The home sponsored by the Women’s Foundation will be sold at cost and with zero interest to Mariela Mercado and her children. Mariela is the loving, devoted mother to two beautiful daughters, Danisha, age 8, and Denisse, age 7.
Save for a monthly visit with their father in Miami on weekends, the responsibility of raising and providing for these two adorable girls falls on Mariela. She works as a filter seamstress for Energetics Corporation, earning enough to rent one room of a two-bedroom house that her family shares with another occupant. All three Mercado ladies sleep together on a king-sized bed, as the room they rent is too small to for everyone to have their own bed. Mariela has kitchen privileges, but because of their shared living situation, she feels more comfortable doing most of her cooking on a grill in the garage.
A devoted mother, Mariela knows the benefits that come with a good education and strives to instill that same value in her daughters. It’s clear to see from the love for learning evident in both of her bright, young girls that mom’s efforts have paid off. Danisha is in the third grade and she’s a standout on the school’s math challenge team, winning the star-student award twice. While Danisha is the mathematician of the family, her sister Denisse is the creative type. She is in the first grade and loves art class. At just seven-years-old, she’s already beginning to learn American Sign Language. Mariela came to Habitat Collier seeking more than just a homeownership opportunity. She wanted to provide her daughters with privacy and a stable home. She wanted each of her daughters to finally have their own bedroom with a dedicated space to study. More than anything, she wanted to set a strong example for her daughters that all things are possible through hard work and dedication. After completing an exhaustive application process Mariela was approved for homeownership by our Selection Committee. She has now begun work on her 500 hours of sweat equity, helping to build her home and those of her neighbors. Each month as Mariela pays her mortgage payment, a perpetual cycle is created allowing us to build more homes for families in need.