An opportunity for a new beginning -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

An opportunity for a new beginning

The Arevalo family: Salvador Arevalo has struggled to repair the crowded, crumbling one-bedroom unit his family of five now shares. But the family’s dreams – along with their sweat equity – are now focused on their own home, with plenty of space for them all.

Salvador and Sara Arevalo almost missed the announcement that they had been selected to build a home during the Jimmy Carter Work Project 2007 in Los Angeles, along with 29 other families.

“We had another engagement,” Salvador said, laughing. “But the affiliate urged us to attend.”

The Arevalos didn’t believe they would ever be able to own a home in Los Angeles because of the high cost of housing. They currently share a one-bedroom fourplex ─ which urgently needs repairs ─ with their three teenage daughters: Katy, 18, who is about to start college; Laria, 14; and Lesly, 13. The oldest and the youngest sleep in bunk beds in the dining area, while Laria sleeps in a storage closet that she has lovingly decorated.

The family found out about Habitat for Humanity from a co-worker of Salvador’s who already owns a Habitat home and has offered to help the Arevalos with their new house however he can.

With the support of friends and the promise of a better future for his family, Salvador is eager to begin the building phase of the Habitat program.

“We’re ready to do our [sweat equity] hours,” he said. “We are grateful to everyone who has made it possible for us to realize our dream of owning a house.”

Salvador, who works in building maintenance, is looking forward to being able to personalize the family’s new home and make improvements as needed.

Sara, who is quiet and reserved, responds quickly when asked what she would tell someone who might be considering partnering with Habitat.

“I would tell them not to miss the opportunity,” she said.