Work makes home sweeter

September 17, 2007|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN - The adults dedicated 52 Wayside Ave. with prayers and hymns; 7-year-old Alexcia Russ dedicated it with cartwheels.

For Alexcia and her sisters, Aaliyah Russ, 5, and Amiya Russ, 19 months, the house, constructed by volunteers from Habitat for Humanity of Washington County, will mean the first time they've had their own backyard in which to play.

Until now, they have lived with their mother, Melissha Vaughn, in public housing in Noland Village, where there's no yard, shootings are a common occurrence and a woman was murdered a few doors down, Vaughn said.

"I always made a promise to myself that by the time they got to a certain age, I'd find a better environment to raise them in," Vaughn said.


Now, after six months of hammering, lifting, sanding and painting with the group of volunteers, Vaughn has found a way to make good on that promise to her children.

Vaughn put in 500 hours of "sweat equity" and will repay Habitat for Humanity through a no-interest loan, said Sherry Brown Cooper, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Washington County.

The house was the second one built in Washington County by "Women Build," an international Habitat for Humanity program in which women and girls do the building.

The structure is more than a roof and walls, Vaughn said.

"There are a lot of kids who don't work for what they get," Vaughn said. "But that's what makes it more of a home. I hope to pass that down to my daughters - that working for something makes it so much more meaningful and valuable."

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