Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles (Habitat LA) brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. Since 1990, Habitat LA has partnered with volunteers, donors and Habitat homebuyers to build, renovate and repair homes locally and worldwide transforming the lives of thousands of individuals. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes and pay an affordable mortgage. Ultimately, Habitat LA’s goal is to revitalize neighborhoods and communities and is proud to partner with companies, like Terranea Resort, to build a greater Los Angeles.
As we enter into the holiday season, one of our homeowners shared what he is thankful for as he reflected on his Habitat LA journey. Jose Tobar Jr. was just 15 years old when he moved into his Habitat LA home built by hundreds of volunteers and former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, during the 1995 Carter Work Project. Now 36 years old, Jose not only owns his own home but has also embarked on a career devoted to helping others in need of affordable housing. It is a life entirely different from the one that seemed to be his destiny.
After emigrating from El Salvador, Jose and his family lived in cramped apartments for years. He shared a bedroom with siblings, while his parents slept on a pullout couch in the living room. These conditions affected everything from their health to their grades. At the end of his freshman year in high school, Jose shared that he had a “one-point-something” GPA.
“I didn’t know how I was going to get through school. I didn’t think I could make anything out of myself.” But when the Tobar family moved into their Habitat LA home, something changed. He now had a stable place to study and soon his grades began to improve. By the time he graduated, Jose’s GPA excelled to a 3.6 GPA. He also received three college acceptance letters and enjoyed a new outlook on life.
Jose knows he would not be where he is today if things had stayed the same. He confidently shares that Habitat LA changed his family’s legacy. “Mom and Dad don’t have to worry about a place to live,” he says. “They won’t be working at 70 to afford the rent on a one-bedroom apartment.”
This journey also brought him to a new career path with a company that specializes in affordable housing. “It’s my passion to work and make differences in the lives of others,” he adds. “I’m not rich. But I do want to make a difference, because I saw that difference in my own family.”
Jose is helping to change the world one person at a time and continues to be inspired by President Carter’s words: “People are so worried about trying to change the world, when all they need to do is change one person’s life.”
Terranea is partnering with Habitat LA to help families achieve the stability and self-reliance they need to build a better future. During this season of giving we invite you to be a part of this effort and help more families, like Jose, build a better tomorrow. Join us by visiting habitatla.org to donate today!