Building More Than Houses
FROM SURVIVING TO THRIVING
When the Rodriguez family applied to build and buy a home with Habitat for Humanity over 6 years ago they did it with one main dream: hope. Maria had hope for her children's future. She wanted to provide a safe place for her sons to sleep, study and thrive.
Thrive they have! Daniel Rodriguez, a 2019 graduate of Northridge High School has been awarded the Daniels Scholarship which provides four years of tuition and fees, room and board, books and various expenses for students attending any accredited nonprofit college or university in the U.S. With more than 2,000 applicants, this year the foundation awarded 218 scholarships in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming including 6 District 6 students. Daniel will attend Indiana University this fall to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Media, emphasizing in Sports Media.
Starting out as a single mom to Daniel, Maria worked long, hard hours to provide the best for her son. "There were times my mom would drop me off at a friends house at 5 AM on her way to work. I would try to sleep on the couch or pretend to sleep while I waited for the household to get up and get ready for school. Then after school it would be a similar routine. My Mom is really disciplined, she has worked so hard for our family. She is the reason I am successful! One of my mom's main goals for me was to go to college." Daniel will be the first in his family to attend college.
My mom sought out great programs for me. Daniel speaks highly of the Rodarte Community Center programs including their after school homework support and activities. He also participated in the Colorado Gear Up program that works with middle school and high school students preparing them for college. "I still remember in 6th grade writing out my long-term goals with my Gear Up counselor. "My biggest goal was to obtain the Daniels Scholarship and go to college." This program has helped lay out the path to college since.
Later, Maria met and married Gregorio, and then along came a little brother. With a growing family, the Rodriguez family needed a safe neighborhood to call home, a home they could afford and grow in. They applied to buy a home with Habitat. "Finally we had a stable place to call home, a solid foundation along with my solid family structure." said Daniel.
Daniel says "It is amazing how much your environment impacts your perspective. In our previous neighborhood I had 'fake friends.' They weren't people I could rely on. When we moved into our home in our new neighborhood alongside our Habitat neighbors, I made life-long friends. Real friends who want the best for me and support me. Habitat has provided much more than a house for my family."
Daniel recalls "Having a new home was cool, but it was all the support and the people I met during the process that made all the difference. I loved building alongside the Habitat volunteers and staff on site. During lunch they would mentor and encouraged me to continue to work hard in high school and to follow my heart in terms of a career. This inspired me to give back. Initially, my plan was to go to college and get a good-paying job so I could come back and donate lots of money to this community and the programs that helped me. But after building with Habitat, I started to see that the way to make the biggest difference and leave the most significant legacy was working directly in the programs I feel passionate about." Daniel is now a summer youth leader at the Rodarte Center.
"I am looking forward to college, and I am a little nervous. I am stepping out of my comfort zone of Greeley, but it will be good. Everything I do is to make my Mom proud. I will be back, Greeley is my home. I want to return and invest in my community. I want to leave a positive footprint on my community."
In 2015 the Rodriguez family home was sponsored by Jean Daviet in memory of her beloved husband Dave Daviet. Pictured are Daniel & family at home ground breaking ceremony in April, 2015