The Key to Happiness

posted on Jun. 04, 2019, at 9:00 a.m.

NKBA Staff

Warren County Habitat for Humanity dedicated its NKBA partner home. By Loren Kessell

On a sunny May Sunday in Harmony Twp., N.J., crowds of people gathered at Nicole Banfield’s new home. It was a long journey, but the Warren County Habitat for Humanity dedication day finally arrived. Family, friends and volunteers took turns touring the completed home and congratulating the new homeowners.

“Nicole Banfield is incredibly hard-working,” Ben Eskow, executive director of Warren County Habitat for Humanity, said. “We’re excited for her and her family, and we hope people leave today feeling inspired.”

Nicole Banfield with her son, Giovanni Gonzalez, and daughter, Sage Banfield, at the dedication of their new home. Photo By Loren Kessell

If only one word could describe the experience, it would be perseverance. Banfield had applied for Habitat for Humanity homes in prior years, finally receiving the approval in 2018.

“I believe everything happens for a reason,” Banfield, a single mother of two, said. “And there is a reason I had to wait this long for this house.”

Families earning Habitat homes need to complete 250 hours of “sweat equity” per adult, participating in the building process. The Banfield family finished their hours by December — five months before they needed to be completed.

Sponsors also contributed to the home by providing materials and labor. This included cabinetry from Green Forest Cabinetry; solid surface from Wilsonart, and Eastern Surfaces Inc., which donated the labor to fabricate the Wilsonart surfacing material into beautiful kitchen and bathroom countertops. The NKBA provided the designs for the kitchen and the bath from the winners in its Student Design Competition. The students, Jasmine Dorman Galle and Kelly Writer, who were overall winners in kitchen and bath, respectively, joined NKBA volunteers at a day of service to help with prep and installation and completing small projects last fall.

“It was an honor to have been part of such a worthwhile project,” Karen Kuranda, Eastern Surfaces’ sales and business development manager, said. “It’s amazing what people can accomplish when they all come together. The Banfield family is a fine example of persistence and dedication.”

During the dedication, WCHFH representatives shared kind words about the Banfields’ experience, and they presented gifts such as a “Housewarming Blessing in a Basket.” The greatest gift of all, however, was when Nicole Banfield received her house key.

“It’s been an inspiring journey to be involved with this Habitat home,” Johanna Baars, NKBA’s senior manager of member services and professional development, said. “Seeing the NKBA Student Design Competition winning designs go from concept drawings to beautiful finished spaces has been such an exciting experience, and I wish the Banfield family many happy years in their new home.”

After the ceremony, the family planned to drive a van packed with their belongings to the house to officially move in and start their new life.

“Don’t ever give up, and be determined no matter what,” Banfield said. “I know sometimes people feel like they want to give up, but don’t.”

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