Growing Up in Habitat Home & Becoming First College Graduate in Family

Yay for Christopher! He is the first college graduate in his family! ? With hardwork and determination, he earned his associate’s degree and high school diploma at the same time!

This fall, Christopher is headed to UT Arlington to get his bachelor’s in nursing. He already has registered for one of his nursing courses and is so excited! 

Christopher & Cristal - 2009-2020

The stoles and cords Christopher is wearing in his graduation photos represent many of his academic accomplishments: completed associate’s degree, maintained 3.5+ GPA, participated in HOSA – Future Health Professionals and Allied Health Pathways, was a Gold Seal and National Honor Society student, donated blood, and completed 100+ volunteer hours.

These are amazing accomplishments no matter who you are, but they are particularly impressive when you know about the instability Christopher and his mom, Cristal, experienced before moving into their Habitat home in 2009.

Christopher - 2020 Grad - UTA Bound - Instagram

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 now the first college graduate in their family. He got into the highly competitive TABS High School where he took both high school and college-level courses. After earning his high school diploma and associate’s degree at the same time, he was accepted to the University of Texas at Arlington, where he will attend this fall.

Christopher - 2020 Grad - UTA Bound - Collage

According to his mom, Christopher has such a kind heart. She says his plan is to help others by becoming a nurse. He is already well along this path as he participated in future healthcare worker programs in high school and is registered for his first nursing course this fall.

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 ever 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 Christopher and Cristal’s, build a better future through an affordable, stable home? Please consider making a donation at Every gift makes a difference!

Cristal participated in our Build A Home program, which you can learn more about at

This article was an update from this previous article: Building a Better Future for Her Son with Habitat.

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