habitat_051712_web.jpgFlorida International University

MIAMI — Three mother-daughter pairs spent part of their Mother’s Day weekend building, bonding and volunteering at a Habitat for Humanity construction site in Liberty City, part of a crew of more than 100 women who sweated through neon purple volunteer shirts at nine area worksites.

The event was part of Habitat’s “Women’s Build,” through which the organization recruits volunteers for women-only construction teams.

Habitat plans to build some 250 homes in and around Liberty City, 90 this year alone.

Coral Gables resident Cristina Mendia-Beauperthuy worked  alongside her 17-year-old daughter, also named Cristina

The pair participated in the event alongside two other mother-daughter pairs from the South Dade Volleyball Club, of which Mendia-Beauperthuy’s 17-year-old daughter, also named Cristina, is a member. None previously worked with Habitat, having learned of the event by word of mouth.

“When you’re here it becomes real, you see the end results of your community service work and we don’t get to do enough of this because of lack of time during the school year,” said Mendia-Beauperthuy, 47. “That’s why I wanted to bring my daughter. I told her this would be my Mother’s Day present.”

“Being able to come out with my mom makes it fun; you forget you are doing community service work since we are bonding,” said the younger Beauperthuy. “It’s a great team activity for all of us.”

Teresa Colston, the future owner of the house, is herself the mother of 10-year-old Shamara.

“I believe having a house will bring her a sense of security. I feel like she is going to have a more stable environment,” said Colston, who is set to move into her new home on June 2. “She’ll be closer to the school and I can work around her needs, like her afterschool activities and homework.”

Habitat makes no profit on the homes, which cost the new owners between $100,000 and $130,000.

To qualify, recipients must have jobs, be financially stable, complete homeownership courses, pay a $1,500 down payment and contribute at least 250 hours of “sweat equity,” by working on Habitat projects.

Mortgage payments are set at 30 percent of the homeowner’s income, usually ranging between $600 and $900 monthly, including insurance and taxes.

Daniela Leal, 16, another member of the South Dade Volleyball Club, also worked alongside her mother, Andrea.

“It’s not just for community service hours, it feels good to know I’m giving back with my family, especially when it’s for other families that really need a helping hand,” she said.

Colston, meanwhile, said she plans to continue working with Habitat.

“I never thought I would enjoy building a home or doing outside work, but I’ve learned so much with the women in the Women Build program,” she said. “We get the work done and still have a good time talking to each other,” she said.

Contact Monique Rodriguez at mrodr225@ fiu.edu

Photo: Monique Rodriguez/Liberty City Link

BONDING OPPORTUNITY: On Mother's Day, mothers and daughters joined in Habitat for Humanity’s “Women’s Build,” through which the organization recruits volunteers for women-only construction teams.