Habitat Honors 2018 Volunteer of the Year and Partner of the Year

Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley is celebrated 29 years of helping families in Washtenaw County during it’s Bid to Build: Annual Auction & Celebration on Saturday, May 19, and honored a longtime partner and volunteer as part of the celebration.

Each year, we recognize a volunteer and partner who have gone above and beyond to support our mission of building stronger communities. This year, we recognized Toyota Motor North America Research and Development as the 2018 Partner of the Year and Don Redding as our 2018 Volunteer of the Year.

Toyota Motor North America – Research and Development has partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley for 11 years and provided full house renovation funding for 13 homes, including the two sponsored homes this coming year.  To date, Toyota has donated more than $466,800 and given more than 17,000 employee volunteer hours with us.

In 2017 alone, Toyota doubled its impact in Ypsilanti with more than 250 employees volunteering more than 1,800 hours at the two houses they sponsored. This year marks the second consecutive year that Toyota will double its impact on our Home Ownership Program with two fully sponsored houses on Woodruff Lane in Ypsilanti. We are most grateful for Toyota and their continued support!

Our Robert L. Whitacre Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes individuals whose spirit and dedication to Habitat’s mission matches that of Bob Whitacre. Bob Whitacre was a key volunteer for Habitat, volunteering many 60-hour weeks and building 23 homes with us. This award honors men and women who cary on Bob’s legacy through their dedication to Habitat.

This year, we honored Don Redding with the award, who has been volunteering with and supporting Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley for 8 years. Don has played an instrumental role in obtaining roughly $20,000 in renovation funding and more than 200 volunteers for the House of Faith each year, which is a collective group of four area churches.

Don has continuously worked many volunteer hours to rally his friends, former co-workers and area congregations through Habitat presentations and outreach. This year alone, Don has engaged four new churches and secured $8,000 in funding from faith organizations. We are most grateful for Don Redding and your continued love of the Habitat mission!

The Van Hoose Family’s Story

Several years ago, Christina Van Hoose watched Habitat Huron Valley build a home for a family living down the street from her childhood home.

“At that time, I had the same idea as many others, that Habitat for Humanity gives away houses,” Christina said. “Wow, was I mistaken. In 2016, I enrolled in a Home Ownership Education class, where I gained a wealth of knowledge on various homeownership programs for low- to mid-income families.”

A widowed mother of two sons, Christina spent four years rebuilding her credit score and financial status. After many denials for a traditional mortgage, Christina finally received an approval from Habitat Huron Valley.

“This opportunity for homeownership is more than a dream come true. It is truly a blessing from God,” Christina said. “Not only has this experience strengthened my faith, it has also been a significant teachable lesson for my sons. Being in this position has offered me an opportunity to lead by example.”

Christina’s two sons, Emmanuel, 14, and Cameron, 8, are “dedicated to their studies and devoted to maintaining academic excellence, which is reflected by their honor roll achievement recognition,” according to Christina. The two are also involved in extracurricular activities, such as the Mentor 2 Youth program, and enjoy sports, like football and basketball.

“They enjoy playing as well as being spectators of all sports,” Christina said. “From time to time, they are able to get me involved to participate, I’m actually pretty good!”

An Ann Arbor native, Christina graduated from Huron Hills High School and attended Washtenaw Community College, where she earned an Associate of Arts degree in criminal justice and liberal arts. She then earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminology and later a Masters of Science in sociology from Eastern Michigan University.

“For the last 5 years, I have been employed as an internal accountant specialist for the nation’s largest LP gas company,” Christina said. “In addition, I am actively involved with the PTO for both Emmanuel and Cameron’s schools and volunteer with the Mentor 2 Youth Program.”

In their spare time, the family of three “love to spread the word of God and enjoy helping others in any way possible, from volunteering in the community to random acts of kindness.

“I thank you Habitat for Humanity for partnering with my family,” Christina said. “May God bless you ALL for everything you do.”

Renovations on the Van Hoose Family’s home was funded by Full House Sponsor Adient, a long-time partner of Habitat Huron Valley. Adient, formally Johnson Controls, has sponsored 16 houses since 2010 with nearly $210,000 in lifetime sponsorship funds and more than 350 employee volunteers each year to help renovate or build houses in Washtenaw County.