Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 1, 1998)
Photos (clockwise from bottom left)
JULIE TURNER hugs her Habitat for Humanity partner,
Ron Booe, during the dedication of her new home.
ASHLEY TURNER tickles her sister Chanta during
Chanta’s 14th birthday party.
JULIE AND CACEY TURNER work on their future home
with more than 40 volunteers during Lincoln-Lancaster
County Habitat for Humanity’s 10-day blitz build in
Family realizes its own
‘miracle on 25th Street’
Julie Turner recalls her worst low as the
moment she saw her neighbors injecting
drugs in the dark hallway of her Lincoln
At that instant she thought of her
daughters and realized the unfortunate
conditions they would grow' up in. She did
n't want them raised in a trying environ
ment, as she had been.
For their sake, she sought a way out -
she turned to the only thing she thought
With strangers' generosity, and her and
her daughters' hard work, the family's new
life was built from the ground up.
Remembering their hardships and
thinking about new memories, family
members cried as the keys to their new
home were placed in their hands.
Finding out in April they were accept
ed into the Lincoln-Lancaster County
Fiabitat for Humanity family program,
Turner and her four daughters, Chanta,
Cacey, Ashley and Brandy, rebuilt their life
July 20-31 during the 10-day blitz build of
Turner, a 31 -year-old divorced produc
tion worker for Outlook Windows,
remembers the day she received the news.
“I was so scared and happy -1 didn’t
know what to feel,” Turner said.
Throughout the next four months, the
Turners attended meetings and were inter
viewed. They showed Habitat who they
were and how they lived.
“We don’t live an easy life,” Turner
said. “We just live day by day, knowing the
sun will rise the next morning.”
As a family they worked side by side
through sweat and tears with Habitat.
The final result: a childhood dream for
one mother, and a house four sisters could
call home sweet home.
“If it wasn’t for God, this wouldn’t
have happened,” Turner said. “It is a true
But Brandy, a fourth-grader at Elliot
Elementary School, disagreed.
“No, Mom. It’s our miracle on 25th
Street,” she said.
Hard life, hurt hearts
Daisy Weeks, Julie’s mother, said her
daughter never had everything she wanted.
“All through school, kids made fun of
her because she didn’t have the popular
things everyone else did - clothes, shoes, a
car,” she said.
Turner’s parents divorced in 1976.
Julie was 9 years old.
Living with her father, Turner began
working as a waitress when she was 13
years old. She earned S1.25 an hour.
Working two other jobs during junior
high and high school, Turner said, she
worked to receive an income, no matter
how inadequate it might have been.
“The harder you work, the better pay
off in the end,” Turner said. “Yes it’s hard.
Yes it's enduring. But if you were in my sit
uation, you would have worked your hard
est to get out of it, too.”
Turner attended high school for two
years. She married at the age of 18 when
she already had two daughters, Chanta, 2.
and Cacey, 9 months.
“Growing up was hard,” said Cacey,
who is now a seventh-grader at Lefler
Middle School. “My father was violent.
He drank and smoked.”
Violence occurred frequently during
the girls’ childhood. Chanta, the oldest,
said she has blocked out much of her
younger years, including her father.
“He hurt our mother and us,” Chanta
said. “After I saw him physically abuse my
little sister, I lost all respect and love for
Turner had two more daughters:
Ashley, bom in 1987, and Brandy, in 1989.
Turner said domestic violence domi
nated her marriage. At age 24, she filed for
“My marriage was doomed before it
started,” she said. “I needed to protect my
daughters and give them a better life."
The Turners left for Kansas City, Mo.,
in 1993 but returned to Lincoln in January
1997 after experiencing poor living condi
tions, near starvation and crime.
“I didn’t want the girls to get mixed up
in the wrong type of living environment,”
Turner said. “Lincoln is better. It’s safer.”
Ail the girls said they wanted to move
back to Lincoln.
“I was glad to be back in Nebraska,”
said Ashley, a sixth-grader at Elliot
Elementary School. “But we had to live in
that stupid, yucky apartment.”
‘Only one hope’
For rent: A three-bedroom, one bath,
mouse-infested apartment. Rude and vio
lent neighbors leave trash out in the hall
way, break windows and play loud music.
Living with other families in a run
down apartment building in north Lincoln,
the Turners paid $445 a month plus elec
tricity, gas, phone and cable.
Turner said the building, on the 4700
block of Baldwin Street, was “overall,
Turner said living in the apartment
made her want to stop and give up.
Maijorie Bailey, Julie’s aunt, said she
told Julie about Lincoln-Lancaster County
Habitat for Humanity four years ago.
“I told her, ‘You only have one hope in
owning a home. It’s Habitat for
Humanity,”’ Bailey said.
Afraid she wouldn’t qualify, Turner
didn’t approach Habitat until this year.
“I can deal with this living condition. 1
have my whole life,” Turner said. “But my
girls shouldn't have to - they're not sup
Bailey and Weeks agreed Turner need
ed to accept Habitat's partnership offer.
“Habitat opened a big door for her,”
Bailey said. “She just needed to walk in
and swallow her pride. She finally did"
Coming home happier
One month after moving into their
home Aug. 1. the Turners said they have
rapidly adjusted to having “the finer tilings
in life,” including more space, separate
rooms, peace and quiet.
"I have wanted my own home since I
was a little girl," Turner said. “Now I know
what it is like
to live in a
than 40 vol
J o c h u m
Construction, said he had tun working on
his first Habitat house.
“Everyone working together to get
something like a house built is amazing,
truly amazing,” Jochum said.
Laurie Fraser, vice president of
Lincoln-Lancaster County Habitat for
Humanity, said the solid community sup
port of Lincoln makes Habitat families and
“Julie and the girls are a precious fam
ily,” Fraser said. “They are a strong family,
strongly dedicated to the community.”
Fraser said working on the Turner
house always was an adventure.
“All of the girls had positive attitudes,”
she said. “They were willing to help build
their house from the ground up.”
“The foundation of this house is their
blood, sweat and tears,” Bailey said.
Ashley said her mother comes home
every day happier than she did while living
in the apartment.
“I think it is because we actually have a
sweet home of our own now,” she said.
Still thinking it is a dream, Chanta
pinches herself every morning.
“Thank you for letting us have our own
house,” Chanta told volunteers during the
dedication ceremony of her new home.
“You’re quite an astounding family, this
Habitat for Humanity.”
I can deal with this living
condition. I have my whole life.
But my girls shouldn’t have to -
they re not supposed to/’
Habitat for Humanity beneficiary
help for project
The UNL chapter of Habitat for Humanity is planning to capture
the imagination, energy and hope of students this year through lad
ders, hammers and paint.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln chapter of Habitat plans to
build a house this fall with the help of both City and East campuses.
The group is working with its big brother, the Lmcoln-Lancaster
County Habitat chapter, to find land and a family to live there.
Katie Momll, UNL Habitat adviser, said the effort needs mass
"We want to build our own house with the help of both campus
es,” Morrill said. “Without campus community support, the house
will not stand.”
President Jason Dubs said building a Habitat house is something
UNL needed to do.
"Our chapter is dedicated to helping the housing situation in
Lincoln,” Dubs said. "Our campus is a huge resource -1 know we
Ldll UU 11.
Dubs said the house will take a lot
of work, time and money.
He is asking organizations for
donations and volunteers to help with
the cost and construction of the house,
a S40.000 expense, he said.
“Being college students, we have
limited resources and time,” Dubs said.
“Without the help of others, it would
take three or four years to raise all the
money needed for one house.”
One way students and student
groups can neip is mrougn /\uopi-/\
“We’ll do the coordmating and organizing,” Chris Stone, public
ity chairwoman, said. “You just need to donate your hands and
The Adopt-A-Job program asks groups to provide volunteers,
funding or materials for construction projects to help build a house.
Stone said the chapter wants the project to be an entire campus
project and dubbed it “The House that UNL Built.”
“All we are asking is for someone to say they will purchase a
bathtub and be willing to install it,” Stone said. “It’s as simple as that.”
Stone said the family is required to have $8,000 to start building.
The chapter has about $4,000, with five student organizations con
sidering a donation of $500 each.
Also, Morrill said, to help cover building costs, Habitat will hold
its Shantytown awareness project and fund-raiser Sept. 21-26.
“Lincoln-Lancaster County Habitat is waiting for us to say, ‘OK,
we’re ready. We can start now,”’ Morrill said. “All we need is the
Laurie Fraser, Lincoln-Lancaster County Habitat for Humanity
vice president, said Habitat has not selected a building site or a fam
ily for the UNL chapter’s project.
Dubs said when construction on the house begins, volunteers
will see and feel the satisfaction.
“Until you experience it for the first time - meeting the family,
building the house - there’s no way to describe the benefits,” Dubs
said. “There are really no tangible benefits but rather emotional ties
lasting a lifetime.”
UNL Habitat for Humanity will discuss activities for the year at
6 p.m. tonight in the Nebraska Union. Anyone interested in helping
Habitat is encouraged to attend.
Organizations wishing to volunteer or donate money or materi
als for Adopt-A-Job should contact Nelle Balsiger, fund-raising
chairwoman, at (402) 436-6072. -
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