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JCWP 2004


Persistence Pays Off

Elvia checks to make sure the wall of her house is level on Day One of the 2004 Jimmy Carter Work Project in Puebla.

For Elvia Le´┐Żn Montiel, the Jimmy Carter Work Project is a family affair. Her mother and sister both are building houses in Puebla this week as well!

But Elvia almost didn't get to be part of the project. A single mother, Elvia supports herself and her son Joseph Sebastian, 6, on one salary. Project officials feared she would not be able to make the house payments required on her own. "I cried when I wasn't accepted," says Elvia, "but I didn't lose hope."

Though she was not selected for the project initially, Elvia continued to attend meetings for the partner families and participated in Habitat for Humanity activities. Her dedication impressed everyone; project leaders reevaluated her salary and decided to accept her into the project after all.

Elvia says everything about the project has been fun, but she has most loved working side by side with the volunteers who are helping her complete her house, House #65, sponsored by Whirlpool. "Everyone is very nice," she says with a smile.

When asked what message she would like to give all of the people who are helping her and the other families build this week, she says, "More than a message, I would just like to express gratitude." Elvia says that she simply is happy, excited and thankful for the existence of this project, Jimmy Carter and Habitat for Humanity. Over and over she repeats: "Gracias, gracias, gracias…!"

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