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Harlem Heights mother and family celebrate new home just in time for Mother's Day

Posted at 6:13 AM, May 08, 2022

HARLEM HEIGHTS, Fla. — A Fort Myers mom is celebrating Mother’s Day under a new roof this year.

It’s thanks, in part, to Habitat for Humanity and their Women Build Program. Just one day before Mother’s Day, Harlem Heights is celebrating their newest resident.

“I told myself I wasn’t going to cry but I knew that wasn’t going to happen.”

Joy Johnson, a hard-working, single mother can now add the title ‘homeowner’ to her name. Surrounded by family and friends Saturday was all about blessing Johnson’s new home. But it means a little more than a roof and four walls.

“I’m right between my grandmother’s street that was named after her so I’m just happy,” she says.

That’s right, Johnson’s new home is next to the street named after her grandmother Duera Mae Everett. A founding member of Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry counties. A full circle moment for both daughter and mother.

“I’m overjoyed and it’s a blessing that I’m here," says Joyce Mays, Joy’s mother. "But my mother’s not here but I know she’s looking down from heaven and saying, ‘I knew you could do it!’”

The journey hasn’t been easy. It’s taken months of hard work and patience.

"A lot of times I got tired and overwhelmed and she just said keep going, you can do it, just keep going," says Johnson, talking about her mother's encouragement. "And I didn’t give up. Now I’m here today because her motivation and my strong will power and just what my grandmother and mother instilled in me. It goes a long way.”

But even with what she’s been thru, Johnson says she would still want to help in the Women Build Program. To let other women know it can be done.

"It’s hard," Johnson said. "It’s hard out here to afford homes and houses and things like that but going thru habitat I feel like it’s the best thing someone could do. They’re welcoming, they’re happy people, they stick by you side-by-side and I’m just thankful. It’s a family.”

Making this family a little more thankful this Mother’s Day.

"You can make the best out of the opportunity that you put in front of you, if you want something out of life," said Mays. "My daughter is a living example of that. For a 30-year-old? Ain’t nothing but a blessing.”

You can learn more information about Habitat for Humanity and their Women Build Program online right here.