Lisa Griffin -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Lisa Griffin

Moving home again

Lisa Griffin grew up in East Baltimore, “just a stone’s throw from Johns Hopkins.”

When she was young, Jefferson Street, where the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project is building in Baltimore, was divided.

“Even though it was one neighborhood, things were very different from one end to the other. ‘Up the hill’ was the quiet part of the neighborhood where the houses were nicer. ‘Down the hill’ was pretty tough,” Griffin explained. “Now, where Habitat is building, things are much better. Things are getting cleaned up. They are really trying.”

Griffin raised three children in East Baltimore neighborhoods. Her youngest daughter, Jazzmine Monroe, is studying early childhood education at the Community College of Baltimore City and will live with her mother in their new Habitat home in Griffin’s childhood neighborhood on Jefferson Street. But for now, Jazzmine stays mostly with her older sister, who graduated from school as a licensed practical nurse.

Tragedy struck Griffin’s family two years ago. Her son had moved to South Carolina to get away from negative influences in the community. While he was home visiting his family, he was killed. “I still deal with the pain every day,” Griffin said. “But it’s getting better.”

Griffin, a hostess at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, is also working on her nursing assistant certification with the hospital’s help. She learned about Habitat from a co-worker at the hospital.

“I wanted to be a homeowner, and I was ready to do everything they asked me to,” she said. “I began working overtime so that I could fix my credit. I am ready to own my own home.”

Griffin also works at Habitat’s ReStore as much as she can to complete her “sweat-equity” hours.

The expectation of her own place is sweet: “I can’t wait to decorate my own home. It’s a dream of mine.”