This interview was conducted by Athens NEWS Project Manager Libby Wiebell.

Libby: What does Habitat for Humanity mean to you?

Ashley: "It was a real eye-opener for us as far as how important community service can be. It taught us a lot about more than just building. I'm not as involved in the community building but I'm really involved with Friends of the Shelter Dogs and I foster dogs. That was one of the things after I got done building that somehow I wanted to give back to the community. Habitat definitely means home, you know, but it also meant a lot about teaching how you can help within the community."

Libby: What do you feel Habitat means to our community?

Ashley: "It's means A LOT; in all honesty, it was a great learning experience. I know for us personally it was a dream come true because we lived in a mobile home on land that we wanted to stay on but if we hadn't got the habitat house, we wouldn't have built on it, and we would have just lived in our trailer that you would walk across the floor, that you could fall into because the floors were rotten. I think the families that have got their own habitat house - I'm sure it means a lot to each one of us."

Libby: What is your most memorable Habitat moment?

Ashley: "Sue Ellen Miller, who helped build the house and still stay in contact with, she asked me if I knew how to swing a hammer, and I was like 'yeah you just swing it!' and she showed me how to actually use a hammer. In fact, we have a big photo album of pictures of building our house. For me, building the house with Women Raise the Roof was such a learning experience. I really looked up to them, and I felt that not only did they help me build the house but they also empowered me as a woman. My house means a lot to me because of the volunteering and the hours that I put in working with Women Raise the Roof. Our house was built with love and tons of community spirit."

Libby: What would you tell others who may not be familiar with Habitat about the program?

Ashley: "The number one thing I always get annoyed about is when people say, 'Oh well, you live in a Habitat house'; but it's not a free house! We pay for it; we make house payments. As they say, it's a hand up and not a hand-out. Working with Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio was amazing, and I have no complaints. Volunteering within the community will always be a part of my life now after the build."

Libby: Tell us about something you've done in your home since moving in.

Ashley: "Fostering dogs is a really big part of my life now, and I also dog-sit, and having our own place allows us to do that because if we were renting, lots of places don't allow you to have dogs. Having a good place for our three girls to grow up in, we have a great school district and we love living here. I like knowing that when our daughters grow up, they can come home to a nice safe place."

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