Family standing by tree

Ricardo and Mariela's Family

Movie nights, game nights, family dinners

Ricardo is a Colorado Springs native who says, “I was born and raised here. I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon!” He will also become a second-generation Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity homeowner. He says he was impressed with the program after seeing his parents invest sweat equity in the home where they've now lived for 20 years.

His wife, Mariela, was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States at age 14. (Pikes Peak Habitat requires homeowners to be U.S. citizens or legal residents.) Mariela had her oldest son several months after she graduated from high school, but the baby was only 17 days old when his father passed. Two years later, she met Ricardo, and they have since added three sons to their family -- the youngest born in November 2022!

Right now, even though Ricardo works full-time, their family of six lives with his parents and brother in a three-bedroom, one-bathroom house. Mariela says they have had to make difficult choices about which possessions to keep because they simply don’t have space. One son had to give up baseball because they didn’t have anywhere to keep sports equipment. They have also sacrificed toys, books, art projects and even study aids like flash cards. “They cannot have much of anything right now,” she says.

The desire to give their children a more stable environment with adequate space motivated Ricardo and Mariela to apply to Pikes Peak Habitat’s homeownership program, and they look forward to enjoying each other’s company in their new house. “As a family, we will be able to do more things and have more family time, like having movie nights, game night and so much more!” says Mariela. Ricardo wants to “just have a nice family dinner, be able to all sit together.”

The boys are already planning for new beds, shelves and other details in their bedrooms. “The kids are super excited!” Ricardo enthuses. Mariela says, “As parents, the feeling of making our kids feel safe, happy and…that anything is possible is wonderful!”

In their new home at The Ridge at Sand Creek, they will join a diverse neighborhood of Pikes Peak Habitat homeowners. Laboring alongside volunteers and their new neighbors to build their home helps form a sense of community. Mariela describes community as “working together to make life easier, happier and full of company, where no one feels alone.”

Ricardo can’t wait to pick up that hammer and screwdriver on the job site. “We’re excited! That’s the fun part,” he says. “You put up a wall, you put up part of something, and it’s yours, and you built it with your hands. It’s pretty exciting, pretty cool.” He adds, “We already have a lot of family and friends who are excited; they’re like, ‘We want to help.’”

To the churches, donors and volunteers who are partnering to construct their home—which is the 2023 Apostles Build—they have words of thanks.

“For everyone who is working hard to make all of this happen, our family is beyond grateful and we appreciate all of your efforts,” says Mariela. “Thank you for being kind enough to care for others and being able to do something to change somebody else’s life.”

Ricardo says he would advise other people, especially parents, in need of decent, affordable housing to pursue homeownership through Pikes Peak Habitat. “You don’t get to pick your house, but at the end of the day you get to own your house, and that’s what’s important,” he says. “It’s nice to know that your kids in the future are going to have something that Mom and Dad left for them. And if they need to stay there or do whatever they need to do with it, it’s available for them. It’s not just like a here and now thing, it’s…a forever thing."

Four boys
Family sitting on grass
Man and woman

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.