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Categories: Family Stories, Habitat Tucson

Jesus & Santa’s Habitat Journey

“The good thing is that we are not alone. Habitat is with us!”

Jesus is currently a youth care worker with a passion for medicine, and he’s looking forward to working at TMC in the coming year and dreams of becoming a Registered Nurse. He knows this goal will be achievable once he lives in his Habitat home. “I love to work with children and I love working in the hospital—that’s my life!” Jesus explains.  

But right now, Jesus’ long hours means he desperately needs rest when he arrives home. In their small two-bedroom rental, it means Jesus is sleeping in one room while his wife and three children share the other bedroom. 

“My dad sleeps in one room by himself because the kids are very noisy,” Bryan explains. “The only time he has to sleep are when the kids are awake.” 

But their rental isn’t working for their family at all. With Santa sharing a bed with 3-year-old Nikolas and 1-year-old Carolina, and Bryan with his bed on the other side of the room, there’s almost no room to move and play. “We can’t even move around the room because there is not space for clothes and shoes,” Bryan says. “There’s one dresser but it’s so small it doesn’t even fit the clothes of the baby.” 

Going outside to play isn’t a great option either, since the neighborhood doesn’t feel safe. “All weekend and during the week people are drinking,” Jesus says. “That’s why we are always inside the house. It’s not safe out there.” 

“We can’t go outside and play with the kids,” Bryan explains. But their future Habitat home is like a light at the end of a long tunnel. [mk_image src=”https://habitattucson.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/santa-jesus-with-sign_0008.jpg” image_size=”large”][mk_image src=”https://habitattucson.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/jesus-future-habitat-homebuyer_1926.jpg” image_size=”large”]“First, we’re going to have a stable place to stay, and we won’t have to move,” Santa says. “Secondly, I’ll have a place for my plants—flowers, fruits, lemons! And the last thing is that if we can’t go to the park, we’ll have somewhere to take the kids to play.” 

“That’s why we came here to the United States,” Jesus adds. “To fight for a better life. Something that we deserve to have for our family—where we can be happy and together in the same place. We’ll be able to sleep all night without thinking, you know, someone is going to try to break in or throw a rock at the door.” 

For the first time in his life, Bryan will have his own room. He won’t have to protect his homework and belongings from his curious younger siblings, and his room will feel like a sanctuary. The privacy will allow him to focus on his studies as he finishes high school and prepares for college. With a love of science and medicine, Bryan has the goal of one day becoming a surgeon.  

“I’m studying EMS—Emergency Medical Services—at my high school, and I’m also volunteering at a clinic,” Bryan says. “Just like my dad—it’s our thing!” [mk_image src=”https://habitattucson.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/jesus-valenzuela-gonzalez_0082.jpg” image_size=”large”]“I’m also happy, not just because of me,” Bryan adds. “I’m happy because they all deserve it too! We are all going to have more space. And my brother and sister, they aren’t going to have to grow up like me—they are going to have their own place in our house.” 

The dream feels within reach the more that time has passed. Jesus and Santa have already completed over half of their sweat equity and have loved their experience working at the build site. “Their boss tells them that they are the best workers they have!” Byran says, beaming. “It’s kind of like when they go to my school and hear something good about me, they feel good. But now I see the picture of them building, and I get to be the proud one!” 

For Jesus, home is where the family begins, and living together in a home is a way to learn love and respect for one another. “The house is the most important part of the family. And the good thing is that we are not alone. Habitat is with us!” Jesus explains. “Each day we are happier than the last day, and each day we learn something new.” 

Jesus sees the home as the body, and each member of the family as a cell—small but important—and that each cell interconnects to make the body strong and healthy. He says the Habitat build site is like that too. “There are different people working, working with the lights, working with the plumbing—but we’re all working together for one thing: a good house!” 

Help Jesus build his home!

When you join hands with hardworking families, you build more than four walls and a roof. You give a family the chance for a safe start in a stable home.

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