2007: Room to grow in San Pedro

In 2007, the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project returned to Southern California to build in South Central Los Angeles and San Pedro. Volunteers and partner families joined the Carters to construct 30 houses and refurbish dozens of others.

One of those San Pedro homes belongs to Aaron Atlas and Mar’Lyn Bland, who were thrilled to be moving out of the house they and their six children had been sharing with five other people. “The moment I found out that I would be the recipient of a Habitat home was surreal! At that moment, all of the years of wanting and needing a home for my family were lifted off of my shoulders,” Bland says.

“Being part of the CWP was like being a superstar! I was amazed at the willingness and generosity of the volunteers,” she says. “They were so excited to work on my home. The volunteers treated my family with such kindness. I remember the energy at the site. Everyone was cheerfully busy. There was always so much going on, but it was never stressed. It was exciting!”

In the years since, the Atlas-Bland family has welcomed four more children into their beautiful home. “Having my own home has changed the lives of me and my family. Our quality of life has improved drastically,” Bland says. “It’s a blessing to create our memories in our home that was built with our hands.”


Reader Submission: “I’ve found my calling!”

In 2007, my life was changed. I was working for a major financial institution in Sacramento navigating through life like most of us, raising a family, working for a great company who encouraged and supported employee volunteer efforts.

I certainly wasn’t new to Habitat. I had volunteered through a former employer in Silicon Valley, California, who also encouraged their employees to “pay it forward.”

But then I was introduced to the Carter Work Project, where my life was forever changed. It was a completely different experience and one that has ultimately led me to becoming a full time staff member at Sacramento Habitat for Humanity as a fund development officer. I’ve found my calling!

President and Mrs. Carter, we cannot thank you enough for your steadfast commitment and dedication building hope and homes. I look forward to seeing you in Oakland/San Jose October 2013.

Cynthia Anderson