Reconnecting People | Once a property has been restored, Urban Homeworks works to connect neighbor to neighbor to create a livable, robust community with a strong sense of home. The result is a rich exchange between households that reweaves a sense of community through day-to-day activities.
When my son wanted to have a playdate with his classmate, Oscar, we went to the school receptionist and asked if she could put is in contact with Oscar’s parents. She quickly got on the phone with his mom who invited us right over. The receptionist handed me a note with their address and asked, “Do you know where this is?”
I smiled to myself as realization washed over me. Yes, I knew where it was. It was woven into the timeline of my life. Memories from over 10 years ago rushed back. This was the second Urban Homeworks property I worked at on the Northside.
Hand in hand we walked to Oscar’s house as I proudly told my son that his dad helped build this home. It took me back to 10 years ago, when I was managing volunteer crews, pouring blood, sweat, and tears into this property, oblivious to fact that at that same time, Oscar’s family was halfway around the world in Burundi. A small country in the heart of Africa, Burundi has the distinction of being the hungriest country in the world with a history riddled with civil war, genocide, famine, and extreme poverty. Our families, once worlds apart, were now crashing into one another and discovering a shared Urban Homeworks thread, all thanks to the friendship of two first graders.
10 years ago, these little boys weren’t even born. I couldn’t have known that Oscar’s family of 12 would come to Minnesota as refugees, be connected with Families Moving Forward, Clare Housing, and eventually, us. But, I was struck by an ‘ah ha’ moment when, for just a second, I realized I was seeing God’s plan at work. I realize looking through the lens of 1815 Emerson, that God had a plan for a future where these two children would be friends because Oscar’s family had a place to live. The work we do is important and in the moment, we don’t always know the significance.
I needed that reminder of God’s plan.
Oscar is growing up getting an education in a school close to his home and with a community of support. His parents are growing in their English fluency and his dad is steadily employed. 3 of his siblings have graduated from High School. Support for our Rental housing helps families just like Oscar's. Join the >100 campaign today.