BRYAN, TEXAS — The threat of drizzle and 40 degree temperatures didn't stop B/CS Habitat for Humanity from raising the walls for a new homeowner in the Brazos Valley Saturday morning.
"So... Marissa, on behalf of the Circle of Women, we are excited to welcome you to your new homesite," Jennifer Fredericks, a Volunteer with Circle of Women said.
Fredericks said for nearly 15 years, Circle of Women has been a group of women who have helped sponsor homes. The Ocampo home is the 14th home Circle of Women has sponsored over the years.
"We love doing it. We obviously believe in Habitat. We love that it is a help and not a handout," Fredericks added.
The Ocampo family can now kick renting to the curb.
"We've had many houses, but they've never felt like home and so we are really excited to have our own house, so thank you," Sophie Martinez, Marissa Ocampo's daughter said.
Marissa and her four children will walk into their own space, a brand-new home with four bedrooms and two bathrooms, which is something she's never owned before.
"We have been on our own for the last 11 years. It's been hard to qualify for a home as a single parent of 4. I held off on a lot of things and even took on a part-time job to make sure I was able to buy a house and meet the requirements to purchase a home," Marissa Ocampo said.
This is the Bryan/College Station Habitat for Humanity's 303rd home they've built over the past 30 years. Director of Property and Construction Nathan Touchette says when walls go up, it's always a huge milestone.
"They have had to already spend 200 of their hours already working for us, before we even start their house." Touchette said. "It just gives them something tangible. The best part is that they can see their house at the end of the day and know that it's actually making progress," Nathan Touchette said.
Surrounded by family, supporters and her children, Marissa sees years of hard work paying off.
"It's just a very special day. We have been waiting for this for about 2 years. The pandemic has slowed things down, but we are back up and it feels wonderful," Ocampo added.
Something to call home, a special place Sophie looks forward to most.
"That it's ours. We don't have to go places. We can do stuff at our house because it's ours. We will have our own bedrooms where we can paint them our own ways," Sophie Martinez said.
Marissa has a message to her fellow single moms all facing similar struggles.
"Anyone that thinks it's not possible, it is (possible). Especially to my fellow single moms. It's hard, but its very well worth it. Do it all for your kids and everything else will prosper," Ocampo added.
Before the pandemic, Habitat for Humanity says they were on a 12-week build schedule, but now it's currently 16-weeks.