Single Moms Grateful for a New Start in Life

October 16, 2007|By SUSIE SAGER MASON

Melissha Vaughn is a 26-year-old single mom of three young girls. She and her daughters, Alexia, 7, Aaliyah, 5, and Amiya, 16 months, will be moving into their new home built by Habitat for Humanity - the 25th built in this area - by November. They are thrilled, and Vaughn feels extremely fortunate.

Their new house will have a living room, dining room, kitchen, a washer and dryer off the kitchen, three bedrooms, a bathroom and a big backyard. It's the yard the family is most excited about.

Alexia, who will be going into the second grade, is transferring from Lincolnshire Elementary School to Potomac Heights after their move. Asked about her new backyard, Alexia said with excitement, "We're going to have a swing, a swimming pool, and a moon bounce. The backyard will be as big as an elephant."

"Bigger than an elephant," said Aaliyah.

Mom smiled when Alexia added, "We can be outside so we won't get on Mommy's nerves."


Vaughn, raised in Hagerstown and a graduate of South High, works as a teller in a local credit union. She has been living in subsidized housing for eight years and is very much looking forward to moving.

"The last 10 years have been rough, and I feel so fortunate now for everything that's happening in my life," said Vaughn. "I've been at the bottom, and I learned that when you're there, there is nowhere to go but up.

"I want everyone to know I am a single mother who works very hard. I am blessed to have three healthy children, even though it isn't always easy. I take care of everything.

"My mother, who babysits for my children while I'm at work, has become my best friend. She has always been there for me and helped me with whatever I've needed," Vaughn said. "She even hung in there with me during my teenage years.

"I am very fortunate to have found Habitat for Humanity. I've been helping to build my home, and that's so special. The new people I have met there feel like part of my family. I'm thankful they have this program. There is so much a mother wants to give her kids, so much I want to give my girls."

Melissa Williams, 41, has lived in her Habitat for Humanity home across from the Fairground Park since December 2001 with her daughter, Shawniece, 19, and son, Jordan, 12.

"I love my home and was ecstatic to get it. I thank God. It is a real blessing. I love this area," said Williams. Her home is nicely landscaped and beautifully decorated. One can see she is a proud homeowner.

A 1984 graduate of South High, Williams explained she has always worked, living paycheck to paycheck.

"I've never been married and have struggled as a single mom. I've pretty much done it all on my own," Williams said.

Williams has worked for Citicorp Family Center for 10 years. She works in the Infant and Toddler Program and enjoys her work. She takes courses at HCC and would like to earn her AA Degree in Early Childhood.

The family enjoys living across from the fairground, where Williams walks three miles a day and where she and her son ride their bikes. Jordan also enjoys going over to watch ballgames.

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit Christian housing ministry. Habitat invites people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need. The organization builds houses around the world and accomplishes its work at the community level by working with affiliates, which are independent, locally run, nonprofit organizations.

Habitat for Humanity of Washington County is headed by Sherry Brown Cooper, executive director. Both Vaughn and Williams applied to the local affiliate and had to qualify to buy a home based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program and their ability to repay the loan.

Habitat is not a giveaway program. In addition to a down payment and the monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor into building their Habitat house and the houses of others.

The Herald-Mail Articles