For future homeowner Emily, getting through a typical week takes a lot of organization – and very little sleep.

Emily and her two children, 7-year-old Elijah and 3-year-old Empress-Emery, wake up by 6:30 a.m. for school drop-offs – for Elijah and Emily. Emily is a nursing school student besides working full-time.

Their schedule was already hectic. Enter her dreams of becoming a Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando & Osceola County homeowner. Meeting the requirements – which includes attending 17 homeownership classes and contributing 200 sweat equity hours – make Emily’s weekly routine even busier.

“I’m trying to create a legacy for my children,” Emily said. “I know it’s going to be worth it in the end.”

Emily hopes homeownership brings her family more stability. She applied to be a Habitat Orlando & Osceola homeowner in fall 2018 with that dream in mind.

“I felt thrilled,” Emily recalled upon learning she was accepted. “Honestly, it was surreal for me. I couldn’t believe it was really happening.

“Even now it feels surreal.”

The “grind,” as Emily called her and her children’s weekly routine, takes a toll on the family. While she tries to be the best mother possible for her children, some aspects slip through the cracks. A few months ago, Elijah fell behind with reading – which required extra attention from Emily to get him back on track.

Exacerbating this issue, the trio lives with nine extended family members. Although Emily loves her family, the living situation conflicts around creating structure and having privacy.

“I don’t feel adequate as an adult because of my living situation,” Emily said.

Emily said she’s not the parent she wants to be – yet. Reflecting on her own choices over the years, she knows it’s not too late to become who she dreams for herself.

“It’s never too late to change or grow or evolve,” Emily said.

Her goal is to ensure her children can follow their dreams. Right now, those dreams are to have their own rooms – a superhero-themed one for Elijah and a princess-themed room for Empress-Emery. Someday, the aspirations may evolve into starting college or owning their own businesses.

First step – becoming a Habitat Orlando & Osceola homeowner.

Emily will make her dream of homeownership a reality with a hand up from Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando & Osceola County – and you. Visit to learn more about how you can help.