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Monday, January 16, 2023

Habitat for Humanity of Marion County to celebrate newest homeowners with dedication ceremony

Habitat for Humanity of Marion County is inviting members of the community to attend a house blessing dedication ceremony in Ocala on Tuesday, December 20 to welcome the Walker family to their new home.

On Tuesday morning, at 9 a.m., Cheryl Walker and her family will receive the keys to their new Habitat home during a one-hour dedication ceremony that will take place at 43 Larch Radial in Ocala. The first-time homeowners will become the 11th local family to purchase an affordable home through Habitat for Humanity of Marion County in 2022.

Just like all other Habitat homeowners, Cheryl was required to complete 250 hours of “sweat equity” as part of the program. According to Habitat for Humanity, she went “above and beyond” by volunteering in the program for over 285 hours.

Habitat for Humanity of Marion County Walker family home photo from October 4 1
The foundation of the Walker family’s new home (Photo courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Marion County)

Cheryl was involved in working on the construction of her home as well as the homes of others. She also participated in educational programs designed to strengthen the entire family to help ensure success as a new homeowner.

In a social media post, Habitat for Humanity of Marion County shared photos of the construction process as the Walker family’s new home took shape.

Habitat for Humanity of Marion County Walker family home photo from October 5
Volunteers assisting with the construction of the Walker family’s home (Photo courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Marion County)
Habitat for Humanity of Marion County Walker family home photo from October 2
Volunteers assisting with the construction of the Walker family’s home (Photo courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Marion County)
Habitat for Humanity of Marion County Walker family home photo from October 3
Volunteers assisting with the construction of the Walker family’s home (Photo courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Marion County)

Habitat for Humanity states that Cheryl will continue to make monthly payments on a low-cost, affordable mortgage, which in turn will go toward building more affordable Habitat homes.

“My experience with the Habitat program has been beyond just the home itself. The greatest joy has been the support and encouragement from the Habitat team. They have been an extended family to me even in personal situations, always available with a listening ear and heart,” said Cheryl Walker.

Cheryl continued by stating, “The other family partners out at the construction sites have become friends to me. We sweat, laugh, and share testimonies with each other. Habitat has been beautiful in every aspect of my life, and I’ve realized that people actually have love and care in their hearts genuinely, want to see you succeed, and are there to help make dreams of homeownership possible. I will forever be grateful for Habitat.”

Dave Layman, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Marion County, said, “We are grateful to work with wonderful families like the Walkers. We know children of homeowners compared to children of renters are 116% more likely to graduate from college and are 59% more likely to own a home within 10 years of moving from their parent’s home. Homeownership also results in a better quality of life and the equity in the home creates generational wealth, which is why Habitat works so diligently to help families achieve homeownership.”

Habitat for Humanity’s homes are built using financial gifts to cover the purchase of materials and services of trades, along with thousands of hours of volunteer time. On average, Habitat for Humanity of Marion County engages over 2,100 volunteers each year who contribute nearly 8,900 hours of their time to build homes, communities, and hope.

For more information, visit the Habitat for Humanity of Marion County website.