“Thanks to the stability of our Habitat home, my son, Christopher, is on track to be the first college graduate in our family. Next year, he will graduate high school and receive his associate’s degree at the same time.” – Cristal Pedraza
— Christopher graduated! Read the update to this article here: Growing Up in Habitat Home & Becoming First College Graduate in Family. —
Cristal Pedraza and her son, Christopher, moved into their Fort Worth Habitat home in May of 2009.
Growing up, Cristal’s mom worked a lot. Cristal didn’t have very much supervision and started hanging around the wrong kids. She was involved in gangs, drugs, and violence. When Cristal was 16, she left home so her mom didn’t have one more thing to worry about. She was drinking heavily, doing drugs, and making bad decisions.
When Cristal met Christopher’s dad, it was not a healthy relationship and it was filled with alcohol and drugs. She wasn’t trying to get pregnant, but when it happened, it was a real eye opener. “I knew what I wanted and needed growing up and I needed to give that to Christopher,” Cristal recalls. “I left that bad relationship and I stopped all of the drugs. Christopher saved my life. It was like God said to me ‘Here you go, he is your gift, he is your reason to be more.'”
Cristal tried to better their lives, but as a single mom with only a GED, it was financially hard. Many times, she had to go without so Christopher could eat. They moved seven times in the first eight years of his life. Cristal said she, “was moving to try to improve things, but it was causing instability and I knew that had to stop. Owning a home was my dream, but I had no idea how to do that because I had never seen it done.”
Cristal shares her story with Christopher, so he knows what she has been through. She tells him so he knows what not to do. She is always pushing him to do well in school and go to college. She doesn’t want him to struggle the way she did.
And it’s working! Christopher is right on track to be the first college graduate in their family. He got into the highly competitive TABS High School where he takes both high school and college-level courses. Next year, he will graduate high school and receive his associate’s degree at the same time.
According to his mom, Christopher has such a kind heart. She says his plan is to help others by becoming a nurse and that he wants to study at Tarleton State University.
Cristal thanks God all the time that He gave her Christopher. She doesn’t know who or where she would be without him, “He became my ambition. No one ever told me I could do something with my life. No one was every standing behind me pushing me. Christopher became that.”
Cristal sees her brothers and they are not where she is. They are still moving around, in and out of jail and doing drugs. “It breaks my heart that they haven’t broken the cycle that Habitat has helped me break. Being a Habitat homeowner has changed our lives and changed Christopher’s future. We will forever be grateful to Habitat and all the people who helped us achieve this dream. Thank you!”
Would you like to help a family, like Cristal’s, build a better future through an affordable, quality home? Please consider making a donation at TrinityHabitat.org/donate. Every gift makes a difference!
You can learn more about our Build A Home program at TrinityHabitat.org/about/build-a-home.