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Matt and Val celebrating new home.

Valentina Luccardi guided the crowd in filling her home with their support, asking them to cheer and spread their positive thoughts. Her partner, Matt Thomas, then thanked the gathered volunteers from Rocky Hills High School, telling them how important their work is, explaining that it’s more than the work they put it.

“I hope you interact with the people you;’re helping build houses for,” he said. “I’ve lived all over the city for 11 years, and I’ve lived in places where you could see the ground through the cracks in the floorr, see insulation falling and black mold, windows would rattle and wind would come in through, and now I have a real house thaat I heloped build because of hours from people like you, and the high school students thsat came out with Aaron, members of Tulane, and it’s been an incredible journey, the past several months. Thank y’all for being part of it, and coming out here. This is huge. I never thought I’d be 30 years old and own a house.”

Matt, a musician, was pleased to be moving into his home just in time for Jazz Fest. After the dedication, his band the Second Hand Street Band, joined him on the porch to play for the volunteers and staff present.

Matt and Val Dedication 4-14-16 049

Their home was built in partnership with unCommon Construction (uCC), a local nonprofit founded by former NOAHH employee Aaron Frumin. uCC brings high school students from around New Orleans together to teach leadership skills. Aaron explained at the dedication that his favorite part of working for Habitat was teaching others, and his least favorite part about teaching in classrooms was being surrounded by walls. Instead, he moved the classroom to the build site.

“When they came into it, I’m sure they were saying, ‘teenagers are going to build our house?!” Aaron said. “They were just awesome working with our apprentices, though. It was special and humbling for me to go along this journey and have it continue with such a great partnership with Habitat.”

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