The Tollefsen Family

Bylinda Tollefsen knows the drill all too well. As a child growing up in Portland, she moved around a lot, changed schools many times and graduated with a GED from the Youth Employment Institute with two children in tow and another on the way.

Stability, then, is a key factor for Bylinda, and the desire to have better conditions for her 12-year-old daughter and four-year-old grandson. (Three other children are grown and live on their own.) She saw that dream start to take shape when she took a Habitat for Humanity Homeowners Workshop a few years ago. She and her family are among those selected for homeownership this year, and have a projected March 2013 date to move into their new home in Southeast Portland.

Not surprisingly, Bylinda is thrilled to have been chosen and has worked on Habitat’s Victoria Cotteges project as well as her own home site.

“I really enjoy working at the sites because it’s great to see the enjoyment and happiness that comes from myself and other volunteers knowing that we are helping to change people’s lives and creating a safe and better place to live. I’m just so happy to be a part of this program.”

Bylinda, who works in housekeeping at Legacy Emanuel Hospital, says the new home will be the first time her children will have their own rooms. Both kids have asthma and the family is looking forward to escape from an uninsulated space rife with mold and leaky plumbing. She would also be the first in her family to own a home.

One of Bylinda’s other motivations for wanting to own a home was the example it will set. “I wanted to show family and friends it is possible. I am so happy and excited, dreams do come true.”