Slice of St. Tammany: Habitat home accessible for family with disabled child

Photo provided by Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West -- Easter Seals Louisiana volunteers Jo Blocmen, left, and Hilda Rocha volunteer for construction on the Foster Family home.
Photo provided by Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West -- Easter Seals Louisiana volunteers Jo Blocmen, left, and Hilda Rocha volunteer for construction on the Foster Family home.

By karen Baker

Special to The Advocate

The first Habitat for Humanity chapter in Louisiana was started in Covington more than 30 years ago. Those 30-plus years have been filled with buildings and blessings for many families in the community, with 220 homes completed and sold at no profit, with no-interest mortgages.

The Fosters, of Covington, are the latest family partnering to build a Habitat home, and for this family, the blessings of home ownership are extra special. Thanks to a partnership with Easter Seals Louisiana and Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West, the new Habitat home is fully handicapped-accessible for the Fosters’ youngest child, Tyrel.

Volunteers from Easter Seals and Habitat joined hands earlier this month to work on the house near Abita Springs. In addition to the volunteer hours, Easter Seals Louisiana donated funds to cover a portion of construction costs through the Specific Assistance Program. The program is primarily funded by proceeds from the annual Jazz on the Bayou event. The Specific Assistance fund is used to help selected applicants with needs not otherwise met through public or private agencies or private insurance. “As a disability service organization, Easter Seals Louisiana was thrilled to partner with Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West to assist in ensuring that Tyrel’s new home would be handicapped-accessible and meet his needs,” said Tracy Garner, Easter Seals Louisiana’s president and CEO.

Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West builds Americans with Disabilities Act wheelchair-accessible and modified homes with families who have a member with special needs, president and CEO Jeffry St. Romain said. Partnerships like this one with Easter Seals help provide the money necessary. “In recent years, we have built homes with senior citizens, individuals in wheelchairs and children with disabilities,” he said. “The modifications to a typical Habitat home enhance the … well-being of the family member with special needs.”

Through collaborations with organizations such as Easter Seals and other supporters, Habitat strives to build homes that help change the lives of homeowners, he said.

Habitat for Humanity is working on several homes in West St. Tammany. For information on volunteering or applying for a home, call (985) 893-3172.

Covington music, history

Covington’s Rockin’ the Rails concert series closes out today with the Iguanas from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Trailhead, 419 N. New Hampshire St. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s the last one of this year.

On Saturday, as part of the bicentennial events, Covington presents “Historic Treasures,” a tour of Covington’s elegant Garden District homes in the Division of Spring, including historic South America Street. The event starts at 10:30 a.m. with a lecture by architectural historian Sally Reeves at Christ Episcopal Church. A light lunch will be available for purchase at noon, and home tours take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The cost is $10 and includes the presentation, home tour, keepsake booklet and a wine and cheese reception.

Tickets are available the day of the event at Holzhalb Hall, Christ Episcopal Church, 120 S. New Hampshire St., Covington. For more information, email Sue Osbon at sueosbon@bellsouth.net

Haiti mission presentation

The Haiti Solidarity Partnership Ministry at Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Mandeville invites anyone in the community to attend a presentation of pictures and video from the parish’s mission trip to St. Benoit in Dessources, Haiti, in February. In addition to pictures and video, team members will be on hand to discuss their experiences, and there will be a small sale of Haitian crafts. The presentation will take place Sunday at 7:15 p.m. in the church, 1501 W. Causeway Approach in Mandeville. For more information, visit http://www.mqphaiti.wordpress.com or call Muguet Bolotte at (985) 705-1846.

Golf tournament planned

The Northshore Kiwanis Club of Mandeville is holding its 14th annual benefit golf tournament at Beau Chene Golf and Country Club on May 13. The tournament format will be a four-person scramble with a shotgun start beginning at 9 a.m. Individual registration is $140 before May 1. Late registration is $165 per player. Registration for a team of four golfers is $550 by May 1. Late registration is $600 per team. Fees will include cart, green fees, ditty bags, lunch and refreshments.

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. All proceeds from this tournament will be used to provide revenue to support community and youth programs. Last year, Northshore Kiwanis was able to provide $14,557 to community projects including scholarships for Lakeshore High, Mandeville High School, Northlake Christian and Fontainebleau High School.

Kiwanis also supports various local projects and charities during the year such as the Homeless Outreach for Youth in St. Tammany, Kids Konnection Playground, Children’s Museum Project, Coats for Kids, 5K for Kids & Fun Run, Project Graduation and the annual Thanksgiving food drive.

In addition to supporting community programs, proceeds from the golf tournament allow the club to sponsor seven Builders Clubs, five Key Clubs, two K-Kids Clubs in local schools and one Aktion Club at STARC West in Mandeville. Sponsorships at many different levels are available. For information, contact David Lindsey at (985) 801-0107 or email dlindsey@bankonresource.com.

Karen Baker writes about St. Tammany Parish. She can be reached at sliceoftammany@gmail.com.