Bernadette and her three children

Bernadette's Family

Animals in the yard and cookies in the oven

Bernadette grew up in Fountain, where she still lives with her three children – but as a single mom employed in the childcare field, she’s found buying a home in El Paso County to be impossible.

“The amount of money you need to just put down is insane, let alone everything else that goes with it!” she says. “It’s not manageable for me to do.”

The apartment where she and her children live is “not the best part of Fountain. There’s been a lot of crime,” she says, including guns tossed into nearby bushes and fentanyl busts at a neighborhood park.

“I’ve just made sure I stay on top of those things,” she explains. “If we go out to play at the park, we go to a better park. We don’t really go out very much. If we do, we go to my parents’ house or my coworker’s house, where they can play in the yard…without me having to worry about them every five seconds.”

Boy fishing in pond

Safety for herself, her children, and visitors is just one of the things she looks forward to when she moves into her Pikes Peak Habitat home: “Having people over in a safe environment, not having them come over and being like, ‘Let’s lock the door right away,’” she says. “The kids can ride their bikes outside.”

Another concern that’s become more pressing is the need for space as her kids get older. Right now, her daughters share a room, and the family makes do with one bathroom.

“I just think about all three of mine being teenagers at the same time, and the way girls are with the bathroom, and then the way boys can be with the bathroom!” says Bernadette. “I can just see so much, ‘Get out of the bathroom! It’s my turn!’ because they’re already like that to an extent. They do pretty good, but yeah, I can see that.” She adds, “They’re going to need more space to grow.”

Her oldest, Jakob, just turned nine. “He’s my goofy one!” says Bernadette. “He’s all over the place.”

Anna, age seven, “does the right thing all the time,” says her mom. “She’s always looking out for somebody else and always making sure that if she gets a snack, she gets one for her brother and her sister.”

Her youngest daughter, Emma, is five. “She is my wild one!” laughs Bernadette. “She doesn’t take no for an answer. She’ll try and twist the words around to get you to say yes in a different way, and she just doesn’t take any crap from anybody! She sticks up for herself.”


She says her kids are excited about the new home, but reality hasn’t fully sunk in yet.

“The best part is they get to see it from the ground up!” she remarks. “They’re at an age where they’ll remember that for the rest of their life.”

She’s happy to give them stability and permanence.

“I am just looking forward to having a place to call home,” Bernadette says, “because I feel like home is where my parents are at. That’s where I grew up; that was my grandma’s house. That’s home. I don’t feel like having an apartment or where we’re at right now is our home yet.”

Mom and daughter in front of pond

She’s also excited about the garage and especially the yard. “I think about every little aspect, even the waking up and sitting in the backyard all morning!” she says.

The family has a Shih-Poo, and Bernadette foresees more pets in their future. “My youngest, she’s the most like me. We’re really big animal people!” she says. “She was already telling me, ‘When I’m older, I’m going to have a house, and I’m going to have chickens and cats and dogs,’ and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, great, this will happen at my house. She’s going to bring home all these animals to my house!’”

Some of their fondest memories involve animals. Last summer, they traveled to a zoo in Kansas with Bernadette’s family. She had the chance to swim with penguins, her kids fed lemurs, and they all met a sloth.

Bernadette got to hold the penguins in the water. “They are furry like dogs,” she explains. “It’s not like a seal, where you think it’s that flubber or whatever. They’re furry, the African penguins, and they pick at your tattoos, so I had little markings on my tattoos, like little bruises from them pecking. They think it’s something to peel off.”

She explains that she tries to do a fun trip with her kids every year, “even if it’s a weekend.” They’ve also visited Mesa Verde, and another time they stayed right by a river, “so we got to go out in the morning and just fish right away,” she says.

Apart from those trips, Bernadette remarks, “I just work and take care of my kids; that’s really all I do.” She recently started taking classes for a finance degree. “I love it so far!” she says. “I’m keeping myself busy. It’s a good thing – keeps you out of trouble!”

Boy making a goofy face

Since being accepted into Pikes Peak Habitat’s homeownership program, she’s added sweat equity – the 200 hours each homeowner invests in building their home and community – to her plate. And she’s up for the challenge!

“Not very many people get to say that they helped build their own house or their family members helped build the house,” she notes. “I think it’ll be a good community. I came into the first [future homeowner] meeting like, ‘I’m meeting my neighbors right now!’”

Girl smiling in front of pond

She also appreciates the volunteers who are working alongside her and other future Pikes Peak Habitat homeowners.

“It means a lot,” she says. “I feel like I would be one of those people in my house, once it’s built, making cookies for other people building the houses! That’s just who I am – I’m a baker, and then I like to share with people and help people out and show them that I appreciate them. I can just see myself baking like hundreds of cookies to give to people!”

She also has a unique personal connection to the building materials that will be used in her home. “I have a coworker, and her husband works where I guess we get the lumber for the houses,” she explains. “So he was saying, ‘If I can, I’m going to write notes on your lumber for your house!’ and I’m like, ‘That’s so cool!’”

Summarizing her thoughts for the volunteers, donors, and other supporters who are helping build her home, Bernadette concludes, “Thanks for making it possible for my family to have a home for the rest of their life.”

About the Apostles Build

Apostles Build logo

The ecumenical Apostles Faith (formerly Thrivent Faith Build) Build brings local churches from around El Paso County together to raise walls, funds, and prayers, to build a house in partnership with a family in our community in need of affordable housing. Through this build, and as an affiliate as a whole, we seek to display the love of Christ through our work in our local community. The Apostles Faith Build program is an opportunity to live out your church’s local outreach ministry, fellowship with other church congregations from around El Paso County, and see the miracle that occurs when God touches the hearts of future homeowners and the volunteers who work alongside them.