New homeowner Natasha Krikelas and her children Tihana, 8, and Travon, 12, cut the ribbon to their new Habitat for Humanity house on Moreland Avenue in Alton alongside Debra and Kurt Warner, and Alton Mayor David Goins. Photos by Nathan Woodside, L&C Media Services.

GODFREY – Members of Lewis and Clark Community College's Building Futures YouthBuild/AmeriCorps joined other collaborators, including an NFL Hall of Famer, Friday morning to see Lewis and Clark Habitat for Humanity’s latest project come to fruition.

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During a ceremony, former St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner and his wife Brenda helped single mother Natasha Krikelas and her two children, ages 8 and 12, cut the ribbon on their new home on Moreland Avenue in Alton.

While YouthBuild/AmeriCorps students helped Habitat for Humanity with restoration projects at the home, the Kurt Warner First Things First Foundation worked with corporate partners to surprise the family with $10,000 in furnishings and appliances.

Brenda and Kurt Warner pose for a photo with L&C Director of Pathway Resource Development Adult Education Sabrina Davis and a team from YouthBuild that worked on renovations for the Habitat for Humanity home.“Today we are thankful for the power of teamwork and dreams realized,” Kurt Warner said, after reminiscing about the first time he and Debra became homeowners prior to his NFL success. “I needed someone to come in and go, ‘Here's a chance. Here’s a hand up. Now, you go and run with this thing. That, to me, is what this day is all about. I see all of you, all the blue shirts, all the volunteers, everyone who’s been a part of this and put in the sweat equity to make this happen.”

L&C Associate Dean of Adult Education Val Harris, who also serves as chairperson of the Habitat for Humanity affiliate’s board, right, thanks Brenda and Kurt Warner for the contributions of the Kurt Warner First Things First FoundationBrenda Warner added that it felt especially exciting to help a single mother.

“Single moms rock,” she said. “They do it all and it’s an honor to be in a position to have walked this road in the past and now be able to bless this mom and her kiddos."

L&C Associate Dean of Adult Education Val Harris, who also serves as chairperson of the Habitat for Humanity affiliate’s board, beamed with pride over the work completed by the partnerships.

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“Many of us may take for granted the value and significance of having a home, a stable place to live,” she said. “Owning a home is different from renting. It builds a sense of pride and of belonging, and gives families a financial stake in the community.”

L&C’s Youthbuild/AmeriCorps program has worked on renovations for multiple area Habitat for Humanity Projects.

“It's so fulfilling for our students to see all the good that comes with their hard work,” said L&C Director of Pathway Resource Development Adult Education Sabrina Davis. “Not only do they get the experience in home renovation, they also get to work alongside these great philanthropic organizations to create wonderful homes for families.”

L&C Dean of Career Programs and Habitat for Humanity Board Member Susan Czerwinski received special recognition at Friday’s ceremony for spearheading the project and devoting hundreds of hours to making the house a home.

“I'm just grateful for today,” she said. “I'm so grateful for everyone here.”

YouthBuild AmeriCorps is a program designed to serve out of school youth, 16-24 years of age. The program is a unique contextualized career pathway program designed to prepare young adults to take the GED®/High School Equivalency (HSE) exam or complete their high school diploma while gaining skills in construction, information technology and/or Transportation, Distribution and Logistics. They then follow the pathway on to further education and/or employment.

YouthBuild functions as an AmeriCorps network affiliate member.

The AmeriCorps component of YouthBuild provides students with leadership opportunities while earning them money for education and developing an appreciation for citizenship through service-learning activities within the community.

To learn more, visit www.lc.edu/YouthBuild or contact Sabrina Davis at (618) 468-4150 or sdavis@lc.edu.

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