by Cheryl Senn
Anyone passing by the Seventh Street home would have thought there was a television makeover show filming in Sanger, or there was a huge yard sale going on, with all the activity that was taking place, inside and outside the home.
There was a makeover taking place, but it was not for an ABC television show. Sanger’s First Home Makeover was being completed by members of the Time In Destiny Christian Center (TID) and volunteers, led by Pastor Paul and Roxanne Zavala.
Paul said more than 30 volunteers arrived before the 7:30 a.m. start time, to work together to give the Ramos family a surprise makeover for their home. The makeover included removing the existing old furniture, cleaning the interior of the home, painting, installing new living room furniture, which included a new flat screen television, and new bedroom furniture for two bedrooms. The makeover also included new appliances, dishes and furniture for the kitchen and dining room, a new look for the bathroom, in addition to sprucing up the landscape.
The Ramos family consists of father A.J. Sr., mother Susan, and 13-year-old son, A.J. Jr.
The idea for a home makeover project for TID came from Roxanne. The reason the Ramos family was chosen was because Pastor Paul and Roxanne felt the family had come a long way from being homeless.
“This is the first time, Time In Destiny has given a home makeover,” said Paul. “The idea came from my wife. She just wanted to do something special for somebody in the community. Not necessarily did they have to be from the church, but somebody in Sanger. We started here with them (the Ramos family) because they’ve come a long ways. Former gang member, former drug addict and drug dealers that were in Sanger. They’ve changed their lives for the better. We figured they’ve been doing their part, let’s do our part, and make a difference in their lives and everything around them, their house.”
On August 8, 2010, the Ramos family moved into their modest home on Seventh Street. The family had been homeless for more than a year at the time they moved in.
Since the Ramos family moved into their home, both A.J. Sr. and Susan have become employed and have maintained being drug free. Not only have the Ramos’ gotten off the streets, they now give back to the community by volunteering with TID and HOPE Sanger. “They help whenever we do outreaches,” said Roxanne. “They’re always there.”“I believe that they’ve overcome a lot of obstacles,” continued Roxanne. “So now I want to share this with the community, that you can do it. You can overcome a lot of stuff. You don’t have to be in the streets. This is just a little blessing for them.”
After more than eight hours of moving furniture, cleaning, painting, and yard work by volunteers, A.J. Sr. and Susan arrived back home and were overcome with emotion as they entered their front door. A.J. Sr. said, “I am speechless.”
“We’ve always dreamed of fixing the house,” said Susan. “It looks beautiful.”
“You guys deserve it,” said Pastor Paul.
“God is good,” added A.J. Sr.
With tears streaming down their faces, A.J. Sr. and Susan hugged and thanked the volunteers.
A.J. Jr. was also overcome with emotion when he saw his bedroom adorned with Dallas Cowboy decorations. “It’s nice,” said A.J. Jr. as he read all the names of the volunteers who signed a football jersey that now hangs in his room.
Sanger Mayor Joshua Mitchell said this event defines who Sanger is. “A community that comes together to meet the needs of its residents.”
Paul wanted to make sure the makeover sent a message to the Ramos family that they were cared for. “Whatever we could do to help them believe there are people who care about them, and that want them to succeed.”
Paul and Roxanne said they plan on doing a home makeover twice a year and TID has a Harvest Fest event planned later this month and their annual Thanksgiving event is planned for November 17, which feeds 2,000 people.