|Jimmy Carter Work Project 2003|
A family affair:
Everyone is pitching in to make room for change
By Shawn Reeves
With seven family members living in less than 1,200 square feet, things can seem pretty cramped. Fortunately, because of Teresa Enyeart’s efforts this weekand those from her family and other volunteersthere soon will be room for change.
Once her Habitat house is finished, Teresa will move herself, her son Jared, 7, and daughter Trisha, 3, into adequate living arrangements where each will no longer have to step over the other to go to bed.
Teresa, 30, has worked full time since she was in high school, but did not earn enough to qualify for a conventional mortgage.
“I tried to get financing through a bank,” she says, “but they said, ‘no way, José,’ not even with a co-signer.”
Teresa and her two children currently live in a two-bedroom house with her mother, stepfather and two sisters. When she heads to bed, she feels around in the dark so as not to wake her daughter, with whom she shares a bed.
The new house will provide much-needed space and privacy, she says, but it will mean a great deal to Teresa’s mother, Pat, as well.
“It will give me a lot of peace of mind to know that my daughter and granddaughters will be able to live in a secure house,” says Pat, “and one she can afford, too. We’ve always been a close family, and we’re all excited about what’s happening here.”
Much of the family is on site to experience the build in person. In addition to her mother, Teresa also is working side by side with her stepfather, Brian Hackett, her father Terry Wade and her brother Michael Wade, who serves in the U.S. Air Force and drove to Valdosta from McGuire AFB in Rightstown, N.J.
“It’s amazing that so many people are willing to give up so much of their time for strangers,” says Michael. “These houses will affect people’s lives forever, for generations to come. …These homes will give them an edge up and help them out of whatever negative situations they were in. This is all bigger than me. It’s bigger than you, bigger than any one person. It’s a future.”
Another brother, Lary Wade, is flying in from Japan after the project to help Teresa move into her new home.