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When it came to her family’s future, Isaura met every challenge head-on. After becoming a parent at the age of 15, she chose to rise above the expectations set before her. She knew she wanted her son, Uriel, to have a solid path in life so she invested in her own education; she desired to have a place of her own and long-term financial stability so she dedicated every Friday and Saturday afternoon to putting in her “sweat equity hours,” building her Habitat home alongside volunteers and neighbors. Now, almost ten years later, Isaura and Uriel continue to create a life full of opportunity.

“It’s all been worth it,” she says. “I’m extremely happy about the stability this home has provided. It has everything you would want in a stable cost of living: you have public transportation, you have parks, you have an affordable mortgage.”

Not only did Isaura secure a home for her family, she also established a strong foundation upon which to build a lifetime of success. Becoming a homeowner at the age of 21 was a huge landmark in her journey, but rewind to six years earlier and you can see that Isaura’s unwavering conviction had already taken hold at a young age. 

“Being a parent at the age of 15, you start high school with a completely different lens,” she says. “You can choose to focus on the limitations, but I chose to say, ‘Well, what do I want for myself?’ I wanted to use this as an opportunity to do this for myself, to do something for my kid, and turn it into a positive experience.” 

And so she did. 

After graduating high school with two full-ride scholarships, Isaura went on to Portland State University to double major in communications and international studies. During her sophomore year, she traveled abroad and worked with the United Nations. It was there that she first volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and learned that she would qualify for affordable homeownership.

Fast forward 10 years later and Isaura continues to forge a strong path for her family. Uriel attends De La Salle High School and interns at Survey Monkey. He’s interested in pursuing engineering or anything that combines his passion for technology and creativity. Isaura’s made a career with Multnomah County and was the first Latina under 30 to earn management. In her 12+ years of work experience, she has helped people connect to resources, build assets, gain education, and find ways to rise above.

Most recently Isaura has returned to school completing her coursework from PSU’s Center for Executive and Professional Education. She hopes to model good life skills for Uriel as he approaches college.

Isaura’s journey has come full circle. She was able to return to her North Portland neighborhood where she grew up as a child. She shares her home with her boyfriend Roberto and Uriel and together they look forward to what the future may bring.

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