After a lifetime of moving, a family puts down roots
Two girls dream of bright colors and future careers during the Dallas Build-a-Thon 2012
By Julie Gurnon
Tayviona Washington, 8, has a smile as big as Texas. Her sister, Taylor, 10, is a little more reserved, but equally engaging. Both girls light up when asked about how they plan to decorate their bedrooms in the family’s new Habitat home.
“Purple, blue, red and green,” Taylor said, keeping all her color options open.
Tayviona prefers a more “realistic” look, as she describes it, with butterfly stickers, blue sky and white clouds.
For the girls’ parents — Major Washington, 36, and Cindy Thomas, 35 — the décor is much less important than the security and stability of owning their own home.
“In the last 10 years, we’ve moved seven times,” Washington said. “That’s one of the worst things that can happen when you have kids.”
Like the Bell family in Pensacola, Florida, finding decent and affordable housing to rent had been an insurmountable challenge. The family has been paying about $800 in rent for run-down housing; their monthly mortgage payment on their brand-new house will be about $588.
Washington, who works in warehousing, and Thomas, a certified nurse assistant with a hospice organization, said the transience of the past 10 years has been hard on the girls, as they’ve had to leave their friends and change schools frequently.
Despite the hardships, the girls are smart, energetic and happy. Taylor wants to become a lawyer and Tayviona a doctor.
“I’m just so thankful,” Washington said. “When they get ready to go off to college, they’ll leave this Habitat house, and that’s the house they will return to after.”
Although the couple said that becoming a Habitat partner family is “all about the kids,” both mom and dad are looking forward to the new home as well.
After putting in all the sweat-equity hours on their house, Thomas said she is eager to relax in her own bathtub.
For Washington, it’s an outdoor thing.
“I’m just waiting on that perfect grass,” he said. “I want the kind of grass you want to go out there and lay in.”