Hometown Habitat News

Journey to Homeownership: Meet new Homeowner Kim Marquad

Journal Entries courtesy of Kim Marquad, June 1st, 2024

During her time in the Habitat New Homeownership program, new homeowner Kim Marquad kept a journal. She details what it was like applying for a Habitat Home, how she fulfilled her sweat equity requirements volunteering on-site, and what owning her own home means to her.

January 31st, 2024

Our journey with Habitat for Humanity began in 2022. After graduating from UCF, I moved with my mother to Lady Lake from Orlando for my job. My mother – who always dreamed of owning a home – and I had been renting rooms since moving to America in 2015, trying to save money for college. We moved seven times due to rent increases or owners selling the homes. Finally, with our current place, we each had our own bedroom and a living space instead of sharing one room. Although it felt like we had settled in, we knew we might have to move soon. My mother, two generations older than me, was exhausted from moving around and just wanted peace of mind and a garden for her herbs and flowers. I was upset that my salary wasn’t enough to provide stability for my elderly mother. While searching for low-income housing options, I stumbled upon Habitat for Humanity.

 Our first application fell through, but Veronica, who supported us every step of the way, encouraged us to reapply the next year. With my mother’s hopes high, I reminded her not to get too hopeful as many other families needed homes. Despite this, I thanked God for our ability to sustain ourselves with a roof over our heads. Then, I got a call from Veronica saying we had been selected for a home, and I was in shock, that moment was super exciting for me and my mom.  I immediately shared the good news with my mother. We are incredibly grateful for this amazing opportunity and will do our best to pay back and pay forward for what we have been given.


February 16th, 2024

Saturday, February 10th,  was the day of house painting, and I was excited because I had not yet seen our future house. I arrived early and met Lacie, Danielle, and Bob, who greeted me warmly, and Bob gave me a tour of the house. Sometimes, I still can’t believe that we will finally have our own home. As more people arrived, including my mother with her two friends, I was surprised by the large crowd that came to help us, it was joyful. It was an honor to have mayors from Groveland, Mascotte, and Clermont, along with other officials, electives, and Habitat Homeowners, making it quite crowded. We stood in a circle, introducing ourselves and taking pictures together before pairing off, one with a paint bucket and roller, the other with a paintbrush. Chatting with the volunteers as we moved around the house, we gave it its new color and finished within two hours, ahead of schedule.

Thanks to Habitat for Humanity and my mum, we had snacks and beverages to nourish ourselves with, and the warm day made it even more enjoyable. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who spent time with us that day and helped us with our Sweat Equity. If you are unfamiliar with Sweat Equity, it is another term for volunteer hours. Future homeowners will participate for 200 hours which can be earned by participating in any of the events, assisting at any of the ReStore locations, working on construction sites, attending meetings with the Habitat team, and many more opportunities that is provided by the Habitat for Humanity.


March 24th, 2024

Today was a sod laying day for our future home! My mother and I joined a team from Habitat, the First Baptist Church of Mascotte, and a group from AmeriCorps to lay the sod, feeling thankful to the late Pastor Felix for donating the land that our house was built on, as today also honored his birthday. With the help of so many people, the hours of harmonious work flew by as everyone helped each other, getting to know one another while working. Thankfully, the weather was nice, with a cooling breeze and no rain.

Everyone worked in small groups, but in the end, we all joined together for the last section which is for finishing much faster than anticipated. My mother and I felt incredibly blessed and grateful for all the support from all the different communities, the late Pastor Felix, and Habitat for Humanity for fulfilling our dream of becoming homeowners soon.


April 27th, 2024

Today, I volunteered with Habitat for Humanity at Michael’s Foundation for their resource fair event. I met Dakota’s and Ashley’s family, along with Dave who managed the booth. Though I had looked up Michael’s Foundation online, I didn’t expect everything to be so big and beautiful. The sunny day, with occasional breezes, featured beautiful horses, numerous vendors, and many veterans. We provided information to quite a few people and enjoyed a lovely horse show presented by Camp McCormick. We even got to meet and greet the horses personally. The atmosphere was uplifting with music, food, and drinks.

I chatted with Dakota and Ashley, discussing their homes and recent home dedication. The resource fair offered help with housing, law, therapy, and had activities for veterans’ children like a scavenger hunt and coloring. Overall, it was a successful day for everyone!


May 7, 2024

We had our home dedication! Lots of people came and we felt so grateful and happy! Thank you, Danielle Stroud, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter for the welcoming speech and introducing everyone. We are thankful for Pastor Adel Ramirez, for his prayer, and for his late father who donated the land our home was built on. Our gratitude goes to the main sponsor, White Aluminum and Siding, whose CEO, Bud Dorman, was there in person to represent! We were very much overwhelmed and touched by all the supporting representatives from Habitat for Humanity, such as Veronica Troxell, who helped us so much, Brad Weber, who is Board Vice-Chair with Habitat for Humanity, Allen Lane from Sons of the American Revolution who presented us with the flag, Marta Ramirez from College and Career Readiness of Lake County School, Altereque Baker, also from White Aluminum and former YCA student, and of course, last but not least, all the South Lake High School students who helped build our home, and everyone else from the community who attended! We are so thankful from the bottom of our hearts that you came to celebrate with us and be a part of our journey to become future homeowners!