Partner Family Spotlight
Alonso/Pizzola Family Expanded Story
The time between 2012 and 2015, proved to be very difficult for Belinda Alonso and her three children, Michael (20), Julia (14), and Hannah (12). Belinda lost her brother, husband, grandmother and father all within those three years. However, those were not the only hardships Belinda had to face in the recent past. Belinda worked at Essenhaus for thirteen years until her health began to decline. She had a weak spell at work and had to quit due to her health issues. Belinda returned to school to earn her Bachelor’s degree and pursue employment in a less physically demanding field. She interned at the YWCA with hopes of it turning into a job, but her health continued to decline forcing her to discontinue her employment.
Belinda uses a walker and she cannot stand up for long periods of time. She also gets weak spells frequently without warning, so she must be closely monitored. After numerous visits to specialist over the years, Belinda is no closer to finding an answer, which made it tough for her to find and maintain employment. She has tried to provide a safe and stable home for her children, but this has been challenging with only limited Social Security income. “We’ve moved a lot…moved at least eight times,” Belinda states. She and her three children have always lived in apartments or mobile homes, dealing with unsafe neighborhoods, landlords who do not complete repairs, and conditions that are not physically accessible for Belinda.
Belinda’s mother, Catheryn Pizzola, decided to move to the area from Muncie to help Belinda and the kids. The two were very familiar with the Habitat Program and thought that it could be an option for them. Catheryn’s grandfather, Cecil Thomas, was a longtime volunteer at the Delaware County Habitat. “He worked with [Habitat] since it started and volunteered until he was 91…they have an award named after him in Muncie,” says Catheryn. She and Belinda then decided to apply to Habitat as joint applicants in order to provide a safe and stable home for the family.
Belinda and her mother were accepted into the Program in the fall of 2016. Catheryn says, “[When I found out we were accepted] I felt my grandpa there with me. I felt like we won the lottery.” Belinda is grateful for the stability she will soon be able to provide for her children. Belinda and Catheryn wasted no time once accepted into the Habitat Program and were the first Partner Family in their class to complete all of their required Sweat-Equity hours. “It’s a blessing. It’s seemed like a lot of hard work but I’m grateful because I learned a lot,” says Catheryn. Belinda felt that she has really benefitted from the financial education and she likes that Habitat is a faith-based organization.
Belinda’s son, Michael, is currently attending Purdue pursuing a Master’s Degree in Statistics and a Minor in Computer Science. “He’s very intellectual,” states Catheryn. Hannah and Julia attend Goshen Schools. “The girls like playing volleyball, going to the park, and stuff,” Belinda states. The children are excited about their new Habitat home. “Michael used to always say I wish we had our own house,” Belinda smiles.
The family has selected a nice, quiet lot in Bristol, and they are excited for construction to soon begin on their home. Once they move into their Habitat home, Belinda would like to go back to school and obtain her Master’s Degree in Counseling if her health improves. “I just want the kids to be happy and successful,” she also stated. Catheryn says, “[I would like to] enjoy life and help other people. Would like to continue to work with Habitat. Would like to see all of the kids have a happy life and be able to stand on their own two feet.”
Back: Catheryn. Middle: Michael, & Belinda. Front: Julia, & Hannah