grat-i-tude – the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation or and return to kindness

Each year on March 7th, we take extra time to reflect on why First Story is here, how we got here and everything we still hope to accomplish. On this day back in 2002, we placed keys in the hands of Robert & Lorraine Saldana and started our journey of providing homeownership to hardworking and deserving families. Over 20 years and 82 families later, we celebrate Home Gratitude Day – a day to be proud of the families we serve and to show appreciation for the acts of kindness and generosity we receive that help us change lives. We are so thankful!

We recently checked in with the Saldana family and they can hardly believe that it has been 18 years since they became homeowners. The last few years have been difficult for the family with the challenges of career shifts and the death of a sibling. The twists and turns were unexpected, but their home has been their “rock” and a consistent source of gratitude for them. An affordable mortgage payment has kept the family afloat during these tough times. “We love our home! It was a gift back when we first received it and it is still to this day,” said Lorraine. “We will always be grateful for Hayden Homes, First Story and all of the people in between who helped it become a reality.”

Having a home gave Robert & Lorraine’s son Tristan, who has Down syndrome, the foundation he needed to grow, learn and succeed. Many of the challenges that Tristan faced were manageable because the family had a permanent place to call home. Tristan graduated from high school last year and is currently attending a vocational school with a goal to find employment interacting with the public. Graduation was a huge milestone for Tristan and the entire family. “Our hearts were full of joy while he walked up on stage - cheered on by his classmates - to receive his diploma all by himself,” said Lorraine. “We are so proud of him!”

First Story exists because caring individuals and companies want to make a difference for families like the Saldana family. To our founder and building partner Hayden Homes, to our donors who jumped on board at the beginning, and to all of our partners who continue to be with us every step of the way – THANK YOU!

#lovegrowshere #homegratitudeday