At Euclid Program Managers we are committed to investing in the local community. We, in conjunction with our sister company Oxford Bank, have formed a partnership with Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity and are committed to using our resources to provide affordable housing.  As you will see from the stories below we have been fortunate enough to be able to work alongside some amazing families as they become homeowners.

The Afghanzada Family Story

With their two young children, Mr. and Mrs. Afghanzada emigrated from Kabul, Afghanistan to the United States in 2017. In Aurora, the whole family was placed into a two-bedroom apartment. And, shortly after their arrival, the Afghanzada family welcomed their third child.

As their family grew, they knew the need for a bigger home was a must. Unable to qualify for a traditional mortgage, a friend of theirs who are Habitat homeowners, recommended that they apply for a home in Aurora at Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity. Slowly, Mr. and Mrs. Afghanzada were able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

When asked about his most memorable experience, he says he can still recall the day that he received a call from Barb Zegiel, the Funds and Marketing Coordinator, to break the news that they had been accepted to become Habitat homeowners. Abdul called this the biggest step to being able to keep his family safe, after living in a country that was plagued with constant violence, this was a massive milestone in their lives. Abdul and Viavia want what all parents hope for, to have a happy, healthy, safe, and educated family.

The Afghanzada family is very grateful for everything the organization has done for them, and they are ecstatic to be able to move into their new home and continue to build memories together as a family.

The Nibitanga Family Story

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Ezechiel and his wife, Yoranda, both grew up in East Africa with many difficulties. After being raised in refugee camps, they met in 2012 while awaiting immigration to the United States. A few years later they settled in Aurora, Illinois where they welcomed a beautiful baby boy. Ezechiel truly understood his new life was beginning, saying “it was the best news anyone could ever receive. There is a light at the end of this tunnel through the grace of God.”

The Nibitanga’s path to Habitat for Humanity came through their connection with other East African immigrants, including Theo and Odette Uwamhoro who are Fox Valley Habitat homeowners. After learning about Theo and Odette’s incredible experience with Habitat, Ezechiel and Yoranda knew their small one-bedroom apartment wouldn’t fit their growing family.

In 2019 they were approved for homeownership and both cried with joy. The Nibitanga’s say having space for their son to grow and play in a safe and welcoming community is all they ever wanted. Ezechiel expressed his gratitude stating, “Just working with Habitat families and getting to know each other is a blessing. Thank you, Habitat for Humanity, for making our dream come true.”

The Marrufo Family Story

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Tino was born and raised in Mexico before moving to the United States where he met his future wife, Marisa, a first-generation Mexican immigrant living in Aurora, IL. The two met at church and quickly fell in love. A year later they were married.

The happy couple has since welcomed three sons (one in Heaven) into the world. Alex (18) was born with some vision issues and is a loving and attentive son and brother. His younger brother, Manny (14), was born at just 25 weeks gestation and has had to overcome many things in his short life. Despite life’s challenges, the Marrufo family has always remained positive and grounded in the belief that, “you can do anything if you put your mind to it.”

The Marrufo family has some unique needs as their son is unable to walk. This has made moving through their narrow, three-story home in a wheelchair extremely difficult. The family is making it work, but the layout has restricted their son to the main floor. They hope to build a new ranch-style home designed with wide doorways and full wheelchair access to meet their son’s needs. Their new Habitat home will allow Manny to have a full range of the house – so life can be much easier. Manny is looking forward to being more independent and has even expressed excitement about participating in household chores like laundry!

Manny continues to fill the home with laughter and positivity. As he says, “God has put me in this family, and you cannot return me!” Indeed, the Marrufo family is stronger together than apart. Now, with their new home, they will be able to spend more time together as a family enjoying life’s many blessings.

The Uwamhoro Family Story

Habitat Groundbreaking Uwamhoro Family Uwamahoro family Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity home

Both from Eastern Africa, Theo and Odette Uwamhoro have worked hard to make America their home. Neither Theo nor Odette have any family in the area, but are quickly building one of their own. Odette is a stay-at-home mom to one-year old daughter, Odila, with the couple’s second child on the way. Since 2008, Theo has worked full time as a machine operator at Berry Plastics. During this time he has been able to provide for his family and work towards their goal of owning their own home.

They understand the importance of changing a neighborhood and community one family at a time, saying, “Our neighbors are just as important as our family is to us. When we are in trouble, our neighbors can save our lives.”

Partnering with the Uwamhoro family was a no-brainer for Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity. Theo and Odette jumped right in. They participated in our 26-hour financial training course, Financial Peace University, and have worked on the job sites to complete Sweat Equity hours. They can’t wait for the day when they can move their growing family into a home that they can call their own.

The Gomez Family Story

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Clara and Mark Gomez’ family began their Habitat journey in 1997. After seeing their friend partner with a Habitat affiliate in Nebraska, Clara, Mark, and their four children set out to explore the same opportunity. With Clara, Mark, and two of their children living with hearing impairment and deafness, their journey was unique but life changing nonetheless.

The Gomez family needed a place to settle down with their sons, who were at the time ages 16, 14 and 8, and daughter who was 6. It was crucial for Clara and Mark to find a safe and respectable place to raise their family, and thankfully in 2008, they found a solution through Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity. Homeownership has given the Gomez family unmeasurable opportunity, and exposed their children to responsibility and possibility.

Now having lived in their home since 2008, Clara mentions that it is much more than a house- it is an opportunity to live peacefully and for that they feel incredibly blessed. The family now enjoys life comfortably, while patiently looking forward to the future of “grandparent-hood.” Partnership with FVHH hasn’t just impacted Clara and Mark, but their children, and future grandchildren, making it three generations who have and will be directly impacted by their partnership with Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity.

The Brown Family Home

Brown Family Home

Roy Brown grew up in a Habitat for Humanity home with his mother, and the organization played a big role in his life when he was a young boy. After moving from a rough part of town where it was normal to see drug dealers on the corner into their new house, Roy began to feel safe and secure knowing that they had a home of their own. So years later, when he was given custody of his children, he decided to apply for a Habitat home through Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity.

At the time that he applied, Roy was a full time student in nursing school and had just received full custody of his 4 children, ages 15, 14, 9 and 5. The whole time that we were building his home, everything seemed to be happening at just the right time for the family. He graduated from nursing school and is now a registered nurse able to provide financially for his family with a good home that provides stability for his children.

Since moving in January of 2007, Roy’s children have excelled in school and have taken pride in their home. Just knowing that they have a clean, warm place to call home everyday instead of a small cramped apartment has given them more than they could ever imagine. Roy’s children are doing great. The two older children are attending college and their two younger siblings are in high school. About his home, Roy says, “It seems as though my house has become the neighborhood refuge for children whose parents are not there for them after school. Sometimes when I get home after work, there are at least a half a dozen teenagers lounging around and hanging out instead of running the street.” Not only has Roy’s home built a better life for his family, but one for his community as well.

The Ziegel Family Story

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In 1998, Barb Ziegel packed up the life she once knew in Florida, and made her way to Illinois with her two daughters, Karina and Mariah. Barb knew her family needed a home and when someone suggested partnership with Habitat for Humanity, homeownership became a priority. Unfortunately, due to insufficient income, she was denied the first two times she applied. While this may be a trying and discouraging experience for most, Barb used it as motivation. She worked hard to reestablish herself and applied again in 2000. Because of her tenacity and commitment to her family, the Ziegel family finally began partnership with Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity.

Barb recalled the moment that she received her acceptance phone call and stated that she was completely “beside herself.” She made it her mission then to learn more about Habitat and make the best out of her experience. She found a new passion in advocating for herself and received many in-kind donations that contributed to her home building. Barb played an active role in the construction of her home and on May 25, 2005, Barb, Karina, and Mariah finally attained a decent, affordable and respectable place to call home.

The Ziegel family’s living situation wasn’t the only thing that improved, their entire outlook and quality of life has completely shifted. Barb is finally at a point on her life where she is stable and living contently with what she has. Both her daughters are away attending college and Barb is working and providing a comfortable income for her family. The involvement in her own home evolved to becoming the FVHH Volunteer Coordinator and Development Support. Her personal experience is a useful tool in ensuring other families, much like her own, have the same opportunities to grow and thrive.

The Jeffries’ Home

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Fourteen years ago, Ms. Essie May Jeffries left her government assisted housing for a respectable and affordable home. Essie May learned of Habitat for Humanity from a FVHH Homeowner, and was encouraged to apply for partnership. She was accepted into the program and her family’s life changed forever. Her three daughters, who were then 19, 21, and 27, were just beginning their lives with their young children.

The Habitat partnership program has given Essie May and her family a place to call home and raise their children. Her grandchildren are now 24, 23, 21, and 20, and understand how greatly their lives were impacted 14 years ago by being brought up in their own home. Homeownership has not just affected Essie May’s life individually, but the lives of generations to come. Essie May has changed the cycle of poverty and set an example for her children and grandchildren.

When asked about her journey to homeownership, Essie May recalls on the memories of her home being built. She took the opportunity to thank Oxford Bank and Euclid Insurance for making the construction of her home possible. The generous donations from Oxford Bank and Euclid Insurance have helped to make her dream of homeownership, a reality.