'Everybody benefits, nobody loses'
Jasper Keys understands the way Habitat works: "It's kind of like 'tag'—you help me, and then I help someone, and then they help someone…. People working together, that's the whole thing. Everybody benefits, nobody loses."
Jasper was happy to find someone willing to help. A single father, Jasper works hard to support his 12-year-old son Jasper Joel Jr.—J.J. It has been hard to meet all of J.J.'s needs and also keep up his rental house, which is more than 100 years old. Heating bills in the winter averaged almost $400 per month. When the old plumbing developed a leak recently, Jasper faced a $1,200 water bill. "Money was flying out the window," Jasper says.
Working with Habitat is like "a breath of fresh air," Jasper says. "This is the first real break I've ever gotten. It's showing my son—you may go through stuff, but if you keep trying, eventually people will help you."
Jasper is most excited about being able to save more money for J.J.'s education after they move into their Habitat house in Grand Rapids, Mich. A three-sport athlete and a musician who plays both piano and drums, J.J. has potential to go far, and his father wants to encourage and support him.
"If you feel like you have a need and you've tried, and if you feel like you haven't gotten help—keep your hopes up and keep going," Jasper urges. "Sooner or later you will get help."