"I don't even know where to start. I just would like to tell [those that helped us], 'Thank you for the opportunity,'" Stephanie Shaw said. "I don't think a lot of people realize [what it means to us]. I think this is the American dream -- to have stability for your children and the opportunity to provide that with a stable home and environment. And it could not have been made possible without the community, the support from the community and all the volunteers that had come out there.
"With six children under the age of 9, we [had] three children in one room. They're about the same age," she said, referring to the previous three-bedroom home the couple was renting. "So we may be able to sleep a little better now. I [also] don't think they'll be as much clutter. We're actually going to have places to be organized. You have to be organized to have things run efficiently."
For Robin Hooker, the home dedication services, like the one held for the Shaws last week, is one of the highlights of being the executive director of Bartow Area Habitat for Humanity.
"It is probably the most amazing moment because the families have worked so diligent on building their house," Hooker said. "They've worked with Habitat. They've worked with our construction team and all the other volunteers in the local area working on their house. So it's an enjoyable yet rewarding moment for us as Habitat employees and for myself because it's reality. It's something that they really get to hold in their hands and they get to move into and enjoy for the rest of their lives."
Since forming in 1984, Bartow Area Habitat for Humanity has constructed 36 residences. An average of 150 people apply each year, with 10 percent of their applications being further reviewed. To be approved, applicants need to satisfy various requirements, such as meeting income guidelines, living or working in Bartow County for at least one year, contributing at least 450 hours in their home's construction and being able to pay for their home.
Valued about $110,000, the nonprofit's homes are sold for about $75,000. House payments issued by Habitat range from $400 to $425 a month, which includes taxes and insurance.
To help the organization's efforts, the city of Cartersville is partnering with Habitat for Humanity to build six residences in the next two years, the second being the Shaws' home. The Habitat project is being funded by a Community Development Block Grant that was awarded to the city in November 2009.
For more information about Habitat, contact Hooker at 770-382-6293 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.