Not long after walking into their new home for the first time and getting a guided tour from their mother, Tekeira, 11-year-old daughter Patience and 9-year-old son Major realized they had something extra special to be thankful for during this holiday season.
“When they got here and saw the house, they were ecstatic and so happy,” Tekeira recalled earlier this week, not long after walking through the family’s new home made possible by Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis. “They ran and picked out their rooms, they loved all the space and they loved the flooring. And what made them the happiest was the dishwasher. They were like, ‘Wow, we don’t have to wash dishes ever again!’”
Tekeira, a 29-year-old St. Louis native, got to feel the joys of showing her children the family’s new University City, Mo., house earlier this week after working with Habitat of Humanity Saint Louis to make the dream possible. The St. Louis branch of Habitat for Humanity was able to construct the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with the open floorplan and one flooded with natural light thanks to significant charitable donations by Cardinals star slugger and newly crowned NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt.
As part of his many efforts to make a positive impact on the St. Louis community with his work away from the baseball diamond, Goldschmidt was the Cardinals' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award -- the seventh time in the slugger’s 12-year career that he’s been a finalist for the prestigious community-service award.
Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis CEO Kimberly McKinney said that Goldschmidt didn’t need to win an MVP Award last week to let her and Cardinals fans know how special of a person the star first baseman is.
“All the awards that he’s been getting lately, they are so incredibly well-deserved,” McKinney said of Goldschmidt, who also nabbed a Hank Aaron Award, Silver Slugger Award, Most Outstanding Player and Heart and Hustle Award this year. “I can’t say enough about the fact that [Goldschmidt] values home. He’s a Cardinal who values home and makes sure that his [charitable] dollars stay hard at work here in St. Louis.
“The work Paul does to help others makes him the MVP to us. I know a lot of baseball players are superstitious, so I’m hoping Paul will realize he had his best year when he partnered with Habitat St. Louis, and he’ll keep it going next season.”
Sitting at the closing table recently to sign the paperwork on the new residence, Tekeira spoke of how this would not only be the first home she would call her own, but how it would also represent the first house anyone in her family had owned.
That telling proclamation made McKinney think about how the new home could be a generational game-changer for Tekeira, Patience and Major. Also, it showed how the work of Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis -- and committed sponsors such as Goldschmidt -- could affect major change in the lives of others.
“Tekeira talked about the meaning of owning a home and how someday she can leave it for her kids,” McKinney said. “I’m looking at her beautiful kids and thinking, ‘They’re going to grow up and not have to move when rent goes up or be without a home when someone decides to sell a place they had rented.’ I always say the lives we’re changing aren’t necessarily always the home buyers. It’s also their kids and making it so they grow up knowing home ownership. That makes a huge difference in their lives. Growing up knowing your parents and grandparents owned homes, it makes you look at life differently.”
Tekeira, a healthcare worker in St. Louis, had to put in time and effort to become eligible for the home she can purchase thanks to a reduced and affordable mortgage. Tekeira dedicated more than 350 hours of “sweat equity” while helping with the construction and taking classes focused on financial literacy, home maintenance and ways to be a good neighbor.
Now, the family plans to put their new dishwasher to good use as they cook holiday meals in their warm and safe home.
“Now, we have a great place to cook, sing holiday songs and watch holiday movies,” Tekeira said. “I am highly, highly grateful. To all the sponsors and volunteers, I can’t really put into words how thankful I am. This is a great Christmas gift for us before the holidays. Knowing we’ll have a home for years to come, I’m so grateful and this is a blessing.”