Family Stories

Home   Family Stories

NICOLE BLACKWELL-PARKER

Nicole Blackwell-Parker and her three children are “making it work” in a small two bedroom apartment, but she’ll be happy to move into a new home with Habitat’s help. “I have never really “won” anything in my life— but I feel like I have finally “won something very big” in being selected to build a home with Habitat!” Recently divorced, and her family income

Read More »


LaKENDRA O’BANNON

What do you do when you are living in a “rent to own” home and you find a letter on the door addressed to the landlord for not paying the taxes-stating that the tenet must vacate the home in 6 days?  You move out and you lose all the “equity” you paid into the rent to own arrangement.  That’s the situation that LaKendra  O’

Read More »


REED FAMILY

Serlena Reed might not be from Champaign County, but she knows a great place to live when she sees one!  Growing up in Danville, moving to Chicago, then back to Danville, she is happy to now call Champaign “home”.  “I’ve had some challenges in my life.  I had my first child when I was in 9th grade, and started working and moved into my

Read More »


WILSON FAMILY

Born and raised in the Garden Hills neighborhood of north Champaign, Nakeshia Wilson grew up playing in the neighborhood with her friends.  She says she has stayed here in the area because it feels like a “family oriented, working community”.  She has enjoyed raising her children with the diversity in C-U and tells them all the time that “positive choices” are really important. Since

Read More »


EMPSON FAMILY

Lori Empson spent her childhood growing up in Peoria, and moving more times than she cares to remember.  As a young adult she moved to Bloomington, and finally Champaign where she says she has “finally found a community” where she could get a better job and the community support she needed for raising her 5 children (ages 6 to 22).  Her youngest Russell, needs

Read More »


MARTIN FAMILY

Stephanie Martin has lived in is an East Central Illinois all her life.  She was born in Danville and moved to Champaign prior to starting school.  She graduated from Urbana High School and started her career at Mr. John’s Beauty School.  She has worked for various salons over the past 13 years and hopes to maybe own of her own someday!  She has two

Read More »


ROBINSON FAMILY

“I was looking for an opportunity to move my family to a place we could call home, says Melanie.  My daughter Asia is a bone marrow recipient and needs stability for her health.  My two younger children don’t want to move when our housing situation has to change again.  They have talked about having a “swing set and a garden in our own yard,

Read More »


GATSON FAMILY

Latonya Gatson is a Champaign County native who grew up attending Champaign schools and graduating from Central.  She has the blessing of 5 children; her three youngest; Germaine, Arlaysha, and Richard, are excited to become Habitat homeowners.  Her oldest son Xavier played basketball at Central and now attends Lincoln College.  Her oldest daughter Kyaira had her first child this past year and Latonya is

Read More »


MARSHALL FAMILY

Hayley and Justin Marshall were “squished” together in the bathroom basement of their rental house when the tornado ripped through Gifford in November of 2013.  The house was a complete loss leaving little that was salvageable. When it was all said and done, the Marshall’s and their three children (Hayley was 6 months pregnant) just “picked up, cut our losses”, and moved to another

Read More »


ADAMS/HART FAMILY

April Adams and Bobby Hart have been friends since 1st grade. They both grew up and attended Urbana schools. When Bobby enlisted in the army, he didn’t expect to be deployed for two tours in the Middle East. His service took him away from Urbana– and April– until 2011 when he retired with a medical discharge. April worked as a waitress in various local

Read More »