Dahiana Marte family


The Greatest Gift is Giving Back

The Marte family is one of the more than 117 families who own a home built by Morris Habitat for Humanity with funds from the community and volunteer labor. We build more than just homes: we empower families to build brighter futures for generations to come.

Tears of Joy

Owning a home is a dream come true for many, but for Dahiana Marte, it took months after moving into her new Habitat home before she grasped the reality. “I would leave the lights on all night because I’d wake up thinking ‘did it really happen… to me?’ and I would look around and be reassured that I was truly in my own house,” Dahiana said.

Dahiana—a single mother—and her three sons, Gihany (3), Sandyel (7), and Daysan (13), moved into their Harding Avenue home in Dover just before the holidays one year ago.  It was the greatest gift of all. “I cried tears of joy that first Christmas. I couldn’t believe this was happening to us.”

It was a magical time for the young family, and a departure from living with Dahiana’s mother and multiple family members, squeezed into a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment. Although she was working two jobs, one as a payroll clerk and one at the YMCA, Dahiana couldn’t afford her own place to live.

Then Morris Habitat came into her life and “changed things forever,” she said. Even though she worked six days a week, Dahiana put in her 300 hours of sweat equity on Saturdays, swinging a hammer and a pickaxe, working on her future home until she was exhausted, yet exhilarated. The journey to home ownership was transformational on many levels.

“I’m a different person than I was a year ago,” said Dahiana, who explained that, with the financial security of a home, she feels safe and more confident. That confidence has led to a promotion at work, allowing for more savings and the beginning of a college fund for her sons.

A Grateful Heart

Lourdes Perez and Dahiana MarteAnd now, with deep appreciation and a grateful heart, Dahiana is already giving back. She is serving as a volunteer family support mentor for three homeowners in progress at the largest project in Morris Habitat’s 33-year history—a condominium complex on Main Street in the Succasunna section of Roxbury Township. That project will provide homes for 12 families, including a veteran of the Iraq war, his wife and three baby daughters. She is also the mentor for Lourdes Perez (pictured), a homeowner in progress at the Randall Avenue project in Mine Hill.

Dahiana will serve as a role model and liaison for these families, assisting them at every step of the homeowner process as they complete sweat equity hours and educational seminars on budgeting, finance and neighbor relations.

“I hope you will join me in supporting Morris Habitat for Humanity, as a donor, volunteer or both! It fills my heart with joy to know that these families are in the same place that I was not long ago and soon they will have keys to their new homes,” said Dahiana.

Your Gift Makes a Difference

Morris Habitat for Humanity can’t do it alone…we need your help. As we enter this year’s season of giving, we encourage you to make a contribution that will help build homes and empower families for generations to come. Together we can lift families up, end the cycle of poverty and enrich our community. Please give generously.

It’s more than a home. Your generous gift will

  • Help families build brighter futures
  • Build a foundation to achieve strength, stability, self- reliance, and safety
  • End the cycle of poverty forever