A home for Sabrina, Nikita, Dante, and Marvin

On a crisp, sunny Saturday morning in West Atlanta, dozens of members of the Emory community toured the beautiful new pink home at 342 Henry Aaron Drive admiring their handiwork. Some two hundred people from all over the University had come together to help construct this Habitat for Humanity home for Sabrina White and her three young children, Nikita, Dante, and Marvin. The construction of the house was a group service project to honor the Inauguration of William M. Chace as Emory's eighteenth president. An employee at the Atlanta Housing Authority, Sabrina White also contributed more than one hundred and fifty hours of "sweat equity" toward the completion of her family's new home.

"On behalf of Emory University and all who have worked on the construction of this wonderful new home, I want to thank Sabrina White and her three wonderful children," said President Chace, who helped lay the house's foundation, at the dedication. "You have given us the opportunity to work together with our hands and hearts. You have given us the opportunity to see afresh, to remember, to share with you the excitement of building something from scratch, the value of physical work done cheerfully, a community vision with common labor, and finally a fresh vision of home, a new home, your new home. We here are teachers, administrators, researchers, University maintenance people, and others. . . . We are enriched by the promise of home and the privilege of shared labor. This Habitat for Humanity home built by the Emory University community and the Sabrina White family is a tangible demonstration of the common good which we seek in our ways now."

Sabrina White and Associate University Chaplain Bobbi Patterson collaborated on a prayer to bless the house. "We have been waiting for our homecoming, gracious God," Patterson recited. "Over many weeks, many hands, backs, legs, and arms, sore and strong, we've been waiting and cutting and shoveling and nailing and delighting in building this house, building Sabrina, Nikita, Dante, and Marvin's house, and now we are at the threshold. We have come home, oh God. So bless this house as it becomes alive with their laughter, their friends, and love. Bless them, a family across the city, now our, Emory's, new family friend. Help us keep our family ties strong, strong as the walls of this house. Help us to learn more about love, your love as foundational as our hopes for justice and housing for all. So bless Sabrina, Nikita, Dante, and Marvin and us and this house, that it may always be home, home for you and full of joy."

Along with the keys to her new home, Ms. White was also presented with several pieces of furniture and an album of photographs chronicling the building of the house. "I'd like to thank everyone at Emory University who helped me build my home," she said. Bringing the dedication to a close, Patterson summed up the mood, saying, "Unless love builds the house, the house will not stand. And we don't have to worry about this house."--J.D.T.

Click here to return to main story.

Click here to return to Summer 1995 contents page.

Click here to return to Emory University Home Page.