journey and the first step on my long journey with Habitat.

Catalina Velez Office Manager

Brittany Klaassen Youth Programs & Marketing Coordinator

ReStore Bill Anderson Manager Michael Krecker Assistant Manager Ryan Greer Assistant Manager Erik Kristiansen ReStore Associate Eric Bridges ReStore Associate Ricky Brownlee Driver Aaron Henrichs Driver Craig Chew Sales David Hill Sales Michael Schutz Newsletter Editor Linda Magarian Reporter

Paul McAnnally-Linz Director, San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity


Now is your opportunity

400 South Irwindale, Azusa CA 91702

Board of Directors

photo by Randy Schenk

to contribute to the well being of one another, to their neighbors and to their city. We invite you to become part of the SGV Habitat for Humanity community. There are multiple ways for you to participate: • By making a donation (with the enclosed envelope, or donate online at www.; • By making a connection between SGVHabitat and a company that might donate material to help build a house. • By offering your skills and time. Be a builder. Help mail a newsletter. Make a presentation to a civic group (contact Amy Borton, Volunteer Coordinator at 626-3876899 x17 or; • By talking about SGV Habitat for Humanity with your friends and family and encouraging them to participate, too. Come be part of the Habitat community. You’ll be glad you did!

photo by Chris Bertrand

side-by-side with four hard-working families to provide them safe, decent, affordable homes. The highlight of the event was to witness the community that had developed among the four families—the Del Grossos, the Navas, the Quirozes and the Naccaratis. They spoke eloquently of their journey and about those who had guided and supported them along the way. Then they opened the doors of their new homes to the large crowd, invited us in to view where they would soon be living and holding homeowners’ association meetings. The friendships that had formed among the families were evident as the children played together in the common area centered among the homes. Now these families—already part of the larger Monrovia community—have a small community within it where they will continue

photo by Randy Schenk

What makes a community? On a recent Saturday in Monrovia, we were reminded again about what it takes to create one. The skies overhead were threatening, but we felt safe under that tent, just as we knew four deserving families would soon be safe in their new homes. There were masons. plumbers, electricians, carpenters, landscapers and painters—their hands helped build the homes that would soon become the responsibility of new homebuyers. Most of the builders were volunteers; many of them had little or no experience with cement, drywall, paint or plants, but they found a way to learn new skills and to give back to their community by working on this SGV Habitat for Humanity build. There were politicians and pastors, corporate presidents and policemen, firefighters and photographers, who found a new definition for “community” by working

San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity


For every San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity build, enough money must be raised before groundbreaking to ensure that construction can progress continuously through completion of the homes. Geneva’s “magic number” that will begin the transformation from a vacant lot to five new homes built to “green” certification standards is $400,000. Elaine Wilkerson, chair of the Geneva Campaign Committee, reports that we are now almost half way to the transformational groundbreaking event. The SGV Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors has adopted a Strategic Goal to “build continuously

without lags between builds.” Their goal is to touch more and more lives by identifying deserving low-income families in need of decent and safe housing and partnering with these families to build simple, decent homes. Habitat for Humanity’s homes always improve the neighborhoods where they are built. The five new Geneva homes will replace two older, substandard dwellings that were recently razed by City of Glendale to make way for the new Habitat homes. These new homes will be energy efficient and sustainable thanks to corporate donors like SunGreen Systems which is donating and installing solar

panels for all of these homes. Your help is needed to move the Geneva Homes from a vision to an active construction site. Please help by: • Mailing a donation for the Geneva Homes in the envelope provided with this newsletter • Inviting people you know in local “green” industries to get involved by donating sustainable products or professional services that will lead to Green Points • Inviting friends and family to sign up for a Habitour so they can personally see where these new homes will be built. Your contact for more Geneva information is


Habitat Builder Newsletter - April 2010