My name is Alma Gonzalez.
This is my story.
I am 45-years-old and what I remember from my childhood is that it was difficult. My mother came to the United States to work and therefore, I was raised by my grandmother in Mexico. I lacked many things, but love and affection from my grandmother I did not.
At 10-years-old, I assumed the responsibilities of taking care of our household and my siblings. I remember I had to wash my school uniform and undergarments every day because I only had one pair of each. Then, when I was 15, we came to the United States and I began attending school. The living arrangements with my other grandmother were very uncomfortable.
I decided to leave school and work full-time as a dishwasher to earn money to buy my own place. Soon after, I had my first child and then my twins. I worked hard to support my kids. My children’s father was unsupportive.
When, I had my fourth child, I knew that it was time for me to change my situation for my family.
When I finally saved enough money, I decided to leave my husband and support my children on my own. I was working two full-time jobs and had no one to care for my kids. Even though finances were tight, we were building our future.
Unfortunately, our rented home was broken into three separate times. Luckily, we were never home, but what little we had was taken from us.
When I moved to our current home, I feared more break-ins. I would stay up nights making sure my kids were safe. I slept with a bat next to my bed. It wasn’t until I joined a family support group that I began to realize my self-worth and value. It took 11 years to realize that I was in control of my life.
You may be asking yourself why I am sharing my life story with you.
The reason is this – until Habitat for Humanity Tucson, the idea of being a homeowner was nothing but a dream. In fact, I thought it was impossible.
I am thankful that I decided to call Habitat Tucson, and I’m even more grateful for the opportunity to become a homeowner. Now I have the freedom to make the decisions regarding my home.
My home is where I will feel safe and free and completely independent. I am hopeful and excited and I’m already planning on how to decorate my home.
My first granddaughter is on the way. This home will be a safe place for her and for my daughters. This will be a place of love and laughter. We will gather here on Sundays and cook out. We will gather here as a family.
I have built my own home and gotten to know my neighbors. My home is part of a positive community where we can help each other.
I am blessed. I have met such caring and positive people. I am thankful that I have become the person and mother that I am today and that my kids are good and loving people.
Thank you to everyone at Habitat for Humanity Tucson. I consider you all like family.
A new chapter.
Alma Gonzalez will soon become the proud owner of the Rainbow Build home. She’s completed over 250 hours of sweat equity, nine months of homeowner education courses, and will soon buy her home with an affordable, nonprofit mortgage.