Warrick Dunn Charities and the NFL Commissioner Goodell Support a Habitat for Humanity, Newark Family

Wednesday, 13 November 2013 16:23 Local Talk News Editor

Habitat Family given a $5,000 down payment and a full home of furnishings


A Habitat for Humanity, Newark partner family has been selected by the Warrick Dunn Charities for a "Home for the Holidays" surprise unveiling on Monday, November 11 in the city's Ironbound District.

All appliances and house accessories, down to the toothbrushes will be provided for the family. In addition to filling the home with items that any family would need to get their new life started, WDC also gave $5,000 towards the family's down payment. Items purchased for the home were sponsored by NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell and his family, who personally shopped for the family. Furniture was provided by Aaron's Inc.

"It's an honor for my family to be a part of the celebration today with Warrick Dunn and Habitat for Humanity," Goodell said. "We became involved because our family wanted to bring smiles to the children's faces and comfort to a hard-working deserving grandmother."

The family was joined by Warrick Dunn, the former NFL running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons, Commissioner Goodell and his family, Newark Mayor Luis Quintana, Chad Strickland, Vice President of Associate Resources, Aaron's Inc., Joseph Della Fave, executive director of the Ironbound Community Corporation, and Jeffrey Farrell, executive director of Habitat for Humanity, Newark.

"When Habitat for Humanity received a call from the charity, we were excited for what this means for our partner family," Farrell said. "There are many deserving families, but to have one of our own chosen is a great compliment to all the volunteers that worked hard on the Habitat house, and the partner family for committing so much of their life to this dream."

Warrick Dunn Charities (WDC), based in Atlanta, partnered with Habitat for Humanity to choose a single-family home with proven progress and financial stability. The Castillos are the 129th family chosen by WDC for their inspiring story of overcoming adversity while Elizabeth single-handedly takes care of two grandchildren with autism.

"This family resonates with me because when I lost my mother, my grandmother stepped in and provided me and my siblings with a family environment. I don't know where I would be today if my grandmother didn't sacrifice her life for us, so I can relate to these boys," Dunn said. "Yaya's character speaks volumes, and I'm excited just to be a part of her life."

Castillo found herself a parent, again at the age of 59, after a long custody battle for her two grandsons, Mikael and Gabriel. The road had been long for Castillo; all lines of credit controlled by her estranged husband, having lived in a dilapidated apartment, financial struggles in obtaining the Habitat home and medical issues with her two grandchildren who both have autism.

Essentially, she had to start her life anew. "Being a parent is hard, being a single-parent is harder," Castillo said. "But being a parent the second time around at my age to two beautiful boys with special needs is a gift."

The family recently closed on a rehabilitated one-floor three bedroom duplex, which was built with the help of house sponsors and more than 100 volunteers. The home, shared with another Habitat partner family in the floor above, sits in the Ironbound.

"Habitat for Humanity and Warrick Dunn Charities have had a positive impact on the lives of countless people across America, and we are proud of how they have come into our city to empower residents with the tools to achieve the American dream of home ownership. I want to thank Habitat for Humanity, Warrick Dunn Charities, and NFL Commissioner Goodell for joining together to give the Castillo family an early and welcome holiday gift," said Mayor Luis A. Quintana.

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