Former US President Lends Name and Muscle to Build Homes for Needy
Habitat for Humanity builds houses for people who would not have the chance to own one any other way.
Erika Santiestepan is a single mother of two young children. She helped a group of volunteers build her new home in Mishawaka, Indiana recently.
"I feel like I won the lotto. It means everything. I don't have to worry about where am I going to go next."
Among the volunteers working with her was former United States President Jimmy Carter. Many Americans think of Carter and his wife Rosalynn when they hear the name Habitat for Humanity.
Jonathan Reckford is Habitat's chief executive officer. He notes that the group was started by Millard and Linda Fuller in 1976.
The Fullers asked Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter to help with one of Habitat's building projects in 1984. That was about three years after the Carters left the White House. Since that time, they continue to lend their name and muscle to this international aid group.
Habitat's headquarters is in Americus, Georgia, not far from Plains, the home of the Carters.
During his recent visit to Indiana, the former president described his interest in the group this way:
"Every human being probably would like some excitement in their life, some challenge in their life...something of which they could be proud." He added that Habitat answered all those needs for him.
Reckford said that, when Jimmy and Roslyn Carter got involved, the group had already helped 758 families build homes. Since then, it has partnered with 13.2 million people to build or repair homes.
"There is really no one that has had more to do with that than President and Mrs. Carter," Reckford said.
The Carters were not the only well-known Americans to work on the recent home-building project. Ericka Santiestepan noted that two country music stars also volunteered.
"I'm in a house, and I have these amazing people to help me – Garth Brooks and Tricia (Yearwood) are working on my house. I want them to sign the inside of my walls!"
Santiestepan is not getting the house for free. She will have to make payments on a home loan, just like other homeowners across the country. But the loan will be affordable. Because she helped build the house, she will pay no interest—something the group calls "sweat equity."
But the Habitat for Humanity project in Indiana is larger than one home. Joining the Carters, Brooks and Yearwood were hundreds of volunteers. They were planning to set up over 20 homes near Santiestapan's. Habitat has built more than 4,000 homes since 1984.
Jimmy Carter said the thankfulness of homeowners like Santiespan is a big motivation keeping him returning to build homes year after year.
"It just means a lot," Santiespan said. "They have no idea what they are doing for everyone. I mean, they know, but I don't know if they can feel exactly how it feels like. It's a dream come true."
I'm Mario Ritter.
1.a group of 一组；一群
I came across a group of children playing.
2.Since then 自那以后
Europe has moved a long way since then at a very quick pace.
3.set up 成立；建立
I set up a ginger group on the environment.
4.worry about 担心
Today he does not have to worry about making a living.
5.I mean, they know, but I don't know if they can feel exactly how it feels like. It's a dream come true."
dream come true 实现梦想
You can make that dream come true.
I believe in myself, I'm sure I can make my dream come true.
6.Jimmy Carter said the thankfulness of homeowners like Santiespan is a big motivation keeping him returning to build homes year after year.
year after year 年复一年
Year after year I have had a letter from Arthur on new year's day.
Tens of thousands of men, year after year, have travelled southwards to find work.
单亲妈妈艾丽卡·桑蒂斯潘（Erika Santiestepan）独自抚养两个幼小的孩子 。最近，她与一群志愿者在印第安纳州的米沙沃卡建造了自己的新家 。
“我感觉像中了乐透一样 。这意味着一切 。我不需要担心接下来的落脚之处了 。”
在与她一起工作的志愿者中包括美国前总统吉米·卡特（Jimmy Carter） 。当听到“仁人家园”时，许多美国人都会想到卡特和他的妻子罗莎琳 。
乔纳森·雷克福德（Jonathan Reckford）是“仁人家园”的首席执行官 。他指出，1976年，米勒德和琳达·富勒成立了该组织 。
1984年，富勒夫妇邀请吉米·卡特和罗莎琳助力做一个家园建设项目 。当时，卡特夫妇刚离开白宫大约三年 。从那时起，他们不断利用自己的名气和力量为该国际援助组织做贡献 。
“每个人都可能想要人生中的一些刺激，生活中的一些挑战……一些他们可以引以为豪的东西 。”他补充说，“仁人家园”满足了他所有的需求 。
雷克福德表示，卡特夫妇加入时，该组织已经帮助了758个家庭重建家园 。从那以后，该组织已经与1320万人合作建造或修缮房屋 。
卡特夫妇并不是唯一参与近期住房建设项目的知名美国人 。桑蒂斯潘指出，两名乡村音乐明星也自愿参与 。
桑蒂斯潘并不是无偿获得这所房子 。她必须像其他房主一样支付房屋贷款 。只不过贷款是可以负担得起的 。因为她也帮助建造了房屋，因此可以免于支付利息——这就是该组织所谓的“人力资产” 。
然而，印第安纳州的“仁人家园”项目可不止一家 。加上卡特夫妇、布鲁克斯和耶尔伍德，这个团体共有数百名志愿者 。他们计划在桑蒂斯潘家附近建造20多栋房屋 。自1984年以来，“仁人家园”已经建造了4000多套房屋 。
桑蒂斯潘说，“这意味深长” 。“他们并不清楚自己在为每个人做些什么 。我的意思是，他们虽然知道，但我不了解他们是否确切感受到这种感觉 。这是一种梦想成真的感觉 。”