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A big boost for Alton Habitat

Applications are Now Being Accepted


Former L&C Student Moving Into Habitat for Humanity Home Constructed By L&C Students

Lori Artis
Click Here to read original article!
Godfrey, Ill. – The Alton Area Habitat for Humanity will dedicate a new home and hand over the keys to Shaune and Micah Scruggs on Thursday, July 28.For the Scruggs family, the move is a dream come true, and for Micah, it’s a reminder of the important role that Lewis and Clark Community College continues to play in her life.

Micah Scruggs is a graduate of the college’s adult education program – the same program whose students rehabbed the house that her family will soon call home.

“I would have never thought that I would run into my instructors from the GED preparation courses I took at Lewis and Clark while filling out an application for the Habitat for Humanity home,” she said. “I am truly humbled and grateful for this opportunity. Lewis and Clark’s Val Harris and Nancy Johnson really encouraged me while I was a student in the adult education program.”

After receiving her GED through Lewis and Clark, Micah went on to obtain an associate’s degree and complete some CPA training. She is currently employed by Liberty Tax. Shaune, a Navy veteran, is currently employed with Whelan Security. The family of four includes their two young sons: Mauriyon, 3, and Shaune Jr., 5.

“I don’t want money or any of the selfish materialistic things in life - just the chance to take care of my family and raise my children in an environment where they can learn, play, and just be happy like normal kids,” Shaune Scruggs said. “Having a home will provide this environment.”

Jim Hanlon, president of the Alton Area Habitat for Humanity chapter, is excited about the new partnership between Habitat and L&C’s YouthBuild program.

“We are looking forward to future builds and to creating something special in the Alton area similar to other partnerships in the nation that exist between YouthBuild students and local Habitats,” he said.

Lewis and Clark Community College’s YouthBuild Program has served more than 70 students since it began in 2009. The YouthBuild Program, in partnership with Madison County Community Development, the City of Alton and Greater Alton Community Development funded the rehabilitation of the house located in Alton also in 2009. Since that time, the students in the YouthBuild program have been tasked with this extensive reconstruction project.

“It started with the first group of students who took part in the demolition and deconstruction of the house,” said Val Harris, Lewis and Clark’s director of Adult Education. “They basically gutted the house down to the studs, preparing the house for the major reconstruction process.”

A total of four different cohorts of students have each played a significant role in this home reconstruction project. L&C YouthBuild Program Manager Stephanie Gill said the program is a significant opportunity for at-risk youth in the area.

“The goal of YouthBuild is to reach out to those students who have dropped out of high school, and provide them with a second chance and a valuable career path,” Gill said.

The students range in age from 16-24 and are taught in a contextualized format.

“The entire curriculum is geared around the construction trades program so they are learning reading, writing and math as they relate to the construction process,” Gill said. “They are increasing their basic skill levels in these fundamental areas while also learning all of the components of this valuable trade.”

Gill said the program also focuses on green construction, providing the students with the latest technologies related to sustainable building products and systems.

In addition to the remodel project, the students have also completed other service projects including the renovation of their own program space in the former St. Patrick’s building, the development of a garden at the St. Patrick’s Community Learning Center, volunteering at the homeless shelter and cleaning up an area neighborhood.

“We are just so pleased at all of the components that the students in the YouthBuild Program have learned – leadership, career development, community service, environmental awareness and case management – all while preparing them for their GED test and a future career,” Harris said. “We are excited to see the nearly two years of work for these students come to fruition, and we couldn’t be more happy to know that we are not only providing a great house for one of our community members, but to know that we are serving one of our former students. It really brings everything full circle for the Adult Education Department at Lewis and Clark and we couldn’t be more thrilled.”

The dedication ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 28 in front of the Scruggs new home in Alton. For more information contact Harris at (618) 468-4100.

Habitat recipient overjoyed at new home

The Telegraph - Click Here to read the original article!

Home blessing

For The Telegraph/JAMES B. RITTER

ALTON -More than a year ago, Shelby Maholland embarked upon fulfilling the American dream of having her own home for her young family.

The single mom stood in her new house in the 1100 block of Wallace Street in Alton, while Alton Area Habitat for Humanity board members, volunteers and friends blessed the house at a home dedication Sunday. Maholland learned about Alton Area Habitat for Humanity after she read in a newspaper about how the nonprofit organization helped a Roxana woman get a house with a no-interest, affordable mortgage.

Maholland Googled the name of the national organization and learned about the Alton Area Habitat for Humanity group, called them up, and they put her name on a list for consideration during the selection process for their next new construction project. Since then, her family of two, made up of Maholland and her son Rylan, 4, grew to include her 6-month-old son, Braylon.

At the time, she rented a small house. But Maholland, who works at Saint Anthony's Physicians Group on the campus of Saint Anthony's Health Center, stood proudly Sunday in a new, spacious inviting abode.

After Upper Alton Baptist Church's the Rev. Brad Donoho, who also is the Alton Area Habitat for Humanity Family Committee chair, led Sunday's home dedication and prayer, he invited Maholland to address the guests standing in her living room. The Family Committee is involved in choosing a Habitat for Humanity house recipient through a selection process, which began last spring, and by mid-summer they chose Maholland.

"Yes, I'm trying not to cry," she said, as she choked up, when Donoho asked if she wanted to speak. "Without you guys, I wouldn't be able to live in a home this nice as young as I am; I appreciate each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart."

The three criteria that recipients must meet are: the need for adequate housing; the ability to pay the mortgage, although it's reduced because of volunteer support and it's interest-free; and willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity by learning different aspects of owning a home, doing handiwork and putting in 300 sweat equity hours. Family and friends can fulfill some of those hours for the recipients.

During the dedication ceremony, all present were invited to lay hands on the house while Donoho pronounced the blessings for the house and each of its rooms.

During the litany of dedication, guests of different denominations responded after each pronouncement, "We dedicate this home, God." They followed the litany with the Lord's Prayer, and each person said the prayer as they learned it within their denominations.

After Donoho presented Maholland with a Bible for the whole family, he gave Maholland a second Bible, written for children.

Maholland's oldest son cut ribbons that were Habitat for Humanity's signature colors - green and blue - and stretched across the hallway leading to the bedrooms and bathroom.

"She's so resourceful; that's why I'm so proud of her," Maholland's best friend, Amanda Frey, said as she held Maholland's youngest son. "She's got it together and always doing things for her kids. I watch how hard she works."

As has almost become a tradition for Alton Area Habitat for Humanity, The Women's Missionary Union of Illinois, made up of Baptist women from around the state, built the 1,170-square-foot home for Maholland. They also built the Alton group's previous projects for its recipients.

"They did all the work; 19 women worked that week," Alton Area Habitat for Humanity President Jim Hanlon said. "They like working with our group around here."

Last year, the Alton group did a rehabilitation project with Lewis and Clark Community College, and three years ago they built their first new house in Alton.

Volunteers laid the foundation for Maholland's house last Aug. 25, and construction began a few weeks later on Sept. 10. The Alton area group included foam insulation in Maholland's house, thanks to a grant from Phillips 66.

"It's 50 percent better than conventional insulation, and we could do that because of their generosity," Hanlon said.

He also thanked the city of Alton, the city's Zoning Board and the Alton Street Department for their help during construction.

Now, Alton Area Habitat for Humanity will refocus its efforts on fund-raising for its next either new build or rehabilitation project.

"Our goal is to do one project a year," Hanlon said.

The group is negotiating for the lot next to Maholland's house.

For more information about Alton Area Habitat for Humanity, visit the website at

SHOWING HUMANITY Women take up tools for home-building project

By CYNTHIA M. ELLIS - The Telegraph - Click Here to see original article!

Habitat for Humanity

The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN

ALTON — Heavy pounding infused a quiet neighborhood Monday as a group of volunteers began installing the walls to the city’s newest Habitat for Humanity house.

“Smack! Thwack! Whack!” went the clatter of nearly a dozen hammers as they echoed along Wallace Street.

The Women’s Missionary Union of Illinois started hammering away on the 1,170-square-foot house being built for Shelby Maholland.

Maholland climbed up and down a ladder, working right alongside the 17 women and other volunteers and board members, including some men, with the Piasa/Alton Area Chapter for Habitat for Humanity.

“I’m excited to be here,” the 22-year-old Maholland said.

Maholland said when she first found out that she had been selected as the homeowner she was speechless. The mother of a 4-year-old and 1-month-old said when she received the call she started screaming and jumping up and down.

“My son didn’t know what was going on,” she said.

Jim Hanlon, president of the habitat chapter, said the goal is to get Maholland into the house by Christmas. He said Maholland’s house at 1120 Wallace St. is third house that the habitat chapter has built during the past five years.

When the missionary group arrived this week the only thing that was on the lot was the concrete foundation for the house.

Nancy Whitlow of Godfrey project coordinator for the women’s group, said the women quickly got to work putting up the framed walls that had been built prior to their arrival.

Hanlon said that prisoners from Southwest Illinois Correctional Center in East St. Louis constructed the walls.

“It’s part of the prisoner training program and we are pretty pleased that they were able to assist,” Hanlon said.

Not only did they put together the walls for the house, but the coordinator for the program David Carr, and several prisoners were on site to deliver and offload them.

“I think the program is a good thing, especially when it assists organizations such as ours,” he said.

The missionary group will install the frame, side and roof of the three-bedroom structure.

Whitlow said that other volunteers will do the inside work, She said this was the eighth build for the missionary group.

“We’ve helped build two houses in Wood River, two in South Roxana and this is our third in Alton,” Whitlow said.

Whitlow said those who come quickly learn the skills the need. There are some who have never helped build a home before, but when they are done they’ve gained the skills including the use power tools, she said.

Those with the missionary group pay their own transportation and lodging expenses on every build, plus make a monetary donation toward the project. Area churches provided the group with lunch and dinner each day of the build.

“We can’t thank them enough for their help,” she said.

The missionary union is the largest Protestant missions organization worldwide with one million members; WMU is an auxiliary of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Whitlow said in 2002 the women became the first chapter (of WMU) to build in Ghana, West Africa.

“Most of the women who work on house take vacation to do so,” Whitlow said. “They really look forward to it. The weather this week has turned out great for it too.

Maholland will be approved for a zero percent loan for less than $50,000. Criteria for receiving a Habitat loan are that recipients do not qualify for conventional financing, plus they are required to complete 300 hours of sweat equity with the organization as part of the agreement.

Hanlon said volunteers and donations are always accepted and can send requests to help or bequests to the chapter to P.O. Box 3084, Alton, Ill. 62002. He said that the chapter is planning in the near future for a

Maholland, who works in the office of Saint Anthony’s Physician’s Group, planned to be on site of her new house throughout the week. She said she is so excited about being able to help out, plus the fact that she is able to buy her first house.

“It’s just really wonderful,” she said.

Cause For Applause

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In addition to building homes in partnership with families in need, Habitat for Humanity advocates for policies and legislation that will give even more families an opportunity to live in safe, decent and affordable homes.

We need you to join us by taking action. Contacting your elected officials is one of the most effective ways to make your voice heard.

Helping Hands

As a volunteer shelter coordinator, Houston native Mike Firenza helped provide clothing and other supplies to thousands of Hurricane Katrina evacuees, meeting them, he says, as they lumbered off the buses, confused, devastated, homeless and dejected.

Now he’s making a different impact: helping provide long-term recovery by leading a construction crew that’s building Habitat house frames in downtown Houston this week

Welcome To Our Community

Habitat for Humanity is changing lives. Working in partnership with low-income families to build decent homes they can afford to buy, Habitat helps to break the cycle of poverty and hopelessness. By the end of 2005, more than 1 million people worldwide will live in decent, affordable Habitat for Humanity houses .