Building her own future
Teresa Nichols is learning the joy of homeownership in a way that most people don’t get to—by pounding the nails, laying the shingles and applying the siding herself.
“I raised my own walls,” she says, with a hint of awe that such a thing has become possible.
The home that Teresa will share with her mother and four young children is on the corner of McCord and High Streets, just down the street from the children’s school. It is an improvement for the family because currently all six of them share a small two-bedroom apartment in an area where crime is high. When their house is complete, Teresa's children will be able to play in safety with others in the neighborhood, and they will all benefit from the security that tight social bonds provide.
Just as precious, though, are the many years she will spend in her house, looking back on this week of building.
“I appreciate the house more because I worked on it,” she says.
Teresa's first year of homeownership holds many possibilities. But for now she is looking most forward to moving in and getting her family settled. “My kids are already making plans for their rooms,” she says. “One wants Spiderman, one wants princess…”
One of the most moving aspects of the Jimmy Carter Work Project for Teresa has been the unremitting hard work her home’s volunteer crew has put in so far. She also feels a sense of gratitude for the generosity of the community, including her employer Wolverine Metals, who gave her the time she needed to build.
“There’s not one volunteer that stands out—it’s all of them,” she says of the people who are helping raise her house at lightning speed. “They volunteered their time for this—they actually paid to be here.”