The Freeman family -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

The Freeman family

‘Everybody’s smiling’


Brian and Cherisse Freeman will be homeowners for the first time once their Habitat house is finished. The couple, who have two children—Christen, 3, and Yazmine, 2—have already bonded with one group of young Habitat volunteers .

©Habitat for Humanity International/Ezra Millstein


Brian Freeman remembers well how he met his wife, Cherisse. His cousin was working at Walmart at the time, and Freeman stopped to talk with him during a shopping visit. Cherisse was working there, too, and she caught Freeman’s eye.

“I’m going to get that girl,” he told his cousin, trying to act like he was joking. He didn’t make his move in the store, but Freeman’s cousin remembered what he said. Not too long after that, he surprised Freeman by bringing Cherisse to a family barbecue.

“Oh man, I became very shy!” Freeman said with a laugh. “I had no clue she was going to be there.”

It took time for him to build up the nerve to ask her out, but he eventually did. Today, the married couple has two kids: Christen, 3, and Yazmine, 2. They describe themselves as homebodies who prefer to rent movies and play with their children.

This will be the first home either has owned. “I’m just happy that there’s a group like this that gives people a chance to become homeowners, even if they may not have as much income,” Freeman said.

They have also been impressed with the types of volunteers Habitat attracts. They started their sweat equity at the same time a youth group of about 50 students came from Pennsylvania to volunteer. The family bonded quickly with the youngsters.

“We loved them so much,” Cherisse Freeman said. “They were so willing to help and to just have fun doing it. You don’t meet a lot of people like that all at once.”

What sticks out about a Habitat work site to them? “Everybody’s smiling,” Freeman said. “It just shows you that there’s still a lot of good people out there. You see how cruel the world can be sometimes, but Habitat really makes you realize it’s not all like that.”