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University Relations

University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943

Habitat Partners Help Mother of Five Realize Dream of Home Ownership

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (May 5, 2014) – Posing for photographs with her five children, Alisa White on Friday, May 2, expressed her gratitude to members of the University of Central Missouri and the Warrensburg community for helping to make her dream of home ownership come true.

Habitat for Humanity family

Alisa White, owner of a new home built through a joint project between the Warrensburg R-VI School District, University of Central Missouri, and Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County, celebrate with a family photo outside the rear entrance to their new residence May 2. Children are front row, from left, Lina, 5; Frankie, 6; back row, Rilee, 14; Alana 3; and Alexis, 16.

 “It’s pretty exciting. It’s neat to have an opportunity to start over again, and finally give them what they deserve,” she said with her children huddled around her, some of them already discussing which bedrooms they were going to claim in the new five bedroom, 1,400-square-foot structure at 628 W. Gay St.

An employee of the Warrensburg school district who has lived in the local community for two-and-half years, White on June 1 will officially take possession of her family’s new home. It was made possible through a build project that originated through Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County. The organization’s leadership worked in cooperation with the Warrensburg R-VI School District and UCM on the first joint home build in the county. The school district and UCM helped raise funds and provided numerous hours of labor to help make the home possible.

The May 2 event was a celebration to thank all of the individuals who participated in the build. It also gave those in attendance an opportunity to meet the partner family, and to present them gifts for their new home.

Habitat for Humanity ceremony

During a community celebration May 2, University of Central Missouri President Charles Ambrose praises the partnership between UCM, the Warrensburg R-VI School District, and Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County, which led to a new home built for a single mom and her five children at 628 W. Gay St., Warrensburg.

UCM President Charles Ambrose said members of the community are excited to “invest a little bit of Warrensburg” into the lives of the family who soon will be living in the house. Alisa, a single mom, is joined by three daughters, Alexis, 16; Lina, 5; and Alana 3; and two sons, Rilee, 14, and Frankie, 6.

“To the White family, especially the kids, welcome home. We’re glad you are here,” Ambrose said.

He pointed out a number of university members in the audience who helped with the home through their personal connections with the Habitat board, the family, the school district, through fundraising activities, or through their own volunteer labor into the structure. He also recognized the efforts of Wing-It an organization that provided volunteer support from Whiteman Air Force Base to help with the build. 

 “It’s not only sweat equity, they have a piece of themselves in this house,” Ambrose noted. He added that the university encourages its students to get involved in projects that serve the local community.

“Our hope is that as students leave the University of Central Missouri with a degree, they know that there’s a lot of needs in our community, and they can actively engage to help make a difference and to have a sense of otherness. And Habitat for Humanity…you give us that learning opportunity,” Ambrose said.

Scott Patrick, superintendent of the Warrensburg R-VI School District, praised the collaborative efforts of all parties involved in the build. His comments particularly focused on the learning opportunities gained by high school students who participated.

“This has been a wonderful partnership that will continue,” he told the gathering. “It’s not a matter of if it will, but when it will, because we will have another one of these education builds. I’m just not sure when, but it’s something that’s exciting to think about. It’s exciting to help another family.”

Patrick pointed out more than 15 students involved in courses taught by construction technology teacher Robert Mannering were involved in the project.  The experience they gained will benefit them the rest of their lives.

“Every time they drive by this house, they will be able to see how well this family is living it, and they will know this family is able to grow and live in this home and they had a part in that. No amount of education will provide that kind of opportunity,” Patrick said

Brian Niemuth, coordinator of UCM’s Office of Mentoring, Advocacy and Peer Support, served as master of ceremonies for the event. He was Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County’s construction committee chair, and also directly assisted in the building project. He presented certificates recognizing UCM and the Warrensburg R-VI School District’s leadership and participation in the build, and also recognized a number of local businesses and individuals who generously supported the partners.

Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County, an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, builds simple, quality, affordable housing in partnership with people in need in Johnson County. The organization has built eight homes in the county with the more recent being the home for Alisa White and her family.

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County, call 660-429-2763.