From a House to a Home



  1. Site coordinators share their opening remarks as the Olvera family listens from a bench dedicated by Habitat for Humanity.
  2. Core volunteers Charlie Rose and Meg Wilson pose as they get to work on roof construction for the first time. 

The dedication of a new house through Habitat for Humanity took place on Nov. 2 near downtown Dallas, with members of the nearby communities coming out to support the event. Also in attendance were Habitat volunteers from Hockaday and St. Mark’s. 

For the dedication, David Didi,  St. Mark’s headmaster, and Laura Day, the Executive Director of the Institute for Social Impact at Hockaday, welcomed the crowd before handing off the microphone to the Olvera family. Cesar and Jessica Olvera began to cry as they expressed their gratitude to the people present.  

“Everyone here at Habitat has been so kind and helpful to us,” Cesar said. 

Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit organization that works to build or renovate houses for communities with the greatest need. Through Habitat, Cesar and Jessica have spent several months helping build a house for themselves and their 4-year-old daughter. The family, who had been living in a small one-bedroom duplex for four years, said they are happy the process is reaching the end. 

“To actually get a location, we had to fix our credit, make credit– that was basically the hardest part, getting credit to qualify for the loan to pay for the house,”  Jessica said. “We just want our own little place for our baby.”

Geoff Clench, who has been helping to build since the beginning of the process, said the construction takes less time than some might expect. 

“We’ve been out here since about Sept. 12,” Clench said, “but it helps that all these kids come out and work, too.”

For Hockaday and St. Mark’s students, Habitat is an opportunity to serve the Dallas community while getting to work with friends. Senior Meg Wilson, a core volunteer in her third year, said Habitat is a program that is fulfilling and unique.

 “It actually gives someone a home, and that’s something a lot of people in our community take for granted,” Wilson said.

The home is expected to be completely finished in the next calendar year, which will bring what the Olveras say they are looking forward to the most: being a part of a neighborhood.

Story by Remy Finn

Photo by Kate Clark