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Homeowner Story

From Habitat Home to First-Gen Grad: Jaylynn’s Journey

In her cap and gown, Jaylynn celebrates being a first-gen college graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University. 

When Yolanda’s family first moved into their Habitat home in 2004, her daughter Jaylynn was just three years old. Now, in 2024, Jaylynn has a bachelor’s degree and is excited for the next chapter in her life.

Jaylynn and her brother at the construction site of their future Habitat home.

In their Habitat home, Jaylynn had the space to grow up, especially cherishing having her own room. “The home has been everything for her,” Yolanda reflected. “She took pride in it.”

Yolanda’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity ensured a safe and affordable home for her family, allowing her and her husband to focus on their children’s future.

Yolanda’s family at their home dedication ceremony in 2004.

“Living in a Habitat home not only made me feel safe but also provided me with a sense of security and comfort,” Jaylynn said. “My home has truly been a safe haven for me, giving me a place to grow and thrive.”

Since 2022, Yolanda and her family have been mortgage-free. “The home meant having a secure roof for my children, where they can grow and make memories,” Yolanda said during last year’s mortgage burning.

Yolanda and Jaylynn at the mortgage burning ceremony in December 2023.

Over the years, Jaylynn has participated in various activities, such as soccer, pageants, 4-H and FFA clubs, and dance classes.

“With Habitat, she saw people helping us, putting in time for us,” Yolanda said. “Seeing that helped her pay it forward.” From a young age, Jaylynn absorbed these values of community and generosity, shaping her future aspirations.

Jaylynn graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a degree in Health Science in the fall of 2023. She is looking forward to starting nursing school, where she will be able to deepen her commitment to caring for others and giving back.

Graduating was a whirlwind of emotions for Jaylynn. “Being a first-generation student means so much to me,” she said. “On the surface, it means I’m the first in my family to earn a degree. But on a personal note, it means I’m one step closer to achieving the life my parents always dreamed for me.”

Congratulations to Jaylynn and to all our recent Habitat Graduates!

Together, we can ensure that more children have the opportunity to break barriers. Donate today to help build brighter futures!