Volunteers help provide homes to three families

For Asia Smith, owning her own home is no longer just a dream.

Thanks to Habitat for Humanity of Broward County and JM Family Enterprises, the first-time homeowner and her four children live in a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Oakland Park.

"Words can't express how I feel. Sometimes it's as though I'm dreaming. Every day I give thanks to God because had it not been for His grace and mercy, this wouldn't be possible," Smith said.

About 140 JM Family associates volunteered close to 2,100 hours to help Smith and two other families, said Colin Brown, the company's CEO and president.

"Part of our mission is to strengthen and help families, and we also feel very strongly that we live in these communities and we want to see if we could improve issues in the community," Brown said.

Kris Rich, assistant vice president of IT support services, first volunteered on a JM Family-sponsored build effort 10 years ago and has been involved ever since.

"They bring a community together to help one of its members build their own home. It was when JM Family started their partnership with Habitat that I found a way to get involved and do something special for hardworking homeowners," said Rich, who is on Habitat for Humanity's board. "It's an amazing opportunity to help deserving families realize their dream of having a home to call their own."

JM Family began volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in 2002 and since then has helped build 27 homes, Brown said.

"We always have more volunteers than we have spaces for them," he said. "It's because they discover they feel good about what they accomplished and they are fun to do. From a morale standpoint, it makes them proud to be a part of an organization that encourages them."

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, nondenominational Christian housing ministry that provides affordable homes for low-income families who wouldn't qualify for conventional financing.

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