“If you had told me two years ago that my family would not only have a place to call home, but a place that truly feels like home I would have accused you of lying,” said 17-year-old Carol Saunders on Sunday.
This was at her new home dedication ceremony, hosted at the house by Habitat for Humanity — Coosa Valley. It will be home to her mom, Keesha Ware, her three brothers and sisters, and two younger cousins.
About 50 friends and family members, along with volunteers, came to Ware’s new home dedication on Sunday to support her family.
“I love it,” said Ware of the new home in North Rome. Prior to this, Ware said her living situation was not good for her children. “They stayed inside for almost two years. The neighborhood wasn’t safe. Kids used to carry knives and put homemade bombs in front of our door.”
Saunders, Ware’s oldest daughter, said she doesn’t remember a day where her mom wasn’t stressed out about secure housing. Since she’s the oldest of the children, she’s always felt responsible for her younger siblings and tried to take a little bit of stress off of Ware.
“There’s not a day that goes by where my mom doesn’t talk about our forever home,” said Saunders. “I realize that my mom is the cornerstone of this house and all the ones before. I’m so grateful for my mom, who has taught me to never give up.”
The new home is special in another way, since they were expected to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity during construction. The work began in April and it took about seven months to build the house. Over 100 volunteers gave their time. Betsy Allgood, the executive director for Coosa Valley’s Habitat for Humanity, said Ware made the time worth it.
“Keesha has the biggest heart,” said Allgood. “She only wants the best for (her kids). She wants to make a change in the cycle of their lifestyle.”
The family is most excited about the kitchen. Before moving into North Rome, Saunders said the family had gone without a stove for about eight months.
“We learned to cook in crock pots and microwaves,” she said. While she still has a taste for crock pot meals, she said she’s excited to bake peanut butter cookies and sugar cookies in the kitchen.
Saunders is a senior at Rome High School and will be leaving for her next stop in her career. She’s hoping to join the military, then head to college afterward.
“Although I’m leaving in only a few short months,” she said, “I’m leaving knowing that my home is here.”