Two families were placed in new Habitat for Humanity homes in Woodstock. The homes, in the Villages of Park Creek neighborhood, are the 37th and 38th homes to be built in the neighborhood since 2010.
Representatives from the sponsor groups, community volunteers, family members and Habitat staff and board members all attended the ceremony to celebrate the families receiving their brand new houses.
“It was wonderful to see how excited the children were when they saw their new homes for the first time completely finished,” Habitat Director of Family Services Mary Lamond said in a release. “Both families have faced many challenges and they worked very hard to get to where they are today.”
Habitat partnered with the Shing-Ti family on the first home. John Shing and his wife, Maung Ti, have three children ranging in age from 1 to 5 years old. Shing and Ti immigrated from Burma to the United States in 2012 after first living in temporary refuge in Malaysia with the help of the United Nations Refugee Program. Shing works for a residential real estate company as a property manager.
The Shing-Ti home was built by the Stelten family in honor of Gene and Jeannie Stelten. Gene Stelten has been a long-time volunteer for Habitat North Central Georgia and this home was built in his and his wife’s honor by members of his family. Gene Stelten was a founding board member for Habitat North Fulton in 1993 and helped to raise funds to build many homes over the years. He is also an author and published four books to benefit Habitat-North Central Georgia.
For the second home, Habitat partnered with Asha Akachi, who has three children; Akilimali, 14, Ato-Mbiro, 9 and Ayokunle, 5.
“You didn’t have to do this and you didn’t have to help other people so I just want to say thank you for helping our family. This program really helps people who are just stuck in life get unstuck, so thank you,” said Akilimali Akachi.
Akachi fled her home with her children after experiencing severe domestic violence. She received support services from the Cherokee Family Violence Center where she was able to transition from homelessness to a temporary apartment.
On their path to healing, Akachi and her children have graduated from counseling, developed a strong support system and are now having a second chance at life. Akachi is enrolled in school and is pursuing her degree in nursing.
“I am truly blessed to have been chosen for the Habitat program and so grateful to the sponsors for helping to build my home,” Asha Akachi said at the ceremony.
Travelers, Evonik Corporation, Infor, MetLife, Turf Masters Lawn Care and Habitat’s Women Build BLITZ participants were all sponsors of the second home.