Last month, two more Habitat Chicago homebuyers took critical steps in accomplishing their goals of homeownership. On Saturday, December 15th, Tonya and Aphriditie cut the ribbons on the doors to their brand new homes surrounded by family, friends, supporters, and volunteers who all came together in celebration of the hard work, determination, and perseverance that brought them to this momentous day.


Over the past year, Tonya and Aphriditie have each volunteered over 250 volunteer hours through homeownership education classes and physically building their homes in West Pullman, all while maintaining their full-time careers and caring for their families. Moreover, Tonya returned to school to earn her Business Degree and Aphriditie and her fiancé Webster welcomed their second child, Athena.


A big year for these families called for a big dedication celebration. In case you missed the event, here are some of the top moments that made the day truly special: 


>> Habitat Chicago Executive Director Jennifer Parks kicked off the ceremony with a welcome speech highlighting the significance of the completion of these two homes. Tonya’s and Aphriditie’s homes were built on the 15th and 16th plots of land at 119th and S Union, symbolizing a culmination of the original purchase of 16 lots made by Habitat Chicago in West Pullman.


>> Shahid Barkat from Cisco introduced Tonya and her family, describing what an honor it was for him to witness Tonya’s enthusiasm and hard work on the build site. Cisco played a key role in funding Tonya’s home through their participation in The House That Tech Built. Tonya then took the microphone to thank family, friends, and volunteers for supporting her throughout her journey. “Since I joined the Habitat program, I’ve lost 90 pounds, returned to school, and saved enough money to buy a car. New year, new body, new car, new home, new me,” Tonya proudly joked.


>> Tony Escobar introduced Aphriditie on behalf of Thrivent Financial, the corporate sponsor of Aphriditie’s home, saying that “it was an honor for the Thrivent family to serve Aphriditie's.” Aphriditie then expressed her family’s wholehearted gratitude to the Habitat Chicago community and stated with confidence that they are now in a position to open savings accounts for their children.


>> Tonya’s sister, Johnetta, led the ribbon-cutting ceremony, a staple of every Habitat Chicago home dedication. Everyone in attendance gathered in front of the two houses to watch as Tonya’s daughter, Kayli, and Aphriditie’s son, Ares, cut the ribbons and took their first steps into the finished homes.


>> Friends, family, and guests soon followed suit, flooding into the homes to take a tour, eat lunch, capture countless photos, and connect with fellow supporters. While touring one of the homes, Rohit Agarwal, a member of the Habitat Chicago Emerging Leaders Board, said that “attending this event is inspiring and I feel privileged to witness everyone’s passion for the Habitat mission.”


Following the dedication, Tonya and Aphriditie completed their home walk-throughs. Tonya officially closed on January 10th and Aphriditie is preparing to close on January 30th.


Habitat Chicago would like to thank everyone who played a part in making Tonya’s and Aphriditie’s dreams a reality. Thank you for your continued support and commitment to our shared vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.


If we missed you on Dedication Day, be sure check out the Dedication photo album on our Facebook page!



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