It's easy to see that Chet and her daughter, 16-year-old K.C., have big hearts. When they're not putting hours in at the construction site to build their future home at Esperanza Place, Chet spends her working days helping connect the community to health services, and K.C. spends her spare time volunteering in other ways. Not to mention caring for their "zoo" of cats - neighborhood strays they couldn't bear to turn away.
It's why they can't wait to open their new home to loved ones: "We're looking forward to just eating together!" Chet says, as she and K.C. dream aloud about cooking big meals in the kitchen together, and hosting a houseful of friends for feasts like a Korean barbecue night. It's a pleasure they haven't been able to enjoy in their current Daly City apartment, where space is at a premium.
Aside from elaborate dinners, though, mother and daughter simply look forward to the peace and freedom of a place to call their own, in a community where they are excited to plant roots.
"I've been renting my whole life," Chet says. "Just living in the Bay, it's so expensive. With one income, it's impossible for me to afford a home on my own." When a family friend told her about Habitat's Homeownership Program, she thought, "I'll give it a try, since it looked like a really good option for me to actually be able to own a home. It's just nice to know that your money is going into something you own. Just being able to say that you own it, that it's your own home, and that you can do whatever you want with it. That you can live there forever if you want - you don't have to worry about having to move somewhere else, or about someone raising your rent."
The July day she learned that - after years of hoping - she'd been selected to purchase a home at Esperanza Place, Chet remembers, "I was just so happy." She was eager to share it with K.C., bringing her out to the construction site to show her around. "Her first day out here, I was showing her everything," Chet recalls. "'This is the living room, and here's your room...' and she stopped and said, 'I get my own room?' That's when she really got excited."
While they spend hours hours hammering away on site, it gives them time to envision their future in their new home. K.C., who has a clear artistic sensibility - one of her hobbies is upcycling clothing with her school's fashion club - shares, "I want to put something on the walls, a design," and imagines her bedroom painted in a cozy "dark forest green." For Chet, simplicity is key. After years of living in tight quarters with "a lot of random stuff," she's looking forward to "just keeping it simple but nice." She has also spent time volunteering at ReStore, and she confesses that it has been hard not to shop. "I can't wait to have the space to fill up!"
While they look forward, Chet and K.C. are also enjoying the process. "It is really cool to see all our homes being built from the ground up," Chet says. As for participating in the building, she adds, "It's such a good experience. And, hey, maybe I'll learn how to fix stuff!"
The best part of their hours on site, though, is the connections being built with other volunteers. "All the volunteers, especially the regular volunteers," Chet says. "To hear that they have been volunteering for Habitat for years? I'm just so surprised to know that there are so many people that come out to help. I even met a college student who spends her vacation back home coming out here to volunteer. It is really cool."
Want to be one of those volunteers and help build the houses that Chet, K.C., and their future neighbors will soon call home? You can take a look at volunteer opportunities here!