Youth break ground on Habitat home

by Alan Hodge

(From left) Mathilde Escalona, Adriana Cardenas, Andrea Escalona, and Martin Escalona stand at the site of their future Habitat for Humanity home. They stand with Jessica Grantham, youth coordinator for Our Towns Habitat, and North Mecklenburg High School senior Rudy Molinek.

Though ankle-deep in mud and fighting the bitter wind, participants were undeterred Saturday at the groundbreaking for a new Habitat for Humanity home.

Work on the home, to be built on Lynn Lane in Cornelius, will begin Feb. 19 and is scheduled be completed in May.

The project is especially noteworthy because students in the Youth United branch of Habitat for Humanity raised most of the money to build it.

North Mecklenburg High School, Pine Lake Preparatory School and Davidson College all have Youth United chapters and are working to raise the $65,000 needed for the Lynn Lane house.

Youth United Coordinator Jessica Grantham outlined some of the students’ fundraising methods.

“At Halloween some went trick-or-treating dressed like construction workers and collected change,” Grantham said. They also sold tickets for a breakfast with Santa Claus sponsored by Red Rocks Café in Huntersville and North Mecklenburg High School held a chili cook-off and raised $2,000, she said.

State Farm Insurance is contributing $4,000 to the Lynn Lane project. The firm has given more than $1 million to Habitat for Humanity’s youth programs since 2007, according to Davidson State Farm Agent Roger, O’Connell,

About a dozen Youth United members showed up for the ceremony, Saturday, including North Meck senior Katie Heidrich, who seemed eager to get the project going.

“I really like what Habitat for Humanity does,” Heidrich said. “But it also gives youth a chance to be hands on, not just raise money. We actually get to help build the house.”

The folks who will be living in the Lynn Lane home are Martin Escalona, from Mexico City, his wife Adriana Cardenas and their daughters, Andrea and Mathilde. As is usually the case with a Habitat project, Escalona and his family will have to contribute hours of “sweat equity.”

“Man, for us it is nice,” Escalona said. “This is the best place to support the family.”

Daughter Andrea hopes to take the Habitat for Humanity creed and pass it on.

“When we are done, I hope we can help someone else,” Andrea said.

And it is exactly that sentiment, Grantham says, Youth United and the Lynn Lane Habitat project is all about.

“It shows youth can make a difference,” she said.

Want to own a Habitat home?
Our Towns Habitat for Humanity is hosting information sessions explaining how to qualify for a new home through the Christian-based ministry. Sessions are as follows:
• Feb. 23 – 7 p.m. Huntersville Arts & Cultural Center, 109 S. Old Statesville Road, Huntersville;
• March 5 – 10 a.m., Our Towns Habitat for Humanity Office, 20310 N. Main St., Cornelius;
• April 2 – 10 a.m., Our Towns Habitat for Humanity Office; and
• May 7 – 10 a.m., Our Towns Habitat for Humanity Office.
For details or to schedule an individual appointment, contact Miranda Morris at 704-896-8957, extension 107, or

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