Habitat to Help Families

Dia Chang is the head of her household as a single mother in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. With as many as six people living under the roof of her apartment she has been the sole provider for her family. The Chang family needed help, when a volunteer organization came to their rescue by the name of Habitat for Humanity.HC_header_01-1400x755

Habitat for Humanity is a service that builds homes with the help of volunteers’ manpower, and donations. Scores of helping hands turn out to build these homes for families that need their help, giving an opportunity for the likes of the Chang family to get a leg up on their situation. This organization is present in cities all across the country helping build communities for families in need.

The Chang family has much to be grateful for as they will have more room to each other, a big change from sharing 3 or 4 to a room previously. This is not a free ride though, the Chang family will pay off a mortgage as well as putting in 250 community service hours per house-resident.

This charity aims to providing families with stability, not luxury, and gives them the tools they need to get their feet on the ground. Dia proved to be an ideal candidate for the program after first being declined the opportunity to qualify. She continued to apply which showed the determination that is needed to pay off a 25-30 year mortgage. This is a trait that her children say she has passed along to them.

This family oriented organization is giving folk a helping hand, which is what everyone needs from time to time. Look for the Chang family to be offering their hands to the volunteer effort for others just like them.

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Colorado Family Receives Great Present!

Habitat for Humanity has long given the gift of a home to families in need. This holiday season it has come to the aid of one family in particular that truly needs it. In Colorado Springs the Tyrrell family was overcome with joy last sunday when they cut the ribbon to habitat-logo1their brand new home. Through Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity this family that was living in a cramped apartment in a low-income area can now afford the mortgage of the house.

New homeowners put in an average of 300 hours in order to build their houses along with the help of their neighbors. The entire new community made up of Habitat houses assisted one another in the construction of the homes. The ability to work side by side with the people they will live next to has opened the door to a whole different interpretation of the phrase, “ Love thy neighbor”. They are able to bond with one another and really get to know who will sharing the community.

To build a house is one thing, Habitat for Humanity has been building homes and communities and this case is proof enough of the success of the program. The Tyrrell’s will close the deal on their house on New Years Day, a holiday present well worth the world to them. Their gratitude is endless as they are able to provide their two young sons with a full home and yard to grow up in. Their seven-year old son seems to be the most excited about it, expressing his elation since the foundational shovel broke ground at the onset of the construction project.

The entire community, Woodmen Vista will contain 37 Habitat homes, all built by its residents and neighbors. The end product will end up being a tight-knit community who are well-known to each other, an American dream in itself.

A Special Thanksgiving Music Video

Many have seen their videos, many have not. The Holderness family has taken the country by storm as of late with a few parodies of popular songs, spinning them into family friendly tunes and featuring their entire family in music videos. The family unit is comprised of Penn, an TV business professional, Kim, who always was in the TV business as a reporter along with Lola and little Penn. The four make these videos that put smiles on faces all across the country with seasonal themes attached to them. Their most recent production is a Thanksgiving day themed anthem to the tune of “All about that bass” by Megan Trainor. The Holderness spin has titled it as ” All about that baste”. See below for the video and check out their family site here.

New Company to Connect Generations Through Story Telling

A recent article from Forbes shows how one new company is aiming to keep family legacy alive through recorded storytelling, something that was once only available through recollection of past generations. Alok Deshpande started the company called Umenta and is the Chief Legacy Officer. Overcome with regret for not asking his late grandfather more questions about the significant moments of history that he had lived through, Alok set out to record the stories of our elders.

Chris Noving | BlogFamily has become an ever important subject in the fast paced world we live in today, Umenta has merged the old fashioned custom of storytelling, with the new-age medium of communication–mobile apps. The app is called StoryCall, it works by asking questions to those who have a story to tell, to coax them into divulging details. Once the audio is recorded the “biographer” edits the clips into sound bites that family members have access to through a smart medium (smartphone, tablet, etc.).

Alok’s inspiration for this app? The National Public Radio StoryCorps project that features amazing storytellers on their Morning Edition. The interview process is often very emotional when families start opening up their history to their loved ones. The app is not live yet but it can be forthcoming. With this unique idea, many will want to interview the elders in their family, to get the juices flowing try asking some of the questions below.

Did you have chores to do as a child? What were your favorite and least favorite?

When was the first time you drove a car?

Who did you see when you went to your first concert and where was it?

What was the stylish things to wear when you were in school, how did you dress?

How were your beliefs and values different from your parents?

What did you see as social injustice in our society, did you protest or address them?

What was it like when your parents and grandparents aged?

Do you have any regret, if so, what?

Great Tips to Curb Your Spending

The cost of living is rising.  It is almost impossible for most families to be supported by a single income today.  Accordign to USA Today, people rarely save for anything more immediate than retirement.  Of the 2,016 adults surveyed, 34% had no savings beyond retirement funds, while some did not even have that.  There was a similar survey conducted on Bankrate.com, which found that more than a quarter of adults have no emergency savings, meaning no readily available money beyond that allotted for regular expenses.money-in-jar

Thomas Nitzsche, a financial educator at ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions, was asked about methods of getting spending under control, he replied that many people need to make an itemized budget in order to know how and where they are spending their money.  He and Gail Cunningham of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling gave this advice on how to trim your budget:

  1. Use cash.  It turns out that people who use cash to pay for daily expenses instead of a card usually end up spending about 20% less money.  Most of this is due to an increased awareness of a transaction when money is physical.
  2. Keep track of your spending.  Usually people try to resist this only by keeping a record do you see all of the frivolous sinks for your cash forces you to evaluate and change your ways.
  3. Try saving money in multiple areas of your budget.  If you try to cut small amounts from wide areas where you spend, you mitigate the effect of those cuts.
  4. Put the amount of money you save when buying something on sale into your savings account.  Too many people end up spending the money they save with a great deal on other trifles.  Instead, put that money into your savings account.
  5. Ask for discounts.  People of all walks of life and from all sorts of backgrounds often qualify for discounts that are not always advertised.  Ask whether you qualify and put the extra money you keep into your savings.
  6. Cut your rent.  Rather than feeling as though you need your own place, try renting a room in somebody else’s.  This is a great way to save money and to meet new friends.
  7. Stop spending so much on food.  Going out for every meal is a huge drain on the bank account.  Try using online services to find what places are having deals, or better yet, cook for yourself!
  8. Make sure that you are paying the best price for costs like home repairs.  Get at least three quotes for each job and make sure that whoever you use has a good reputation so you can avoid trouble down the road.
  9. Look for travel deals.  You can stay at four star hotels for $50 a night, or rent a car for under $10 a day.  Be flexible with your plans and hunt for the best deals and you can save even while vacationing.

Building Responsibility for the New Generation

What are children meant for? Chores are the answer.  The Murset family put their kids to good use this summer not just doing the Murset family chores, but also the chores of families around the country.

The age of responsibility
The age of responsibility

Gregg and Kami Murset have six kids between the ages of 7 and 16 years.  According to Murset, he was combatting the mindset of the “entitled generation” one chore at a time.  To do this, he and Kami loaded the kids into the family RV and embarked on a journey to build responsibility.

Gregg says that, “I think they initially thought, ‘Dad, the chore thing has gone too far, you know, you are crazy.’ But as we started reading stories about the people we were going to serve, it all started to jell for them.”

One family that the Mursets visited was at the home of Todd and Nicole Blancheri in Florida.  Todd and Nicole’s son, Wyatt has Hurler syndrome, a genetic ailment that damages the organs.  This complication to Blancheri life meant that many chores filled the position of priorities less important than Wyatt’s health.

As the Blanchari’s watched the Murset family begin doing chores at their house, Nicole Blanchari said, “They are doing a lot of those chores that we just honestly don’t have enough time to do.  It means a lot to us that they have so generously donated their time to help us out.”

11 year-old Adam Murset said that at first he didn’t like the idea of spending his summer doing other people’s chores, but became more and more attached to the experience since he started meeting people like Wyatt.

Gregg Murset, who has his own parenting website, advocates instilling work-ethic and responsibility throughout their entire lives.  As a financial advisor, Gregg has first-hand experience of what sort of responsibilities people must be willing to shoulder to be financially successful.  He has even designed a smartphone app where parents can assign their children chores, and points, which correspond to a monetary value, for completing chores.

Gregg Murset and his wife, Kami have developed a program to spend time together as a family while also helping their children build skills and learn responsibility.