Family Stories

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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,

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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

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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

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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

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VANDERBILT FAMILY

Angelique Vanderbilt moved here from the south side of Chicago with her family and graduated from Central High School in 1986. But the “pull” of the big city wouldn’t let go. She moved back to Chicago for the next 25 years; renting a townhome, raising children and balancing work while attending school. When she realized the crime in her neighborhood wasn’t going to stop,

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YOUNG FAMILY

Tinisha and her mother Dorothy have been living together and raising Tinisha’s three children, Derrick (19), Kyana (17) and Kamari (7) in public housing for what they call “too long”. They both shudder at the crime, disregard for property and vermin (snakes, opossums and raccoons) that have existed in their neighborhood. We have lived in public housing for the past 30 years, and we’d

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Gardner Family

Mickele Gardner wanted a better life, a nicer place to live, and her own independence.  “I applied for a Habitat home awhile back, but couldn’t qualify because of my income and my debt.  I started working on paying down my debt, and being more responsible with my money.  It took me 10 years to get in a position to apply again. I have always

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Tembo Family

Coco Tembo and FiFi Likyana came from around the world to partner with Habitat on their new home.  Both born and educated in the Congo, Coco was a driver/ chauffer and his wife FiFi a nurse.  They were able to move to the states through the help of FiFi’s sister, Cardy Likyana who has lived here in Champaign for several years.  Cardy helped them

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Tembe Family

Issa and Anthonella grew up in Kinshasa  (DR Congo).  They met at the University of Kinshasa and began a family.  In the Congo, Issa was an assistant professor at the University of Kinshasa and also worked with the United Nations Development program.  Anthonella began her career as a journalist, but has since become a stay at home mom for their three young children Shammah

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Harris Family

Tiana Harris has always wanted to be a home owner, and her dream of owning a home became even more important when she became a mother to Honcho 6 months ago.  “A Habitat home will help me provide the same sense of stability for my son that my mom provided for me.  My mom purchased a home when I was in first grade.  It

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