Sandra Sample’s dream came wrapped in periwinkle blue, guarded by an American flag and surrounded by a wooden fence.
It was a gift of love, one built by women for this woman, to help her give her children and grandchildren a place of shelter, strength and hope.
“Love is … to build a house, and it becomes a home,” Jeni Davidson of Habitat for Humanity said in blessing the first home Sample has ever owned.
Sample’s house on 37th Street was the 195th house built by Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County and the product of this year’s Women Build program, which Habitat runs with Lowe’s.
Timed around Mother’s Day, 18 teams involving more than 200 women helped raise walls, install windows and even shingle the roof of the one-story structure.
“Together this project has been powered by women, funded by women and has resulted in empowering women,” said Amy Brand, the Habitat chapter’s chief development officer.
Habitat chose Sample, a 45-year-old sales associate at Wal-Mart in Lake Park, for the honor. Bernard Godek, Chief Executive Officer for Habitat of Humanity, said Sandra’s desire to provide stability for her children and grandchildren impressed the selection committee. Her children, Monte Graham, 17, and Monteria Graham, 25, and her grandson, Jaylen Eubanks, 4, will live with her.
“She’s had this dream her whole life, and now she can live it,” Monteria said.
To qualify, Sample had to attend a nine-week course on home ownership, covering topics as diverse as debt consolidation and gardening. She also had to put 400 hours of sweat-equity into building other Habitat homes.
Sample received a 30-year, interest-free mortgage with monthly payments of $500 for the 1,800 square-foot home.
Monteria said he is most looking forward to having her own room apart from Jaylen, who’ll now have a backyard in which he can play.
Sandra said Jaylen has been begging for a pet. “He likes fishes and dogs,” she said, adding that she may just buy a fish tank.
Other Habitat families may soon be joining the Samples in the area. Godek said that for the next three to five years, the nonprofit is targeting families in Coleman Park, the Historic Northwest district and Pleasant City neighborhoods.
Sandra Sample may well have a hand in building them. She said she will continue to volunteer as a way to give thanks.
“I know there is a blessing waiting for another family,” she said.