Mary Belford was born in Mississippi and raised in Chicago. She moved her family to Champaign to be near their extended family, and so her son and daughter could be brought up in a “different environment” than the big city.
Since she has lived in Champaign, Mary has become licensed with DSFS to be a foster parent. She has adopted two children, and continues to provide respite for kids requiring temporary shelter. She feels that if she were in a house rather than an apartment with limited space she could help even more children in need of care. Mary also spends time volunteering with girls to encourage them understand the importance of respecting themselves and to help them avoid teenage pregnancy.
All four of her children, two sons ages 18 and 6 and two daughters ages 14 and 15, are doing well in school and are involved in sports. Mary is “so proud of their achievements” and wants them to “have a home of their own where they can have a sense of stability in their lives”. She is very pleased that they will be able to continue in the schools they currently attend, because they are “happy and successful where they are”.
“I encourage my kids to do positive things in life, and if you just pray and keep pushing through life good things will happen”.
Mary’s house will be the 68th home built by Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County.