For one East Nashville family, four walls mean security, stability, and a place to make memories with family and friends.
The first time Amanda Osborne and her three kids stepped inside their new house in Park Preserve, a neighborhood in north Nashville, there were a lot of tears. It was the spring of 2018, and a block party celebrating the completion of the just-built four-bedroom ranch was getting underway in the lot next door. Amanda and her children—Rodney, now 18; Asharri, 13; and Cyniah, nine—snuck away from the festivities for a quiet moment. The house was completely empty—not a single piece of furniture—but it’s a moment Amanda will never forget. For the first time in a long time, her family was home.
Before moving to Park Preserve, Amanda worked three jobs while raising her kids in apartments and public housing units around East Nashville. “There was always a concern that I would come home from work and see a letter attached to my door saying that I had to move because of my income,” she says. “And there was no safe place for the kids to ride their bikes, no park for them to play at.” Unsafe drivers and shootings made her afraid to let her children outside, especially after dark.
Habitat for Humanity changed all of that. Every April, Habitat raises awareness for affordable housing with its Home Is the Key campaign. The Atlanta-based nonprofit believes homes are central to making kids and adults feel secure, stable, and free. During the campaign, Habitat builds homes for families who have a demonstrated need for affordable housing and are willing to help with construction.
Along with dozens of volunteers (including our own Drew and Jonathan Scott!), Amanda helped build her family’s home from the ground up. In one month, she put in 100 hours of on-site construction work while juggling her day jobs.
“The important work Habitat for Humanity does really epitomizes the meaning of home: family. It’s incredible to see how deeply we can change someone’s life when we all come together as a community.”—Drew
Now the yellow-doored wood-frame ranch in Park Preserve is hers. A friend helped her paint a geometric mural on the living room wall, and Amanda and the kids planted flowers out back. “For me, home is security,” she says. “It means my children will always have a place to call home, a stable place to rest our heads after a long day. It means they can play with their friends in a safe neighborhood. And it means family time—making memories with family and friends.”
These days, Amanda appreciates her home as much as she did on her family’s first full night in their furnished home. A summer rain was falling, and as Amanda lay in her bed listening to the drops fall, it hit her: “I thought, It’s raining. In the summertime. On my roof. My very own roof.”
Brothers + Habitat for Humanity = A Match Made in Heaven
Habitat for Humanity’s love for home resonated so completely with Drew and Jonathan that they began volunteering with the nonprofit in 2014. They earned Habitat Humanitarian status in 2017, and in 2018 they joined the Home Is the Key initiative, which raises awareness for affordable housing. To get involved, visit habitat.org/homeisthekey.
By Keith Pandolfi | Photograph courtesy of Jay Asteros/Habitat for Humanity International
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of Reveal, Drew & Jonathan’s lifestyle magazine.