Parks Family

Jennifer ParksMy name is Jennie. I have a 17-year old son, Anthony and a 12-year old daughter, Raissa. We have lived in Sun Prairie for 12 years. My son Anthony is a junior at the Sun Prairie High School. He loves basketball and football, and has played both sports since kindergarten. He is a great son and friend, who makes me proud each day!

My daughter Raissa is a 6th grader at Patrick Marsh Middle School. She enjoys music and spending time with her friends. She was awarded a 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. Outstanding Person Award for her kindness to others and volunteer work in the community.  As a family we enjoy watching movies together, traveling to historic places and going to Sun Prairie Cardinal Sporting events. Go Cardinals!

In addition to working full time, I also volunteer in my community. One organization that is close to my heart is the Sun Prairie Skateboard Park Committee. Right now we are fundraising to expand the skateboard park by offering beginner skateboard lessons through the Sun Prairie Parks and Recreation Department. I also am the Secretary of the Sun Prairie Youth and Families Commission. The Youth and Families Commission’s duty is to increase the community’s awareness of the positive contributions made to the community by youth and families and to help groups within the city to work on making Sun Prairie a better place for the city’s youth and families. I was introduced to Habitat for Humanity when a speaker came to talk to the Youth and Families Commission about the program. It was then I realized that I might meet the criteria as a potential homeowner.

We moved to Sun Prairie in 2002 from a very dangerous neighborhood in another city. The last straw for us was in April of 2002 when Raissa was one-month old. I was standing in my living room rocking her in front of the window when gunfire erupted about 20 feet from where I was standing. I screamed and jumped to the floor with her. Then my son, who was 5 at the time, ran to the living room to see why I screamed and I had to pull him to the floor also. I am very thankful that we were not playing outside in the yard that day.

The move to Sun Prairie changed our lives. I feel like this community saved our lives and we are grateful to soon be homeowners here. As my children grow up and create their own paths in life, Sun Prairie will always be their home. We are invested in this community and will continue to look for opportunities to help others.

We look forward to home ownership and I can’t wait to start a vegetable garden with my mom and work on building projects with my dad. Home ownership means we will always have a place to gather now and for future generations. Owning a home will also make my future dream of becoming a foster parent a reality. We are excited to start the process of building our home and creating lifelong bonds with everyone involved.

On behalf of my family and extended family, we thank from the bottom of our hearts, Habitat for Humanity of Dane County, our sponsors Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and CUNA Mutual Group and the many volunteers who are making this dream come true. THANK YOU!


Janisch Family

969 Cherreka ZoeyHi we are the Janisch family. We have 3 children our oldest child is in high school, the middle child is in elementary school and our youngest is in pre-school.

In 2012, I was watching television and the commercial kept coming on about Habitat. We asked our friends and family if they heard of Habitat? Then one of my family members called and said that one of their co-workers had their home built with Habitat. My husband and I looked Habitat up online but did nothing. A year later, we are living in a rental home and our lease was up at the end of May. We started looking for another place before our lease was up and we could not find anything. We decided to buy a house. We were approved for a home, but it would not work for our family. We were running out of time. One day we were watching T.V. again and the commercial about Habitat kept coming on. I told my husband God is trying to tell us something. We only had a week left to get our paperwork into Habitat. So we filled out the paperwork, mailed it off and prayed. A week later, I received a phone call from Habitat telling me our application has been approved. I was shocked! WHAT? Oh my God, Oh my God. My co-teacher didn’t know what was going on she thought something bad happened. I was so excited. When I got off the phone my boss had to come in and looked at me because I was still in shock. She asked me if I was o.k? I nod my head yes. I told them I have some good news but I need to talk to my husband first. My boss told me to hurry up and call him, we want to know the good news too. So I got a hold of my husband and he was so happy. He told me I am so glad we didn’t give up. Now we need to give it God and believe he will make a way. When I came back in the room I told my boss and my co-worker then we all were yelling.

Before we found out we were approved for a Habitat home, we moved into my mom’s basement. We had to put our stuff in storage, which was very difficult. Here we are a family of five living in a basement that was cold. After we found out we were approved for Habitat, we told my mom we would be moving out soon. She was so excited for us.

Praise the Lord, we said, we are finally getting our own home. Thank you Jesus! Thank you Habitat for Humanity and all the volunteers

The Janisch Family

Kisely Family

My name is Julie Kisely, and I am a single mother to two wonderful children.  My daughter Katie is 10 years old and loves gymnastics, plays the viola in the school orchestra, and is very bright and energetic.  My son Lane is a curious and determined eight year old and loves riding his bike and scooter, and especially loves saving the earth through recycling!

We come from a military background.  As most typical military families, we moved frequently. By the time Katie was 18 months old, she had lived in three states.  Shortly after the military gave us orders to move to Wisconsin, I found myself divorced.  I was a single non-working parent for the first time in my life. I was able to find a job, but it didn’t pay very much.  I had been out of the workforce as a stay-at-home mom during my marriage and didn’t have the work experience to compete for a higher-level job.

We moved into a rental home, but two years later we had to downsize because I couldn’t afford to live there anymore.  We lived in a rental duplex for a year before moving again, because once again- money was too tight.  We finally moved in with a friend to cut costs.  Katie sighed and muttered that we would probably have to move again in another year or two.  She didn’t want to move again.  By now she had lived in 6 homes.

Moving around has been doubly hard because Lane has multiple behavioral concerns and diagnoses. Stability and predictability is key to his well-being and self-regulation. We have chosen to stay in Dane County to get the best services available to him. Dane County is a rather expensive place to live, however, and it has been hard to find something affordable that isn’t in a sketchy neighborhood.

A friend of ours from church lived in a Habitat for Humanity of Dane County house, and she suggested that I attend an informational meeting.  I figured it couldn’t hurt to go, and maybe this was the path that God had intended for us.  How fortunate and blessed to be chosen to partner with HFHDC to build a home that we can settle down in and really feel “at home”! My family will not need to keep moving every year or two anymore.  We will finally have the stability that we have been longing for in our lives!

I cannot thank Habitat for Humanity of Dane County, the wonderful sponsors/donors or the volunteers enough for their service and dedication to such a great organization and cause! It is because of you that our family’s dream of becoming homeowners is coming to fruition! I look forward to working with you even more through the construction of our home, and am excited to one day have the opportunity to pay it forward by working with HFHDC both locally and internationally!



First and foremost, I want to thank Habitat for Humanity of Dane County and all of its employees and volunteers. This is quite possibly the greatest opportunity that I have ever received, to be selected to work with Habitat for Humanity to build my home. I have always dreamed of owning my own home, but never thought that I would be able to accomplish my goal.

I have always been very independent, and have never been one to ask for help. But with a stalled economy comes great challenges. When most of your income goes to rent, it is very hard to make ends meet, let alone try to put together enough to buy your own home. I never thought that, as a single person, there would be any opportunities for me to get any help. Thank goodness for Habitat for Humanity! If not for them, I don’t think I would be able to stay in Dane County.

I am so grateful to Habitat for Humanity of Dane County to accept me into their program. I am looking forward to working with them and all of the fantastic volunteers in building not only my home, but helping to build other homes in other communities. To be able to have my parents, and my brothers and their families come to visit, in a home that I helped to build, will fill me with a sense of accomplishment unlike any I have ever felt before. I can’t think of enough ways to say or show just how grateful I am for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Todd Barwick

Ndoye Family

Hello to everyone. I would like to introduce my family, the NDOYE family. My name is Ahmadou, my wife’s name is Thiaba and we have four girls: Soukeye (13), Khary (6), Bineta (4) and Fatou Safiya (9 months). They are all growing up happy and healthy. Soukeye, our oldest is very responsible. She loves to go to school and learn, she is sociable and has a lot of friends. She is very helpful to the family by babysitting her younger sisters. Khary, a first grader, loves to draw and to play with her dolls. She listens carefully and asks many questions. Bineta, very energetic and playful, loves to tell funny stories. She teases everyone in the house and makes a fuss. Fatou Safiya is the youngest, she is always happy and is very adorable. It is an exciting experience to raise such wonderful girls.

We are a simple family who lives a simple life; we try to live within our means. We are not rich but very happy with our life. As a family, we value hard work, self-sufficiency and sharing with the less fortunate. We never give up when confronting difficulties, we always face our challenges with dignity and sense of peacefulness. We believe in moral values such as honesty, truth, sincerity and fairness. As parents, we try our best to be good examples of respect, discipline and good manners for our kids. For us, love and compassion are the most important and beautiful qualities in human life. So we have been teaching our children the importance of loving others, even our enemies, of forgetting and forgiving others for their mistakes. We believe in the importance of education and wish that our kid will graduate from college.

We always have dreamed of having a home for our children sake. We believe that a home is the best place to raise a family. It provides that permanent and safe place, kids need to grow up and blossom. We are excited that our dream is becoming true with the help of Habitat for Humanity. Our children are excited that they will have their own house soon and feel free to decorate their rooms and organize their closets. Also they are so happy that they will have a backyard where they can run, play and hang out with their friends.

We would like to thank sincerely Habitat for Humanity for giving us the opportunity to be soon homeowners. We are very thankful and grateful to the Habitat Staff, to all the sponsors and volunteers for making our dream come true.

We are looking forward to meeting with all of you and working together to build our home.


Xiong-Chang Family

About my family:
In 1975, the aftermath of the Vietnam War caused our parents to flee Laos due to persecution.  We were both born in Laos. We were lucky enough to be young and had the privilege of travelling on the back of our parents that were already full of luggage. We had to travel through mountains and jungles; starving and living off of wild gathered plants. While travelling from Laos to Thailand, we walked through fields of dead bodies, witnessing multiple rapes and human rights violation. Once arriving at the border of Laos and Thailand, the gigantic Mekong River still stood in our way. There was no boat and no proper form of transportation across the river; rafts were made out of bamboo trees.

After arriving to the refugee camp in Thailand life was no better off than before. The refugee camp was exactly like a concentration camp. Everyone had curfew and limited excess to the outside world; many people were brutally beaten and tortured. We were not allowed to work or find farm land to grow food. Our lives depended on the United Nation. Every week, we waited patiently for the donated food distribution. We looked towards the sky, waiting for the day when we can regain our freedom and equality.

In 1992 we got married. In 1994, we were blessed with our first child, Vang Xiong. We lived in the slum of Wat Thamkrabok, sub-district of Phra Phutthabat, Saraburi Province, Thailand. In 2005 we immigrated to the Madison, WI United States as refugees. Our family has been in the United States for 8 years and since our arrival, we have lived in subsidized housing. We have always wanted to own a home; however, George is the only one working and we never thought we would be able to reach our dream until we heard of Habitat for Humanity of Dane County. Although we were not sure if we would be one of the lucky applicants, we applied anyways. We are so grateful to be accepted.

Our new life in the USA gave us the opportunity to create a future for our family, specifically our children. Our oldest daughter, the only child we had in Thailand currently attends the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition, we are blessed with an additional four children in the USA. Our children are our hope and our future. We are extremely happy our children are receiving formal education and all the opportunities which we never had.

We want to thank Habitat for Humanity of Dane County, the staff and the volunteers who have given us the opportunity to reach one of our many goals. We have always dreamed of owning a safe and comfortable home for our children; a place that belongs to us, a place we can call our own. We appreciate the kindness and compassion of every staff member and volunteer involved in building sustainable and wonderful homes for families like ours. Thank you once again Habitat of Humanity of Dane County for fulfilling our dream.


Corbett-Strand Family

I am very excited to be working with Habitat for Humanity of Dane County to build a home for my son, Keegan, and me. We have dreamed of having our own home for many years. A coworker told me about Habitat for Humanity and this past Christmas we were told we would be owners of our home.

I am a single mother to my son Keegan, 12. I work third shift, so Keegan spends most night with his grandma and sometimes with his aunt. I am lucky to have the support of my wonderful mother and sister who help watch Keegan so I can work to provide him with everything he needs. Keegan has a special bond with his grandma and enjoys going camping with her during the summer and helping out around her house when he can. Keegan earned his Black Belt in karate from Kicks Unlimited this past April. He had to work hard, be disciplined and be respectful to earn his belt. Keegan is a caring thoughtful boy who tries every day to be the best he can be. He is a great child and I am proud to be the mother of him.

The past year Keegan and I learned how important it is to a person’s mindset and health to have a home you are proud of. We noticed how much harder it is to have a positive outlook on life when you are not happy with where you live. Luckily we were able to stay positive with the help of family and friends and now live in an apartment we feel better in. However, to afford this better place, I have to pick up additional hours at work and so miss out on spending time with Keegan.

I look forward to be able to reduce the hours of overtime I work to afford a house we are proud of. I look forward to the additional time I will be able to spend with Keegan helping to shape him into a caring, responsible adult. The homeowner classes will be so helpful and will give me a step up in feeling as if I can fix/keep up with all the repairs that are needed throughout the years. Keegan is looking forward to being able to paint his room and have a garden. He can’t wait to plant flowers and vegetables.

I want to thank the volunteers and Habitat for Humanity of Dane County for helping make our dream of owning our own house a reality. The volunteers and Habitat for Humanity staff we have met are friendly and have expressed such hope and joy it makes our experience even better than we had imagined. I am excited to share this experience with everyone and have my son learning the joy of giving.

Rebecca Corbett

Schultz Family

My name is Stephanie and I am the proud mother of a beautiful, clever and outgoing little girl named Jayla. We are very excited to be working with Habitat for Humanity of Dane County to build our new home. We are especially appreciative to all of the donors, volunteers and staff of Habitat for Humanity because without them none of this would be possible.

Although I have been working full-time since I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2012, the income I provide to our family has not been enough to purchase an affordable home in an acceptable neighborhood. I have been renting for years and it is disheartening to see thousands of dollars being spent just to live in a place that we do not own.

Owning a home will mean several things to us. It will mean that we have reached a HUGE goal, a secure place for our family, a safe backyard to play in, slumber parties, birthday parties, barbecues and much more. We especially look forward to getting our first puppy, planting a garden, and painting our rooms whatever color we’d like.

Again I want to say THANK YOU to everyone involved, and we look forward to a long-lasting partnership with Habitat for Humanity Dane County!


Stephanie and Jayla Schultz

Ahmeti Family

Hello, my name is Ardian Ahmeti.  I came to the United States in 2006 with my daughter, Anesa from Kosova.  I lived through the war in 1999 in Kosova where my family lost their home and was forced to hide from the Serbian Armies.  I came to the United States so that I could provide a better life for my daughter, Anesa.  I have dreamed of owning my own home for many years.

I have been working at Market Street Bakery for more than 5 years.  Anesa is 8 years old and attends school in McFarland.  Anesa likes to ride bicycles with me and to go to the park to play.  I like to take Anesa to the pet store and to play at McDonalds every week.  We go swimming and go to the zoo.

Habitat for Humanity has provided me a wonderful opportunity to make this dream come true. I am very thankful to Habitat for Humanity.  I would like to thank all the people who volunteer at Habitat for Humanity of Dane County.  It means the world to me to have this help.  I feel like I am around my new family to get this help.  I do not miss my family as much because I have the Habitat for Humanity family and community. I want to have my own home so Anesa can know the security of having a home.  I want her to have a back yard to play in.  Thank you Habitat for Humanity.

The Chairez Family

Hi, my name is Manuela, my husband’s name is Misael and our children’s names are Daisy (10), Misael Jr. (6), and Yahir (1) who is the baby of my family.

Our kids are the most important thing in our lives and this is why we want to become homeowners, so our children can have their own bedrooms. My daughter would like to invite her friends and cousins for a sleep-over and Misael Jr. would like to have a yard to run and play with his little brother Yahir and his cousins, but the most special thing for our children is to have a dog!

Thank you HABITAT!  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all the volunteers, to all the donors and to all the people that make up this program for making our family’s dream and many families’ dreams come true!

Thank you again Habitat!