Sunday's reunion invited families who have moved into homes thanks to the Habitat program over the past 25 years to meet with people currently in the process of building their futures. Results of a study done by Habitat through the Weldon Cooper Center at the University of Virginia were also unveiled at the picnic. The study gauged how new homeownership affected the families over time.
Hundreds showed to share their stories.
"I did it, you know, it's a lot of people who would have known me a few years ago that would have thought there's no way that Sheron is building her house. So just the pride that I actually did it,” said Sheron Sinclair, becoming a homeowner.
Through the program, all the families had to put hours of work into their own homes with the help of volunteers.
Harold Folley says it was his parents that gave him the motivation to apply for Habitat.
"My mother and father actually moved into a home, you know, and that was kind of the beginning of my dream, knowing that my parents can get a home and I can get one also,” said Folley, three-year homeowner.
Another woman says she is the first in her family to own a home.
"Now my sisters and my brothers are also looking into getting homes as well, which is a really good thing so they can leave a legacy for their children as well,” said Turner, becoming a homeowner.
Habitat for Humanity CEO Dan Rosensweig announced the findings of the organization's new impact study at the event. He says preliminary results are better than expected.
“We asked some other qualitative questions such as 'Do you feel better or worse about yourself after moving into a home?' and this was staggering. Of the 69 respondents, 68 said that their lives had gotten better,” said Rosensweig.
Rosensweig says the reunion shows how many people have benefited from the program.
"We're just so grateful for this whole entire community for coming together on a daily basis to make all of these dreams come true,” said Rosensweig.
The official results of that study are expected to be released later this year. The organization already has plans to host another family reunion picnic next year.
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