ELLENTON -- After two years of hard work and dedication, Ana Reyes, a single mother of five children, enters her new home with a lot of excitement.
Habitat for Humanity's home dedication welcomed Reyes by gathering volunteers who worked on the house, donors who granted financial support and Habitat for Humanity neighbors. The dedication left Reyes speechless.
"I am so excited and happy. Nothing can describe my feelings right now," Reyes said.
Reyes reached out to Habitat for Humanity solely for her children. She knew that having a good living environment would improve her children's lives.
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Reyes had to pass interviews with the program prior to receiving her letter of acceptance.
"When I got the letter that I was accepted for the program I was so happy," Reyes said.
The experience of building the house, a Women Build project constructed entirely by women, was not always easy. It took a lot of sweat and a lot of patience. The long hours of being away from her children made the process especially difficult.
"It was very hard sometimes because I had to leave my kids behind," Reyes said.
Two of Reyes' children are under the age of 10. Naturally, they want to be with their mother at all times.
"My younger kids would always ask me if they could come with me,
but of course I had to leave them behind because I knew I had to get my work done," Reyes said.
Habitat for Humanity requires 300 hours of labor, which Reyes completedalongside her two other jobs.
She was not alone in the process though.
Reyes is thankful for the support she got throughout the experience.
"Di Di Hager, the father of my kids, and people at the church were very helpful and supported me a lot," Reyes said.
Reyes says she is blessed for the opportunity Habitat for Humanity has provided her family.
"This home not only will help my children, but it helps me too because I won't have to worry about finding new places to live again," Reyes said.
Her new home on 38th Avenue East highlights the new chapter in Reyes' life.
As an immigrant from Honduras living in Texas before moving to Bradenton three years ago, Reyes says she has found her home.
Reyes will continue to work as a teacher at Lily School in Sarasota. No longer having to worry about finding a place to live will help her save money for her children's college tuition.
"I do everything for my kids. This home will let me provide a better life for them and that makes me happy," Reyes said.
As Reyes stands strong after going through a lot of difficulties in her life, she dedicates her blessings to God.
"God gave me the courage to wake up every day and to work hard like I have," Reyes said.
For now, Reyes will soak in all the excitement she is feeling.
"I just want to thankHabitat for Humanity for this opportunity," Reyes said with tearful eyes.