Elgin mother of six starts work on Habitat for Humanity home

  • Joleena Mejia, a single mother of six, helps install the first window in her Habitat for Humanity home in Elgin Wednesday. She is a lifelong Elgin resident and certified nurse assistant who has never had a permanent place that she and her children could call home.

      Joleena Mejia, a single mother of six, helps install the first window in her Habitat for Humanity home in Elgin Wednesday. She is a lifelong Elgin resident and certified nurse assistant who has never had a permanent place that she and her children could call home. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Volunteers from UL, a company in Northbrook, and Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley will rehab a foreclosed, Victorian era house in Elgin for Joleena Mejia, a certified nurse assistant and single mother of six.

      Volunteers from UL, a company in Northbrook, and Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley will rehab a foreclosed, Victorian era house in Elgin for Joleena Mejia, a certified nurse assistant and single mother of six. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Joleena Mejia and her 3-year-old son Chael address volunteers from Northrbook-based UL and Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley as they prepare to cut the ribbon on a rehab project for her and her 6 kids in Elgin Wednesday.

      Joleena Mejia and her 3-year-old son Chael address volunteers from Northrbook-based UL and Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley as they prepare to cut the ribbon on a rehab project for her and her 6 kids in Elgin Wednesday. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 9/19/2018 8:03 PM

An Elgin mom with six children says she's elated the family will get to live in a rehabbed Victorian home in Elgin thanks a joint effort between an area nonprofit and a suburban company.

"It was exciting to have my kids here to see what the house looked like before its started," Joleena Mejia said. "I think my 3-year-old picked out what room he wanted already."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Volunteers began the 12-month rehab project Wednesday for Mejia, a certified nurse assistant and lifelong Elgin resident, and her daughters ages 13, 10 and 9 and sons ages 3, 2, and 10 months.

The volunteers were from UL, a global safety science company based in Northbrook, and Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley.

Unlike many Habitat homes built from scratch, this project is unique because it will repurpose everything possible -- walls, floors, doors -- to maintain the historic character of the two-story house, built in 1891, officials said.

Mejia has to put 250 hours of sweat equity in to the project. Though she says she has zero construction experience, on Wednesday she helped install the first window. "That was the first time I've ever screwed anything in," she said. "But it's still up."

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