February 2021 The executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Boone County (HFHBC) Liz Qua eloquently reminds us that \u201cThe richness of diversity cannot ever be minimized.\u201d In the spirit of that sentiment, I spoke with Qua about this year\u2019s build projects. The organization successfully built and dedicated two homes amid the pandemic last year and plans on dedicating three this year: a community build, a faith build and a women build. HFHBC 2021 Builds This year\u2019s HFHBC Community Build brings our community together to build hope and a home for a single dad with three teenage kids. Many of you may know this soon-to-be homeowner, Blake White, from Cobblestone in Zionsville where he is a dedicated employee and beloved server. Blake completed almost all the required 200 hours of \u201csweat equity\u201d and built an emergency savings account, despite the pandemic. Blake currently lives in a two-bedroom apartment in Indianapolis. He applied for Habitat for Humanity of Boone County in 2019 and has been working hard with his budget coach, Deb, and mentor, Margie. Blake is excited to have a home for stability for his kids but also to work in his garden, BBQ, put up Christmas lights on the porch and hand out candy at Halloween. Blake says, \u201cI am ready for my life to be predictable and stable. I\u2019m ready to have my forever home.\u201d The wall build date for Blake\u2019s home is scheduled to begin April 24. Habitat for Humanity of Boone County will be again partnering with Boone County churches and community for our 2021 Faith Build. This year\u2019s HFHBC 2021 Faith Build tells a harrowing tale of courage, sacrifice and survival: Mohamad and Nisreen and their three children at the time, ages 6, 4 and 1. The family left their home and close-knit community in Aleppo, Syria, to escape the fierce bombing and unexpected destruction of their neighborhood. With just a few clothes in bags, Mohamad and his family navigated\u2014at times on foot\u2014through deadly landmines on a 2- to 3-foot-wide path. At one point in their passage to safety, Mohamed lovingly carried his mother\u2014who suffered severe heart issues\u2014 on his back many miles to the Turkish border. Through the United Nations, Mohamad applied for refugee status to come to the U.S. There is a program through the U.N. that loans refugees money to move to other countries. Mohamad and his family arrived in Indianapolis and set up their household in an apartment. Having added two children to their family in the process of their heart-wrenching journey to freedom and security, Nisreen works as an order packer at a local warehouse, and Mohamad is navigating virtual schooling with all five of their children. They applied with Habitat for Humanity of Boone County with the dream of home ownership and a forever home. The construction of their house will begin on May 15 in Lebanon, Indiana. Women Build is a national Habitat for Humanity program designed to provide a comfortable learning environment for women to discover they can build Habitat for Humanity homes. This year\u2019s Women Build homeowner is expected to be announced next month. Qua shared that Blake and Mohamad\u2019s lots are next door to one another in Lebanon. The three parents have met and have struck up a friendship that will likely only grow with time and through neighborly bonding. \u201cWe need to love on these people,\u201d Qua emphasized. \u201cWe need to embrace them and bring them into our community. There are many challenges in life, and we will do our best to help them. They are going to live right next to one another, and Blake and Mohamad are genuinely excited for each other. It\u2019s really awesome.\u201d Ways to Contribute to HFHBC This year\u2019s HFHBC theme is \u201cLove Our Neighbors\u201d\u2014a fitting theme, all things considered. It is also the theme for HFHBC\u2019s fundraiser that will take place both in person and virtually on March 13. Safety is the organization\u2019s foremost priority. So, with that in mind, HFHBC will offer two in-person events and a virtual component to the fundraiser. Safety protocols will be enforced at the event just as they have been adhered to during the builds. \u201cWe safely built two houses last year during the pandemic and didn\u2019t have a single case of COVID-19 as a result of our builds,\u201d Qua emphasized. \u201cWe\u2019ve changed the way that we\u2019ve done things to make it work. And for the fundraiser, we\u2019re extremely fortunate to have the space at ReStore in Zionsville. We will have two small in-person events in one day. The in-person events will be 1 \u00bd hours each, and we\u2019ll have the virtual event will go on during the in-person events. There is a 50-person max for the in-person events, and we\u2019ll have boxed appetizers and desserts.\u201d For times\/details and to register for this year\u2019s fundraiser on March 13, or to donate to HFHBC, visit boonehabitat.org. Volunteer opportunities are posted on the website as well as a link to volunteer! If you are interested in donating box lunches for the build volunteers this year, please email Liz Qua at email@example.com.