Welcome to the Newest Members of the Habitat Family . . .
Ivaney Hornbuckle & Vandell Grigsby
When asked what they would like to be remembered for, Ivaney and Vandell answered, “most of all,
We would like to be remembered for our love of our children and for each other.” Those words resonate after anyone spends time with Ivaney Hornbuckle and Vandell Grigsby. Both are hard-working parents striving to make a better life for their children.
Ivaney, a single child, was born and raised by her mother, a LPN, in Nashville. She graduated from Glencliff High School. After a long pause for motherhood, Ivaney is currently attending Columbia State Community College and is determined to complete her Associates degree in Business Management in July.
Vandell, the youngest of four boys, was born and raised in Franklin by his mother, a technician at Claiborne- Hughes Nursing Home for many years. Neither parents owned their own home. Vandell graduated from Franklin High and attended Northwest Mississippi Community College for 2 ½ years.
Ivaney has worked for Waves, as a caregiver for adults with developmental disabilities for the past 6 years, helping to support adults with developmental disabilities. For the past 10 years Vandell has worked for Franklin Special School District. He is currently a custodian for Freedom Middle School and the assistant coach for both the boy’s football and basketball teams at the school.
Ivaney and Vandell both have children from previous marriages. Ivaney has two daughters, Karanie (16) and Housta (13) and Vandell has two sons, Marcus (18), Anthony (17) and a daughter, Autalyah (9). Together, they have two children, a son, Jolan (4), a daughter, Gracie (2), and a third child due in June.
Karanie is a sophomore and honor student at Centennial High School. She loves being on the computer, texting and practicing her driving. Housta attends Freedom Middle and enjoys playing softball, basketball, and dancing. Jolan and Gracie attend Community Child Care. Jolan loves playing baseball and loves playing with matchbox cars. Gracie loves baby dolls and real babies! Marcus, a senior at Centennial, looks forward to graduating and pursuing a career in the music industry. Anthony is a junior at Centennial and works at Kroger. Autalyah attends elementary school in Columbia and enjoys cheerleading.
Vandell is an active member of New Brentwood Primitive Baptist Church where he is the treasurer and a member of their choir. Vandell enjoys playing basketball for the Franklin Recreation Center league. Once they get settled in their new home, Vandell hopes to return to college to finish his degree.
This family believes that “everyone deserves a place of their own to call home. Habitat helps people who would not normally be able to qualify for a typical mortgage loan.” They have really enjoyed meeting new people and especially working at the ReStore. “We love George,” exclaims Ivaney. Vandell adds, “the budget class was also very helpful to the both of us. It really made us look at how we were spending our money and how to save more money.”
Ivaney and Vandell want their sponsors to know, “I don’t know if there are enough words to express our gratitude. We are so honored to have this opportunity to build our own home. This is a dream come true for us and our family. The entire process has been a privilege for us. We appreciate your kindness and generosity. Thank you so very much for all you have done.”
Carmen Jackson was born and raised in New Orleans and like so many others, lost her home in the flood after Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Carmen and her daughter, Bianca, now 17, were home during the hurricane and only experienced some wind damage to their home. But the next day, her neighborhood was destroyed by eight to ten feet of rushing flood waters. With the help of neighbors, they escaped and ran to a bridge where they spent the next eight days waiting on a rescue. The bridge was populated by over 200 people and they had to wait for helicopters to rescue the elderly, sick and young children first. They were among the last 20 people to be able to leave the bridge. Hungry, wet and frightened, the helicopter flew them directly to the airport where they were told to board an airplane that would take them to Jackson, TN. A few weeks later they were told to board a bus. They arrived in Franklin, TN, where a make-shift shelter had been established in an old factory. Carmen recalls Franklin’s mayor, Tom Miller, greeted her and asked about her work experience. Carmen replied that she had worked in a child care center and Tom quickly introduced her to the owner of Community Child Care Center. Carmen has been employed there for the past four and a half years as the chef. She decided to stay in Franklin when she learned that the house she lived in, which belonged to her grandmother,would not be rebuilt for at least two years due to the slow recovery process of cleaning up all of the debris in the area surrounding her neighborhood.
Carmen and Bianca call Franklin home now and every day they are thankful to be alive and have such good friends at work and at their church, Limestone Missionary Baptist. Carmen and Bianca are very active in their church, singing in the choir, on the usher team and cleaning team and working in the community through Matthew 25 ministries. Bianca is a senior at Franklin High School and plans to attend Columbia State Community College in the fall to earn an Associates degree in business management and a minor in photography. She plans to continue her education at MTSU.
Carmen has an older daughter, Kelly, who still lives in New Orleans with her husband and a brand new baby daughter, Jasira Miracel, who was born in October. Carmen’s mother also lives in New Orleans and, at age 70, is still working as a private duty Registered Nurse. One of her brothers moved to Franklin to “watch over baby sister” shortly after the hurricane.
One of the challenges of the Habitat Homeownership Program has been saving for the closing costs. It has not been easy with her rent of $900 a month taking so much of her monthly income. Carmen is thankful for her budget coach, Doug Vaughn, who has taught her so much. She has really enjoyed the homeowner education classes to help prepare her for this next milestone in her life.
Carmen and Bianca are very grateful for Habitat and for the many volunteers who are such a blessing to them and so many families. “To be able to afford a home is wonderful,” says Carmen. “This is a dream fulfilled. I am so grateful and I thank God for the sponsors, the people of Franklin and the Habitat program. This home makes us finally feel settled and that we have something permanent now.”
Blanca Rodriguez was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, located along the Rio Grande River and the Texas border close to El Paso. Blanca grew up in a large, loving family with seven children. When she was sixteen her family moved to Midland, TX. Many in her family still live there.
Blanca moved to Franklin in 1997 where she had friends and a job waiting for her at La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant. Blanca has worked there for the past thirteen years. She also works part-time for Grab the Gold Snack Foods located here in Franklin.
Blanca has one son, Richard, who is ten years old and in the fourth grade. Richard is a typical boy who loves to play soccer, fix things, and tinker with his motorcycle. The family is active at St. Phillip Catholic Church. Blanca is very proud of Richard who is currently attending confirmation classes and expects that he will take his first communion in the spring.
Blanca has lived in an apartment on Del Rio Drive for eight years. She is very excited about buying a Habitat home. Very typical with Habitat families, Blanca’s rent is almost fifty percent of her total income for she is looking forward to the lower mortgage payments of her new home. Once she and Richard are settled, she wants to earn her GED and become a U.S. Citizen. Blanca hopes that Richard will be able to attend college.
When asked about her hobbies, Blanca replied that she loves to just be home, cooking and cleaning. Her other passions include window shopping and gardening. She can’t wait to grow tomatoes and peppers in her own yard. She is very excited about painting and decorating her new home.
Blanca wants her sponsors and volunteers to know how much she appreciates their loving support helping her to fulfill her dreams of owning her own home. “Without them and the Habitat program I would never have had the opportunity to afford a home,” says Blanca.
Piper is native to Flint, Michigan and lived there until she was thirteen years old. Her parents moved to Williamson County when her father was transferred to the Saturn Plant in 1987. Her father still works there in the Power Train Department doing research and development. Her mother worked at Head Start for fifteen years and she now works at Centennial High School. Piper has two brothers and a sister who still live in Michigan.
Piper attended Franklin High School and graduated in 1994. Her first job was at McDonald’s in Cool Springs, and she loved it. She left after 10 years with McDonald’s when her request for a shift change was denied. For the past few years she has worked in child care. She works part-time at The Academy at McKay’s Mill. She is earnestly seeking full-time employment in a Child Care Center or in retail. Once she moves into her new home, Piper plans to work on an associate’s degree in a Medical Assisting. She loves working with children so she hopes to work in a Pediatrician’s office.
She lost a brother, JJ, in May 2009. Piper comes from a very close-knit family. Piper attends the Greater Pleasant View Baptist Church with Reverend Eric Williams. She works with the children’s church and children’s choir, as well as the Youth Meditation Ministry, Women’s Ministry and as an usher. Piper considers her hobbies to be cooking, crafts and working on the computer, and she has a strong desire to help others through her church.
Her four children range in age from five to thirteen years old. Her oldest, Daylen, plays football and basketball for Freedom Middle School. Devin (10) enjoys entertainment, piano and music. He was in the boy’s choir last year. Devin’s twin sister, Daria is an artist and loves to draw and sings in the church choir. Dyson is her youngest at age five.
Piper says things have been challenging since her recent layoff. She says, “thanks to Habitat of Williamson County I can dream about what my new home will look like.” She has enjoyed learning more about home décor and maintenance. She looks forward to no longer being a renter – to be able to fix things and decorate her home. She looks forward to the security of knowing that the lease won’t run out and force them to move again. This security is important to her and her children.
Piper wants her sponsors to know that she thinks “they’re awesome. Their hearts are huge to want to help someone they don’t even know. As Americans, we all need to be more like that and willing to do for others. I thank them for being humble and for helping. Regardless of whom you are or how much money you have given, you have given me so much; this will always be their home.”
Dolores Morales, born in Uvalde, Texas, a small city close to Houston, grew up with her mother, Enedina, and older sister. After her sister, Crystal, joined the military, she married a man from Franklin, TN. In 2004, Dolores and her mom came to visit Franklin and never returned to Texas. Dolores has two beautiful daughters, Karla (4) and Kayla (2). Karla is the shy one and Kayla is the outgoing one. They are typical kids who love cartoons and doing things like arts and crafts.
Dolores works at Goodwill Industries in Franklin as an Administrative Assistant. She loves her work and also volunteers with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), a nonprofit that provides legal services for children finding them a safe home. With little time to spare she loves being home with her girls.
Dolores can’t wait to move into her new home after years of moving from one place to another always looking for a better place to raise her family. She appreciates the stability a Habitat home will give her and that her kids will always know that this is their home.
Once settled, she plans to start earning an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice/Social Services with a focus on Juvenile Services. Dolores hopes to do well in life by getting an advanced education.
Dolores has earned over 420 sweat equity hours and enjoyed working in the Habitat ReStore in Cool Springs on Saturdays. It was tough at times when her mom was gone to visit family in Texas and her sister was working to find a babysitter. Dolores knows that her hard work will pay off and she strives to set a good example for her children.
Dolores wants her sponsor to know, “Thank you for your time and efforts to provide this opportunity for my family to live better.”