After an exciting and eventful 2016, Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity (CMHFH) kicked off the new year by thanking and recognizing their many donors, volunteers and business partners at their annual Dream Builders Reception at the Kelly Inn.
Each year CMHFH recognizes a local business that has been donating cash or in-kind services and materials to its organization. They also demonstrate a consistent, long-time, active interest in helping CMHFH reach its goals. The partner businesses also demonstrate a passion for the mission of Habitat for Humanity that is at the heart of their donations. This year’s inductee is Thrivent Financial.
“One of Habitat for Humanity’s strongest partners locally, nationally and internationally is Thrivent Financial,” said Bruce Johnson, Executive Director of CMHFH. “Through our partnership, we will have built and sold 25 homes to local, low-income families in Central Minnesota by the end of this year.”
Over the past 10 years, Thrivent Financial has awarded over $2 million in grants to Central Minnesota, helping 24 families attain safe, affordable housing. CMHFH will once again be partnering with Thrivent to build the 25th Thrivent Builds home for the Jama-Aynab family in 2017. The $66,000 grant from Thrivent will be used to build a home on a reclaimed lot in the Seberger neighborhood in St. Cloud. Construction is set to start this summer.
The grant, a part of the Thrivent Builds program, provides half of the financial support needed to build a home. The rest of the support is raised from local businesses, churches, and members of the community. The homes are built by volunteers from sponsoring businesses, churches, the partner family and the general public.
“The Thrivent/Habitat partnership is a great fit because it engages the whole community and gives them the opportunity to live out the values of connecting finances with faith and living generously,” said Steve Reetz, a Thrivent Financial Representative in St. Cloud and Board member of Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity.
“It’s inspiring to see Thrivent members and others continuously give of their time and talents to help families in local communities and around the world have safe, affordable housing,” said Brad Hewitt, President and CEO of Thrivent.
The Jama-Aynab family of six is excited for the construction to start on their Habitat house. Khadra and Saleban and their four children are most looking forward to being able to settle into permanent home where their family can thrive. Through homeownership, the couple plan to teach their children how to be responsible and take care of a house.
Past Business Partner Hall of Fame recipients
- 2014: Jacobs Financial
- 2015: Gray Plant Mooty
For many, Dec. 23 is a day to finish last-minute holiday shopping and finish wrapping gifts to place under the tree. For the Roske family, they took the day to give back to the community.
Giving back to the community is something that was instilled in the Roske family. Parents Michael and Peggy have volunteered at their church – St. John the Baptist in Collegeville – and wherever there has been a need. As adults, their children, Michaela, Ben, Molly and J.J., have continued finding ways to give back no matter where they have lived.
“We think it’s important that everybody – not just our children – know they have to look out for others,” Peggy said. “Everybody has needs and those needs need to be met.”
This year when everyone was home for Christmas, instead of gifts to each other, the Roske family decided to give the gift of each other. Michaela, who is a faithful Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity volunteer and recent board member, naturally recommended her family volunteer at CMHFH’s ReStore.
“We were raised with a strong sense of community,” Ben said. “We were raised in the St. Cloud area and have now come back here to celebrate Christmas. We feel it’s a way to give back. We want to contribute to the community.”
J.J. added, “The holiday season is about being with family and celebrating what you have. And a lot of people don’t have, so I think the opportunity to give back to the community, in whatever minuscule way, can help.”
In addition to Michael and Peggy’s four children, Ben’s wife Ellory and Michaela’s friend Jameson also volunteered at ReStore on Dec. 23.
“There’s always been a really strong social justice focus in our family,” said Molly. “I would say that carries through in what all of us do in our daily lives. Michaela’s involvement in Habitat has been growing the past several years so this is the first year we finally put into action this idea we’ve had for the past few years of ‘let’s volunteer together as a family for Christmas instead and give the gift of each other.’ So when that surfaced again this year, the answer was obvious that we should do something with Habitat because of Michaela’s role and involvement here.”
For Ben, part of the appeal of volunteering also meant getting to know the regular ReStore volunteers and assisting the customers. Plus, he enjoyed the “good, hard work and labor.” Ben and J.J. moved and organized boxes of tiling and helped carry out customer’s furniture purchases.
Dec. 23 was also one of the first times the whole family volunteered together as a family. The family has found individual ways to give back in other ways but really enjoyed the opportunity to volunteer side-by-side.
“It’s fun to get back together and see each other’s skills,” said Molly, noting that through everyone’s individual volunteer opportunities, they have picked up new skills and stories about how they gained those skills.
“(Volunteering together) teaches us about each other and we can see different sides of each other,” said Ellory. “Sometimes it feels like there are a lot of bad things going on in the world and it’s nice to do something that directly impacts and improves our community.”
Giving back is just part of being part of a community, Peggy said. “You gotta help each other out and do what you can do.”
Hot glue guns, paint, pipe cleaners and more.
From simple items, St. Cloud Girl Scouts partnered with Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity on Oct. 13 to assemble and decorate miniature houses that will be used at CMHFH’s 6th Annual Breakfast for Humanity fundraising breakfast on Nov. 3.
Girl Scout Troop #605, which includes Ella who moved into a Habitat house with her mom last December, had a lot of fun using their creativity on the houses. Many of the girls made pipe cleaner people, small wooden furniture, and miniature potted plants and trees to adorn the lawns and interior houses.
A family of seven will be moving into a house which is currently being built by Tech High School seniors and juniors.
The partnership between Tech High School and Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity gives students hands-on experience in skilled labor trades.
“The students experience service learning while building a home for a local, low-income family,” said Bill Garceau, instructor with Tech High School’s Technology Education Program. “The partnership also allows us to have the home stay local and the students will come back years from now and be able to show off the home they built.”
One of Garceau’s favorite things about the Tiger Build partnership is the students get to develop skills that they will have for the rest of their lives. “Many students will continue with a construction related career and be very successful,” he said. “Students take pride and ownership of their work and this is exciting to see.”
Students will learn all the key elements of building a home. Students are exposed to framing, dry walling, roofing, cabinetry, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, Siding, and insulating.
“The students are proud of working as a team to accomplishing the huge task of building a home from start to finish,” Garceau said. “The hands-on learning approach is very appealing to my students.”
This year’s Tiger Build family has already been identified. The Mireh-Mohamud family will be moving into the house after Tech students have finished it and the house has been moved to a lot in St. Cloud. The three older kids have expressed interest in giving back and helping to build a home when they get to Tech High School.