On a recent Saturday morning, a project becoming known as The Ave Homes brought a spot of brightness to a community still reeling in the aftermath of a tremendous natural disaster.
30 Habitat for Humanity homes in Immokalee, Florida, were dedicated at a ceremony on Saturday, January 20th. Three of these homes, The Ave Homes, were built in partnership with The Mother Teresa Project at Ave Maria University by funds raised by Steve Auth, Wall Street Executive and friend of AMU.
Mr. Auth owns a seasonal home in Naples, Florida. After Hurricane Irma passed through the area in early September 2017, Mr. Auth was struck by the damage suffered in the town of Immokalee, which is located ten minutes from Ave Maria, Florida. He reached out to his friends and colleagues, quickly raising enough money to build new homes. Through a connection with a student at Ave Maria University, Mr. Auth partnered with The Mother Teresa Project and Habitat for Humanity to help coordinate the volunteer labor and logistics required to make this dream a reality.
Much of the work put into building The Ave Homes was done by AMU students. Athletic teams, faith households, RAs, and individual students signed up to volunteer their free time to frame, put up siding, and paint homes built to last. Mr. Auth and his wife, Evelyn, also devoted many of their weekends to work alongside the volunteers building homes. On January 20th, the donors, volunteers and homeowners all came together to celebrate the accomplishment. At the Habitat for Humanity dedication ceremony, each family was presented with a housewarming basket, and the homes were blessed. AMU student volunteers also had an opportunity to tour the completed homes and meet the grateful families.
Immokalee Rebuilds, the collaborative project between Mr. Auth, Habitat for Humanity, and Ave Maria University, has already begun construction on a fourth home. The project’s operating motto echos the words of Mother Teresa: “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”
Two AMU student volunteers (in the official bright blue Immokalee Rebuild t-shirts) stand for a group picture with Steve Auth, at center, the Wall Street Executive who funded The Ave Homes project, and the new residents.