Habitat for Humanity dedicates the ‘House the Otters Built’


EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Habitat for Humanity will be dedicating “The House the Otters Built sponsored by Eyewitness News” on Monday.

The home, in the 100 block of E. Oregon St., is being dedicated at 5 p.m. to Kimiko VanDyke and her family.

Kimiko and her children will get the keys to their new home as part of the dedication.

Kimiko has put in 300 hours of sweat equity.

Habitat for Humanity also published this on Kimiko’s story:

Kimiko V. is a hardworking mother of three beautiful children: Ma’Nya (18), Bruce (17), and La’Quone (15). Ma’Nya is in college at Ball State University studying to be an orthopedic surgeon, while Bruce and La’Quone are still in high school balancing schoolwork while playing several sports like basketball and football. Kimiko says her family keeps her very, very busy, but she loves it that way. “The boys take me on dates, and we’ll go out to eat or see a movie. When my daughter is home from school we like to cook at home and listen to music together,” Kimiko says. Kimiko is a Patient Care Technician at the Gateway Hospital Observation unit helping patients that have undergone surgery or testing and need observation. “I enjoy what I do, and I love the team I’m with – they’re awesome!”

Kimiko and her family currently live in her mother’s house. Along with Kimiko’s family of four, her mother lives there, as well as Kimiko’s brother and his three children. “Nine people are living in a four-bedroom home, but we make it work,” Kimiko laughs. “We all cook and eat together. We make it work.”

When Kimiko was in high school, her mother worked to get a Habitat home. “My mom and dad taught us a lot about hard work. My mom went back to school to become a CMA at Deaconess Urgent Care. My mom showed me that if you stay focused and work hard towards your goal, you can do anything. That’s what I try to instill in my kids as they grow,” Kimiko says. When Kimiko first applied to the Habitat program, she was denied, but her brother encouraged her to try again. “When I got the letter that I was through to the next step I started crying. I was appreciative and excited and overjoyed!” she says. “It’s just nice to know that even if you don’t make it the first time, don’t make that the only time you try. Keep trying. It could have just been one thing at one moment. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t take it as a loss, go back and try again!”

Since her involvement in the Habitat program, Kimiko says she’s gotten to learn a lot of cool skills and meet great people. “I’ve learned how to build stuff and how to do a lot of flooring and painting. I’ve gotten to meet different people doing community work and meet different families and learn a lot about how stuff goes,” Kimiko says. “The classes are great because I’m learning a lot of stuff that I didn’t pay attention to before. I’m learning a lot about budgeting.”

Once moved into their Habitat home, Kimiko is excited to save money to do activities with the kids and make their house their own. “I will be able to do my own yard stuff, have family come over and cook without worrying about noise and neighbors. I look forward to saving money to be able to do more things with my kids. I’ll be able to save money to do certain things with them as a family,” Kimiko says. “This home gives us a foundation and a place for my kids to call home. It’s stability. They won’t have to worry about transferring schools. It’s a place my kids can call home and not worry or stress about anything. My kids and I like to lend out a helping hand to those who need it. I appreciate Habitat for lending their helping hand to my family and me.”

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(This story was originally published on October 14, 2019)

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