Virgil and Eartha James are the happy parents of three wonderful kids, Jayvin 11, Jameer 6 and Jazell 4. They are both dedicated employees at Debt Management Credit Counseling Corp. Eartha, who has worked as a Housing Counselor for the last 11 years, assists clients in the prevention of foreclosure and James has worked as a Credit Counselor for the last seven years guiding clients on reducing debt.
Currently, the hard-working family of five live in a fairly small and compact 2-bedroom 2-bath apartment. “We have no space” Eartha shares “and our kids do not have enough room to play.”
Their children are active in the community and participate in The Boys and Girls Club and the Deerfield Rattler’s Youth Football team. As a family, they are members of St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church and in their spare time they enjoy playing sports, reading and playtime. “We celebrate accomplishments and offer unconditional love is a part of our everyday life” says Eartha.
Now, thanks to a Family Home Sponsorship from the Rosemary Duffy Larson Trust, TIAA Bank and Bank of America, as well as a group of dedicated volunteers from Church by the Sea, the James family will now have a spacious 4-bedroom house with a yard to call home.
Karnese is the proud mother of four exceptional young men-Kencent 19, Travis 12, Leonard 11 and Trevon 5. For nine years, Karnese has been a dedicated employee working as an Insurance Specialist at Combined Resources and as the Lead Cashier for Home Depot. In addition to being a student at Broward College, her son Kencent is employed as the gym assistant at the local Boys and Girls Club and also finds time to give back to the community by volunteering at the Jim and Jen March Club.
The close knit family are members of Radiant Living Worship Center and in their free time, they enjoy taking trips to Orlando or spending quality family time around the television. Before coming to Habitat, Karnese and her boys were living in a small apartment.
Thanks to the Family Home Sponsorship by JM Family Enterprises, they now have a spacious home to call their own. ”One of my dreams was to become a homeowner, which Habitat has helped make possible,” said Karnese. “Now I can focus on living a healthier lifestyle, and being a great mom!”
Johntae Duncan is the proud mother of five beautiful children-Christopher 12, Christina 8, Christian 5, Mikalya 2, and Michael 1. In 2012, Johntae lost the father of her three eldest children, causing her to have to raise the children on her own. Then a few years after, she and the children were evicted from their home and were forced to live in a hotel for three months. Currently, they reside in a small 2-bedroom 2-bath apartment. The three older children sleep in one bedroom, while the two youngest children share a room with Johntae, “The apartment has mold,” she shared.
For the past four-years Johntae has worked as a Medical Assistant for Westide Primary Care-HCA and truly enjoys what she does. Her and the children are members of Compassion of Jesus Christ Church, Christopher and Christian play for the Pompano Chiefs football team and Christina is a cheerleader for the same team. For fun, they enjoy taking trips to Orlando and going to the local water park. Her fondest memory is when she took her children to watch the New Orleans Saints play in Tampa; “My sons really wanted to go, so I saved up enough money to take them as a late Christmas present,” says Johntae.
“My family goal for 2018 was to get a house of our own,” says Johntae about her dream of one day becoming a homeowner. Her dream is now coming true due to the generous Family Home Sponsorship from JM Family Enterprises. With the money that she will save from her 0% mortgage and low monthly payments, she can now begin focusing on going back to school to become a Registered Nurse and save for a vehicle with enough room for all her children.
Due to the charitable Family Home sponsorship from our dear friends at The Restaurant People, the St. Remys now have a five bedroom house to call their own. “Without Habitat this could not have been possible,” Carrol shares.
The family has worked tirelessly in completing 300 volunteer hours and attending 12 homebuyer educational classes in preparation to becoming homeowners. “My husband and I are now pursuing higher education,” says Carrol, who is currently studying for her Bachelors in Biology and Jhonson in Accounting. With the money they will save from their low-cost monthly mortgage, Carrol can focus on her goal of becoming a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Also, Tatianna has graduated from high school and is looking forward to attending college, with being offered scholarships to six different universities!
Future Habitat homeowner Krystal Brown’s family expanded when she gained custody of her 12-year old nephew, Jhaden, after the passing of her sister. A single mom to her two children, Kelvin age 10 and Chrishanti age 8, and now Jhaden, Krystal is about to become the first in her family to become a homeowner.
For the past seven years, Krystal has been a Department Manager for Walmart and lives with her mom where all three children share one room. For fun, Kelvin and Jhaden play for the Panthers at Brian Piccolo Park and as a family, they enjoy taking trips to the theme parks in Orlando.
When asked why homeownership is so important to her, Krystal responds with, “Homeownership means not having to move every time the lease is up forcing my kids to switch schools.” Now that she has been accepted into the Habitat Broward program, Krystal will soon begin creating new memories and a stable foundation. As the first in her family to become a homeowner, she will be able to start saving money for her family’s future thanks to her low cost monthly mortgage at zero percent interest.
Kaytrinia Doe is the proud mother of three girls, Deaundria 14, Aundreya 11 and Kayleah 9. A former participant in the Take Stock in Children program, Kaytrinia was mentored by Nancy Botera of the Broward College Foundation from 10th grade on. The first in her family to go to college, Kaytrinia earned a degree in Criminal Justice from FAMU and has worked for the Aventura Police Department as their Public Records Specialist for the last two years.
Three years ago, her close-knit family was living with Kaytrinia’s grandmother and in tight quarters sleeping on air mattresses. They then moved to a three bedroom apartment on a busy street. “Since I’ve been living there, I had my vehicle stolen,” says Kaytrinia about the dangers of her neighborhood.
Kaytrinia looks forward to finally having a secure place to call home. When not working or in school, the family enjoys taking trips to Disney and going to the beach. Kaytrinia plans to build a big garden in her new home. “It’s a great feeling to know you have something tangible to leave to your children that will enhance their quality of life” says Kaytrinia about the opportunity to own her own home. That day has arrived sooner than Kaytrinia expected, due to her family’s Home Sponsorship by JM Family Enterprises. “I now will have a place that even my grandchildren will be able to share, and that will enhance their futures,” she says.
Florida Girls Giving Back is a group of eleven girls ranging in age from 13 to 18. These dynamic community volunteers sponsored a Habitat Home this year—a tremendous gift for a volunteer-driven, teen organization. Additionally, the girls gave more than 300 hours of time and energy to build a home, designed by Habitat Broward to accommodate a special needs child. At the home dedication, new homeowner and hard-working mother of three Diana Williams shared, “This journey has been priceless. I will be the first of my siblings to own a house. Thanks to Florida Girls Giving back, my children now have a place to call home.” The Florida Girls Giving back came back this past fall to help landscape and paint the fence in the backyard.
The dream of homeownership will soon become a reality for Eartha and Virgil James’ family, thanks to the thoughtful planning by Rosemary Duffy Larson, who in her lifetime established a trust of more than $4 million to support Broward organizations, including Habitat for Humanity of Broward.
The Rosemary Duffy Larson Trust and trustee Alan Ruf have partnered with Church By The Sea to construct the James’ home in Pompano Beach. “With more than two dozen dedicated volunteers from Church By The Sea who are donating their time to help build the home, we are doing exactly what Rosemary envisioned when she established the Trust – affecting positive change to better our community.”
After years of moving from place to place, the James family began the Habitat homeowner application process in 2016. “Prior to applying for the program we had already started taking the necessary steps to purchase a home,” said James. “We attended the first-time homeowner workshop and gained all the knowledge we needed to successfully complete the process.”
With three children, two boys ages 12 and 7 and a girl age 5, Eartha explains that becoming a homeowner has affected her family in so many positive ways. “It has given us a sense of security, stability, togetherness and appreciation,” said James.
Each day, Eartha drives by to take a photo and document the progress of her family’s home. “My photo album will show our kids all the hard work that EVERYONE put into it and why we should take care of and appreciate our home,” said James. “Witnessing the transformation from a vacant lot to our future forever home is a blessing, it’s amazing, it’s a dream come true.”
The Jameses owe their good fortune to the trust established by the late Rosemary Duffy Larson. An Ohio native, Rosemary traveled the world extensively, but found her joy in Fort Lauderdale where she sought to enrich and improve the lives of our children, our families and our community through service and generous financial support. Rosemary was one of 300 women selected to participate in the “Women’s Role in Politics” conference at the White House, and she was dedicated to political and civic engagement causes in Broward County. Through her trust, Rosemary has helped support many causes throughout Broward County including the arts, education and, of course, affordable housing for Habitat families.
Eighteen years ago, single mom Valerie Hill had been moving from house to house in search of her dream home. In her mind, it would have a window in her kitchen that overlooked part of the neighborhood and a big backyard for her three young children to play in. After years of praying to God, she began to despair and thought her dream would never materialize. Once she heard about the Habitat Homeowners program, however, she took a leap of faith and applied, and her prayers were answered when she was accepted.
Habitat made all of Valerie’s house requests possible. She has raised all three of her children in her very own home and has made unforgettable memories there. And all three daughters have earned college degrees. Since becoming a Habitat Homeowner, Valerie has moved from a minimum wage job to a position as a mid-level school board employee. Now with her mortgage paid, she is no longer dreaming of homeownership, but living a dream made possible through Habitat for Humanity.
3564 North Ocean Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
505 West Broward Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312