Sacramento’s Habitat for Humanity Completes First Home Makeover for Local Preschool Teacher

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WEST SACRAMENTO --

A beloved veteran preschool teacher got a well deserved home makeover. Virginia Valenti, a 57-year-old West Sacramento home owner, says it's a long time coming.

The single mother of four and grandmother of three has been a preschool teacher for decades.

"I worked there for about 20-something years and we all got laid off," Valenti said.

While living paycheck-to-paycheck, upkeep of her quaint, beloved home took a back seat.

One day, her daughter Alesia found a Facebook post advertising Habitat for Humanity's new, home repairs program. She qualified, and applied.

"Next thing you know, they're interviewing me, [asking] what I want for the house," Valenti said.

Two hundred volunteers worked tirelessly for six weeks, repairing a laundry list of damages acquired in the last three decades.

"All the volunteers are always happy. Smiling, and they didn't even know me. Usually I keep strangers out. But not these ones!" Valenti laughed.

"It was sort of like peeling the layers of an onion," Laine Himmelmann of Habitat for Humanity said. "There was the outside layer of the work that needed to be done, but once we started, there was a substantially larger amount."

They fixed Valenti's home with a new garage, windows, exterior paint, new planter beds, roof and her dream white picket fence. Repairs cost a total of $12,000. A large chunk of that was paid for by their sponsors, Thrivent, Bank of America and BB Can.

Saturday morning, volunteers and community leaders attended the key hand off ceremony.

"This is huge not only for the family who is living here, but also creating neighborhoods for the city," West Sacramento City Councilman, Mark Johannessen said.

"It's just amazing what they've done to my home. It's my home, now. Look at it. Everything I wanted, I got," Valenti said, in tears.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento hopes to do 20 more home repair projects in West Sacramento alone in 2016.

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