The Rachelle James family -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

The Rachelle James family


Rachelle James and her children, Harold Lloyd, 12, and Raven Calley, 17, will soon have a new Habitat house on Clay Street in Annapolis, Maryland—the same street James grew up on and where her mother, grandmother and great-grandparents lived.


A family that rocks

Rachelle James is rich in family, with deep roots in Annapolis and the Clay Street neighborhood where her new Habitat for Humanity house will be.

James estimates that she has more than 200 relatives in and around the city. Each week, her mom has a Sunday dinner and does the cooking for a full house. James herself may host a potluck cookout on the weekend for friends and family.

In her apartment, James displays family photos and mementos, including a governor’s citation that her great-great-grandfather, Phillip Hall Sr., received for his community work. He was 95 when he died in 2005.

“He was my rock,” she says, using a favorite phrase for those she holds in high esteem, as in: “Jimmy Carter! What a rock!”

James, 40, has been a surgical scheduler for an Annapolis ob-gyn practice for 10 years. She grew up on Clay Street, where her mom, grandmother and great-grandparents lived.

She has helped raise children for a sister and friends as well as her own because “It's a gift from God to take care of anybody I can take care. It’s a gift from God, but sometimes I don’t know where the meals come from,” she said, laughing.

The children include her own—Harold Lloyd, 12, and Raven Cully, 17—and Ja-Vaughn Adams, 22; Jaden Fisher, 5, and Dominique Fisher, 26. Raven hopes to be a registered nurse because “they help people.”

James prayed about applying for a Habitat house.

“You have to be ready. You take a step and then another. And then I took a leap of faith,” she said.

She is approved for a Habitat house and has completed her sweat equity.

After welcoming children and family for years to whatever place she was renting, James said that she will finally have “a place to call my own.”