Habitat for Humanity Builds "Dream" Houses in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King
AMERICUS, Ga., Jan. 10, 2003 - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a world in which all people would be able to triumph over poverty, racism, war and violence. In honor of Dr. King's dream, Habitat for Humanity International is beginning a new initiative inviting people to build up their communities during the first "Building on the Dream," Jan. 18 - 26, 2003.
"Habitat for Humanity International is proud to honor the legacy of our greatest civil rights leader," said Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International. "Habitat for Humanity is working to eliminate poverty housing and invites everyone to pick up a hammer during 'Building on the Dream' and help us build up communities across the country."
"Building on the Dream," honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by encouraging people to volunteer with their local Habitat for Humanity affiliate and begin building houses or raising awareness of the need for adequate housing in their communities. "Building on the Dream" houses will stand as a tribute to Dr. King.
During the first "Building on the Dream," houses will be constructed or celebrations will be held throughout the United States in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oregon and Texas, among others. People of all races and religions in these states will use King's holiday as a day of service.
"Building on the Dream" will have a direct effect on the Pascual family of Lakeland, Fla. Hermilio and his wife, Mary Ann, will move into their new "Dream" house with their two children Miguel, 13, and Amber, 6. Hermilio is a maintenance worker for a fertilizer company. Mary Ann stays at home to care for Miguel, who has cerebral palsy and is unable to walk or talk. The Pascuals have been looking for a simple, decent place to live and raise their children.
"Miguel needs my hands-on attention 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Mary Ann. "This means I am unable to work outside the home and even paying rent is hard on just one income."
The Pascuals have rented the same small home for 10 years, but they have been looking for a new home large enough to accommodate Miguel's growing needs for additional medical equipment. A coalition of 11 churches in the Lakeland, Fla., area decided to "adopt" the Pascual family and help them build their "Dream" house.
"Our new house will give us a lot more room and put us closer to the hospitals," said Mary Ann. "We are all thankful to have a place to live, and I feel wonderful. I am grateful that Habitat volunteers are using Dr. King's holiday to help my family."
"Building on the Dream" events in the United States include:
Montgomery, Ala.: Habitat for Humanity will have volunteers working on their sites Jan. 19 - 26.
Prattville, Ala.: Construction on one house will be completed and it will be dedicated on Jan. 20.
Selma, Ala.: Members of the community will gather for a service in memory of Dr. King on Jan. 20 and begin building one house.
Jacksonville, Fla.: Habitat for Humanity will partner with the Urban League to recruit volunteers from the 2000 people that are expected to attend the annual MLK breakfast on Jan. 20. Afterward, Habitat volunteers will raise walls on four houses and will work for six weeks on the houses in honor of Dr. King. Among the volunteers are three African-American churches.
Jacksonville Beach, Fla.: Volunteers will begin building on the Habitat affiliate's 100th house on Jan. 20 and the affiliate will host a Dr. King celebration, inviting the 100 families who have built and bought Habitat houses in their community over the years to celebrate. Robin Shell, senior vice president of the program division for Habitat for Humanity International, will be the featured speaker.
Clay County, Fla.: St. Simone Baptist church will join Habitat volunteers at a Dr. King celebration on Jan. 25 and help to build one Habitat house.
Daytona Beach, Fla.: Habitat house builds will kick off on Jan. 18 at two work sites. On Jan. 20 Habitat volunteers will join a city's MLK. celebration before returning to the work sites to continue their day of service.
Lakeland, Fla.: A group of churches are volunteering to build a house and Habitat will host a celebration on Jan. 20. Robin Shell, senior vice president of the program division for Habitat for Humanity International, will be the featured speaker. Members of the Florida Southern College Campus Chapter will join volunteers to help build the house.
St. Augustine, Fla.: Volunteers will work on three houses on Jan. 20 at the Hadley Habitat Village. The subdivision is named after African-American activist and civic leader Randolph Hadley, who also founded the Habitat affiliate.
Albany, Ga.: Members of the community will gather for a MLK celebration. Linda Fuller, co-founder of Habitat for Humanity International, will speak at the celebration. Construction will begin on one house in honor of Dr. King.
Baton Rouge, La.: Habitat for Humanity volunteers will participate in a march on Jan. 20 and ask participants in the march to sign building materials that will be used in the construction of their house in honor of Dr. King.
Jackson, Miss.: Habitat for Humanity will host a Dr. King celebration and house blessing on Jan. 20. Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson and former Governor and Mrs. Winter will attend the house blessing. Jackson's mayor and police chief will also work on the house on Jan. 25.
Charlotte, N.C.: Habitat for Humanity will join Temple Beth El on Jan. 17 for a Dr. King tribute. Charlotte Habitat also will announce its first multi faith house build. Fourteen religious groups will contribute money and volunteer to work on Charlotte's "Building on the Dream" house.
Westchester County, N.Y.: Volunteers will build one house and attend a celebration on Jan. 18 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Yonkers. Victoria Peagler, Habitat for Humanity International's U.S. director of Church Relations, will speak at the celebration. Also, Habitat for Humanity of Westchester County will announce partnerships with two African-American churches. On Monday, Jan. 20, local youth will gather at the Habitat for Humanity Children's Village Training Center to hear from Dr. Peagler and to kick off a new home build in Peekskill, N.Y.
New York: U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Mel Martinez, Al Roker of NBC's "Today" show and National Director of AmeriCorps Rosie Mauk will dedicate and build a house in honor of Dr. King on Jan. 20. On Sunday, Jan. 19, 8 a.m. - 10 a.m., Roker and Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International, will build with 100 AmeriCorps members and Habitat volunteers.
Canton, Ohio: The Martin Luther King Commission of Canton, Ohio will sponsor a "Building on the Dream" house. There will be a ceremonial groundbreaking for the house on Jan. 16.
Columbus, Ohio: A celebration in honor of Dr. King will be Jan. 19 at the First Congregational Church and volunteers will begin building a house Jan. 20. David Williams, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Habitat for Humanity International, will be the guest speaker.
Albany and Benton, Ore.: Habitat for Humanity will host a joint celebration on Jan. 20 in collaboration with Oregon State University.
Dallas, Texas: Habitat for Humanity will host a celebration on Jan. 20 at West Dallas Community Church. Following the service, Habitat volunteers will march to the build site and construction will begin on one house. Ted Swisher, vice president of Habitat's U.S. affiliates, will be the guest speaker.
Lubbock, Texas: AmeriCorps members and area high schools students will work on a Habitat house. There also will be a celebration service with the New Directional Community Fellowship Church and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church.
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Founded by Millard Fuller, along with his wife, Linda, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliates in more than 3,000 communities in 87 nations have built and sold more than 125,000 homes to partner families with no-profit, zero-interest mortgages. http://www.habitat.org/