|Jul 06, 2010 --
Mario Mariscal is a single father with full custody of his three sons; Christian 8, Alexander 6, and Andrew 2. The Mariscal's have been living in a manufactured home that Mario's employer provides for the family on the ranch where Mario works. But Mario is working to try and change that, and soon hopes to have a new home for their family in Gustine, Calif.
Working with Self-Help Enterprises, Mario and six other families are in the process of building each other's homes through USDA Rural Development's Mutual Self-Help Housing Program. Through the program, participants are required to spend 40 hours per week building each other's homes, and at the end of the process they have invested "sweat equity" which reduces the cost of the home. Once all the homes in the group are completed, families can then move in.
Mario first learned about this opportunity from his brother who also participated in the program, and built a home just down the street in Gustine. Mario puts in an average of 50 hours a week at with his employer and then he still finds time to work on building the homes. His sister, Maria Mariscal, and two other friends have also been helping Mario reach the required number of hours needed for the program.
"It's been very difficult juggling all the responsibilities of being a single father, keeping up with work and working on the new house," said Mario. "But I know that with some sacrifice now, I'll be able to provide a more stable atmosphere and a better future for my kids. That is what keeps me motivated."
Mario and his sons are very excited about the great neighborhood their new home is in. Soon, the boys will be able to play in a neighborhood full of children and their cousins will live just a few houses away. The boys are also excited that in their new home they will each have their own bedroom.
"I cannot express enough how very proud I am of my boys, and how honored I feel putting in the effort to build this home for them." said Mario.
Mario is leading his sons by example and showing them what can be achieved with hard work and determination.
Photo available here