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

The Smith family


Geri Smith stands on the foundation of her new Habitat for Humanity home, which will be within walking distance of a school and in a neighborhood with many playmates for her three children.

©Habitat for Humanity International/Ezra Millstein


The value of a home

Geri Smith can appreciate Habitat for Humanity’s holistic approach to providing decent, affordable housing. She works in Wells Fargo’s home mortgage department.

“At work, I try to help people save their homes,” she said. “I understand it more now, especially as I’m buying my own home. I enjoying listening to people and trying to offer them suggestions that can help them.”

Smith is ready to leave the home where she has lived since before her divorce.

“We want something that doesn’t belong to someone else,” Smith said. “I want to start a new environment for my children. There are old memories in the old house. This is a chance for a new beginning and a chance to start new memories here.”

Smith’s oldest daughter, Chelsie, is 17. She’s interested in forensic science and has already taken some college-level courses in high school. She also plays basketball and softball. Destinee, 13, and Austin, 12, are also active in sports. “They all keep me busy driving them from sport to sport,” Smith said.

A school within walking distance and a neighborhood with lots of other children are just two things Smith has noticed while volunteering in Wylam Oaks on other Habitat houses. Of course, she also has learned some building skills. She joined in a Women Build earlier in the summer and participated in Women Build clinics at a local Lowe’s.

She jokes that she just might be a construction leader by the time the Carter Work Project begins. “If I keep doing so many builds, I’m going to have to start my own business!”