How Habitat changes lives

Jaliya SlaytonWhen a group of college students from the University of Kentucky volunteered with Lexington Habitat earlier this year, one freshman had a slightly different perspective from the rest. 

Jaliya Slaton first stepped onto a Habitat build site when she was 4 years old. The house under construction would be her new home. 

Now 19, Slaton is part of UK’s First Scholars Program, a program designed for students who are the first generation in their families to attend college. As a member of that group, Slaton spent a day preparing two sites for the construction of Habitat homes. “That was fun. I actually got to help this time,” she laughs. 

She also had the chance to meet one of the future homeowners. “It was just kind of like a connection that we had,” Slaton says. “It was good to talk to someone else who was receiving a home, with me already having one.” 

In true Habitat spirit, helping people comes naturally to Slaton, who is studying to become a physical therapist. “When I was in high school, one of the programs that we had was a peer tutoring program where we worked with students with disabilities, and I really liked that. I stay in contact with them and their parents,” she says. “I want to specialize in pediatrics, so that I’ll still get to work with students with severe disabilities.” 

Having just completed her first year of college life, she now values even more a familiar place to return to. “Everything is immeasurably appreciated when I go back home,” she says. 

Slaton plans to work with Habitat again and is encouraging the rest of her family to get involved. “They’re building a new Habitat home beside ours,” she says. “I asked my parents if they’re planning to help with that one, and they said they were. We’re all starting to try to give back.” 


Apply for a Habitat house: If your family, or a family you know, is in need of decent, affordable housing, please contact your local Habitat for Humanity to learn how to apply. Each Habitat affiliate has its own guidelines; learn more about general requirements

Get involved with Habitat: Each year, more than 1 million volunteers and supporters help make more stories like Jaliya’s possible. Find your local affiliate or explore the many other ways you can get involved to make a difference today! 

Use your voice for change: By collectively using our voices, we can advance access to affordable housing. Find out how

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