To have a sense of belonging is a critical component of life. It gives the feeling of inclusion, acceptance, and safety. As children grow, their identity is shaped by the people and experiences they are exposed to. As an adopted child, Dani felt loved and cared for but always wondered why her birth family gave her up. In addition, her family moved a lot, so she was never able to establish roots. This caused a lot of hurt and anger and those emotions drove her decisions. As a teenager, she ended up in institutions to deal with substance abuse, despite the substances being medically prescribed. By the time she turned 18, she moved to the Red Lake reservation, determined to make her own path.
It wasn’t long before she found herself pregnant by a man who already had 2 children. His addiction issues affected his parenting and at the young age of 18 Dani stepped in to fill the role of “parent” for the children. She promised them that she would always be there, and she kept that promise when she left their father in 2016 due to abuse and addiction issues; the children chose to leave with her.
Life as a young single Mom has not been easy for Dani. She is now a Mother to four children ranging from 18 to 3 with a baby girl on the way. She has struggled to find affordable housing with enough space for her and the kids. A serious car accident led to physical and emotional issues for her family. Her lack of stability and fear of another tragedy weighs heavily on her. Dani is determined to create a better life. She is pursuing her passion of horticulture at Central Lakes College. The blessings that she has found through programs on campus have connected her with other single mothers which according to Dani has led her to a new life of hope, love, and a possibility of a beautiful future.
Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity is excited to partner with Dani to build a new home where she and the children can finally “put down some roots.” A new home through Habitat means freedom to Dani. Freedom from stress and worry. It will create a solid foundation for her family. They will have a back yard where they can enjoy their love of nature and a home in a neighborhood that will finally offer a sense of belonging.