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From the heart

Partnership with Habitat for Humanity bonds district, community
Bryan ISD
Bryan ISD and Habitat for Humanity presented the Quintero-Mendez family with the keys to their new home.

After starting the Bryan ISD Build Project a year and a half ago, the keys were handed over to the Quintero-Mendez family in December. The district partnered with Habitat for Humanity to build a home for a local family. Students and Bryan ISD employees were involved with the process from start to finish and did everything from raising money to construction, plumbing, and landscaping. Though the duration of manpower is difficult to quantify, the number of Bryan ISD students and employees involved was close to 19,000. 

Superintendent Ginger Carrabine said. “All the hard work from the fundraising, the awareness, the participation in general just came full circle, and having our students stand there with me at the ceremony, and becoming part of the dedication ceremony meant everything. It sent a message to our school community about what we are doing in Bryan regarding community service and serving others.”

Seeing the project to completion was akin to finishing a marathon for Carrabine as it was a long, rewarding project that culminated in providing a family with a new home.

“When we handed the keys over to the family, it was the ultimate closure,” Carrabine said. “I looked into the eyes of the students standing there with me on site and I could tell that we had checked the ultimate box for setting our kids apart. This is something above and beyond what most school districts do, so I think we’ve provided an experience for all of our students that’s incredible.” 

With people working on the project from across the district, Bryan High student ambassador sponsor Cynthia Dominguez said that the world needs more selfless acts and that she was glad to be a part of this one. 

“I really feel like the kids in Bryan ISD needed to be a part of this project and build because serving and volunteering really helps the person giving just as much as the person receiving,” Dominguez said. “When you give back and help, it adds to your character and integrity. It fills your heart and soul with joy when you help someone else.” 

Bryan ISD student ambassador junior Alivia Shearer witnessed what it means for a community to come together for a single purpose, and appreciated the fact that she was able to be a part of something so impactful.

“There were a lot of people, so it was emotional,” Alivia said. “The family was surrounded by love, that they had this huge support system that they didn’t originally have before they were chosen.” 

Adriana Quintero-Mendez, the mother of the family receiving the home appreciates the opportunity to participate in building her family’s home as well as having the support of everyone that helped.

“We felt very at ease because we worked and participated with the other volunteers and people who came and helped us with the house,” Quintero-Mendez said. “It was a very beautiful thing because we were able to help build the house with our own hands.” 

Freshman Kyle Esco participated with other student ambassadors to help build the house and was present when the keys were handed over to the family.

“My favorite part was when we got to give the presents to the kids and then give the keys to the parents,” Kyle said. “Especially when we got to see the smiles on their faces.” 

During the landscaping portion of the build, Alivia helped complete the left side of the front yard and moved dirt, raked, and planted to create an area the family could enjoy.

“Finishing the landscaping felt validating because I did something for someone else,” Alivia said. “They’re going to be playing on the grass with the little kids, so actually seeing that I did something was very rewarding, and the fact that it wasn’t just for me.” 

Dominguez said that being tasked with building a house for a local family with children who attended Bryan ISD schools was a huge responsibility and honor. 

“I feel like this project connected Bryan ISD to the Brazos Valley like no other,” Dominguez said. “The fact that we all came together as a district and accomplished this goal showed our surrounding community that we are one and that we care about Bryan, Texas. We are a district that cares, gives back, and invests in our families.”

With so many students, teachers, and community members participating in the build, people have started asking when the district will start the next project. Though one is not currently planned, they already have started evaluating things to change for the next time to help the project go more smoothly.

“I think next time we need to be aware of the timeline,” Carrabine said. “I believe we were a bit ambitious and even aggressive with the timeline. What we didn’t account for was Mother Nature. With a construction project, you have to account for weather delays.”

With the district’s vision and motto of Children First, Always, the superintendent believes that the students are the driving force and the heart of BISD.

“We know the only way to truly serve and support children and position them for success is to embrace family and community engagement,” Carrabine said. “This project was the epitome of that, so we sent a real message to everyone in our community about our students and how they’re committed to giving back and serving.”

Though building the home meant a lot to the students and employees of Bryan ISD, it meant even more to the family who received the home as it provided them with a home of their own in which they will begin making memories.

“I felt very happy and very proud,” Quintero-Mendez said. “I felt a lot of joy for my kids as each has their own room; they are so happy to be in our new home. They have more privacy, ample space to play, and overall they are just so happy.” 

With the project ending, Carrabine said that her number one goal was to empower students and plant the seed of intrinsic motivation that lasts a lifetime. 

“I learned that no matter what hard times you’re going through, there will always be someone to pick you up and help you continue,” Kyle said. “I think it showed that there are still good and kind people out there, and you can still rely on people to help you.” 

Quintero-Mendez is appreciative of the overall kindness from the Bryan community and knows that this was a unique opportunity that blessed her family. 

“I just want to say that I am very thankful for the school district for all the support they have given us and for the gifts they gave us for our home and my kids,” Quintero-Mendez said. “From the bottom of my heart, I am truly grateful for everything the district has gifted us and for everything they have   supported us with.” 

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