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

The McDonald family

Creating a home, making a community

Born and raised in the Twin Cities, Donjia McDonald is a friendly, busy and proud mother of three. She works as an overnight counselor at a group home—a position she secured after losing her banking job in the recession.

“Once you’ve experienced a layoff, you just need to go where you’re needed,” McDonald said. With past work experience in the human services field, she is thankful to have her current job.

McDonald is also thankful that her mother made room for her and her children in her home in Minneapolis, but she says the situation is far from ideal. Her new Habitat home will be less crowded and more stable, and will allow her to feel independent. As for her two oldest children, “They were so excited when they found out we got the house. They couldn’t believe they’ll each get their own room, their own space.”

Her oldest daughter, Deonna, a sophomore in high school, excels at math and science. She has started to look at colleges, especially ones with good engineering programs. McDonald’s son, Deonay, loves to build things out of whatever materials are at hand. It wouldn’t surprise his mother if he became an architect.

McDonald believes it is important to lead by example. In her new neighborhood, she plans to serve on her block committee, and possibly join the Peace Foundation. “Once you move in, it’s what you make of it,” she said.