Angel’s family has had to overcome more life challenges than most. When Angel was very young, her parents, Vanessa and Miguel, moved their family to southern Colorado because Denver was starting to get too expensive. Shortly after they moved, their oldest son was diagnosed with leukemia, so the family made the decision to move back to Denver to be close to Children’s Hospital.
Denver was still an expensive housing market on Vanessa and Miguel’s income, but they found a house where they could subsidize some of their rent by doing home improvements to fix it up. “It was a dump,” Vanessa shared. “One of the bedrooms was covered in mold so we had to close it off from the rest of the house.” Believing that squatters had lived in their rental prior to them moving in, they never quite felt safe and their family of five squeezed into two bedrooms. However challenging, living in these conditions made it possible for their son to access the health care he needed. Today, he is in remission and is healthy and happy.
Moving frequently and living in cramped conditions had an effect on everyone in the family. Over the course of Angel’s childhood, she changed schools many times. After each school change, Angel was frustrated at always feeling behind in class due to constantly starting over with new teachers and curriculums. At home, Angel struggled to focus on homework because the only space available to work on it was in her bedroom, which she shared with her two younger brothers.
Things turned around once Angel’s family moved into their Habitat home. Angel got her own bedroom for the first time in her life, and finally had quiet space all to herself where she could focus on her studies. She was able to stay in the same school through all four years of high school, and excelled in academics. Angel graduated with a 4.024 GPA and earned four scholarships, including a prestigious Daniels Scholarship.
“Every parent wants their kids to be successful,” Vanessa shares. “We owe it to Habitat… I’m not sure where we’d be with rents getting so expensive in Denver.”
Angel will be the first generation in her family to attend college, and is excited to start at Regis University this fall. “She’s done wonderful. We’re so proud.”
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