While you might be familiar with Habitat for Humanity's mission of building interest-free homes in partnership with homeowners, Habitat for Humanity in Rockdale is seeking to build more than just a home - it is seeking to build a community.
A decade ago, it purchased land for an entirely new 32-lot subdivision called Olde Town Village.
Flight attendant trainer Cynthia Cannon, her daughter Cheyenne and her mother Regina Breed were the first to break ground in this new village in 2011.
Cannon and her daughter were previously living in the Conyers Housing Authority and then with their mother in an un-heated two-bedroom structure in Milstead.
Building their home - something that they can take pride in ownership - and being part of the Habitat experience has been transformative, said Cannon.
"It's been a great experience mainly because it's not just a handout. You don't feel like a charity case. You work on your home alongside other people who care about the community," said Cannon. "You have the opportunity of giving back. In the bigger picture, more communities should be like that. It's like a modern day barn raising. Everyone comes together and you help each other."
Susan Rosson Spain, president of Habitat for Humanity Conyers-Rockdale, praised Cannon's determination and willingness to give back. "She's so responsible and community oriented. She just wants this to be a community, which is what we all want - for this to be a coalition of families," said Rosson Spain.
The neighborhood features a community garden, book exchange/library in honor of a Habitat volunteer and the streets, sewers and utilities of the subdivision are completed.
The infrastructure is in place, but in order to move forward on this vision of community, organizers need three things.
First, organizers are looking for responsible community-minded families in need of a low-cost, interest-free home who are willing to put in the "sweat equity" to build this neighborhood. Disabled veterans are encouraged to apply. Those families have to have been living in Rockdale for at least a year and have an income at 60 percent of Rockdale's median.
The organization is also seeking corporate sponsorship, something that can be a little more difficult to find outside of the Atlanta cityscape. Corporate employees can also volunteer on building a home from the ground up.
The nonprofit also needs shoppers or volunteers for its Surplus Store at 1117 West Avenue, open Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. If you are renovating or sprucing up your own home, or doing a little holiday shopping, stop into the Surplus Store. They offer everything from electric appliances to cabinets, lighting fixtures, tools, furniture, windows, doors and more at deeply discounted prices. Proceeds go to building Habitat homes in Rockdale.
For more information on Habitat homes in Rockdale or how you can help, go to www.habitatrockdale.net or contact 770-785-7675, firstname.lastname@example.org .