Volunteers build single mom's new home in West Chicago
The future house that Jeanette Jelinek will share with her young son is starting to take shape in a once-empty lot in West Chicago.
"Everybody has a dream," Jelinek said. "This is mine."
The single mother has more than 100 suburban women to thank for their help in making her dream come true.
All the women volunteered during DuPage Habitat for Humanity's weeklong Spring Women Build event. They worked on the initial construction of Jelinek's new house at DuPage Habitat's Pioneer Prairie subdivision.
Samantha Fisher, director of development for DuPage Habitat for Humanity, said the Women Build event started April 30 and ended Saturday. She said it was an opportunity for women across the area to do more than build a house.
"It focuses on empowering women through this opportunity to build up their community," Fisher said of the event.
Volunteers of every skill level were welcome to participate. It was the first time Annie Sove of Wheaton volunteered for a DuPage Habitat project.
"Habitat is a big organization, and I just wanted to be a part of it," said Sove, adding there were volunteers who traveled from Arlington Heights and Hoffman Estates to participate on Saturday.
During the last day of the event, dozens of volunteers were working to install the main floor of the house, which is the 13th and final DuPage Habitat home being built in Pioneer Prairie. Construction will continue until the home is completed, possibly in July.
Meanwhile, Jelinek is looking forward to the day when she and her 4-year-old son can move in.
Jelinek rents an apartment in Naperville from the Bridge to Homeownership organization. She said the group helped her get involved with DuPage Habitat.
To buy her house from DuPage Habitat, Jelinek will pay an interest-free mortgage at a cost that is affordable for her, in addition to taxes and insurance. She also must provide at least 250 hours of "sweat equity" -- work at other Habitat sites.
Jelinek already spent a majority of her volunteer hours building the home that is immediately next to where hers will be. Still, she spends as much time as she can at the site of her home.
"You should put hours in," Jelinek said. "This is your house. You help until it's done."
She said she's grateful for all the volunteers who are helping to build her home.
"They are out here volunteering with their friends," Jelinek said. "But they're doing so much more. The cycle of abuse. The cycle of living in an apartment. It's all being broken right here with them."