Christmas for Jennifer (and many more families)
Jennifer is one of our newest friends. She is a young mother, barely 22 years old. She is married to Juan and together they have two small children. Jennifer and Juan live in Aguas Negras, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Before this past July, they didn’t have much in this world to call their own – at least not in the way of shelter and protection. But that all changed this past summer.
Every day that our Hero Holiday team came to the worksite, Jennifer was already there, sometimes with her baby on her hip while she was working hard to help build her home. On the second day that we were working with Jennifer’s family to build them a new home, I pulled her aside for a few moments to interview her. I asked her what she was looking forward to the most about her new home. Without hesitation, she responded with a big smile, “I’m excited to be able to use our new home to help out other people. I’ve always dreamed of being able to do that.”
In August, Jennifer’s dream came true – but not how any of us expected it to happen. Hurricane “Irene” ravaged across the Caribbean, leaving a wake of destruction in her path. Due to their low lying areas along the water, Aguas Negra was hit hard. Jennifer and Juan were dry and safe with their family in their new home, but they still didn’t waste any time going into action. Within minutes of being warned about the impending storm, Jennifer opened their home and took in other families whose houses were unsafe for them to stay in. Through their kindness, Jennifer and Juan reminded many of us of why we do what we do: because we are all in this together.
This Christmas, Jennifer’s home will be receiving a Christmas hamper from us. We are bringing it to them to remind them of how much we believe in them – and of how proud we are of the volunteers who help us out on each and every Hero Holiday project.
The volunteers who helped to build Jennifer’s home and many others just like it, hear about us through many channels – but none moreso than in the hundreds of high school presentations that we do across Canada each year. Many students joined us this past year because we were in their school, they were inspired by the possibilities of hope, and they worked hard to be able to join us. We believe that the story of Jennifer and the volunteers who worked together to build a dream is a story of hope. It’s proof that a changed heart truly can change the world.
Give a different gift this Christmas to Jennifer’s family or another family in need!