If you’ve been following along with 100 Stories, you know that this year First Story is welcoming eight more families home, each one with their own distinct, inspiring story.

Part of what makes First Story so unique is our ability to look holistically at home applicants, considering the different hurdles to homeownership and the challenges they’ve overcome. For that reason, the interview process is an important part of the application journey.

The process is a chance for applicants to open up and share candidly about what homeownership would mean to them. One of First Story’s new homeowners this year, Crystal, took that opportunity seriously and her story had a tremendous impact on interview committee member and New Home Star Community Manager, Isaac Barajas. First Story took a moment to chat with Isaac about his experience on the interview committee and what it meant to be a part of Crystal’s homeownership journey.

Crystal grew up in an abusive household, the trauma of which led her to her own struggles with addiction. However, when Crystal became a single mother to her three kids, she decided to enter in- patient treatment to start changing the trajectory of her life and create a better future for her family.

To Isaac, that decision really struck a chord. It was Crystal’s selflessness and perseverance that shone through in her interview.

“It was life changing to see her journey, how far she’s come, and how she’s done it for herself and her kids,” Isaac said.

As he pointed out, her decision to put her kids first clearly influenced and strengthened their relationship. Anytime Crystal would talk Isaac could see her kids tearing up.

“She is a big deal to them, and they’re a big deal to her,” he said.

For many of our committee members, getting to be an integral part of the First Story application process can provide valuable insight into how First Story changes lives and how unattainable homeownership seems to many community members.

As a recent first-time homebuyer, Isaac reflected on the difference between his journey to homeownership and Crystal’s.

“To see her perspective and journey makes me realize the need for Hayden Homes and First Story,” he said. “We can go into these markets and support someone’s accomplishment and dream.”

First Story is overjoyed to hand over the keys to Crystal this fall, and celebrate this milestone in her family’s life. We’re so grateful for team members like Isaac who take the First Story mission to heart and see how a hand up to homeownership can change lives.