COOLIDGE, ARIZ. – Marissa bounced through the house like she had Pogo Sticks for legs and a pound of pure sugar coursing through her blood.
Her mouth-wide-open smile showed equal parts joy and amazement. Her big brown eyes, slightly squinted and keenly focused, revealed the determination of a 4-year-old charting a new map in her mind.
These are the reactions of a little girl being introduced to a new life – one that includes a Hello Kitty-themed pink bedroom designed just for her. No more sleepless nights sharing a couch with her big brother.
Sharin Roberts and her children, most notably Marissa, were more than a little excited to take part in the Nov. 21 unveiling of their new residence on W. Central Ave. in Coolidge.
The First Things First Foundation, headed by former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner and his wife, Brenda, placed two low-income, single-parent families in Arizona homes this year as part of its Homes for the Holidays project.
U-Haul is a proud corporate sponsor of Homes for the Holidays and has teamed with the Warners for most of the last 10 years. U-Haul Team Members were in Coolidge for the unveiling.
“I never thought this would ever happen,” said Sharon Roberts, holding six-week-old son Braylon. Roberts works with developmental disability clients as a caregiver and also has a son in a wheelchair.
“It’s overwhelming,” she said. “My mom actually called and got (the application process) going. I was frustrated at the time being pregnant and being stressed and getting irritated, but the whole process was worth it. It was really worth it. The kids love it. I’m so happy for them. Now they have their own rooms and their own beds. This is Christmas for us.”
The second floor has three bedrooms including the master, which has a wood crib next to the queen bed and a large bathroom/walk-in closet. There is a full hallway bathroom and an open recreation area with couches and a computer just outside Marissa’s room.
“So many of the things that we do within our foundation are things we went through ourselves,” Kurt Warner said in his address to the family.
“(You have) six kids. We’ve got seven kids. We remember the process of trying to build our futures and accomplish our dreams, and home ownership being a huge part of that. We remember those struggles and the people that helped us along the way to get there. That’s why we’re here.”
Devian Garcia, 15, the third of six children in the family, was stunned to walk into a furnished house thanks to contributions from U-Haul and Aaron’s.
“I didn’t expect it to be this good,” Garcia said. “Thank you for doing this. I don’t have to sleep on the couch or floor anymore. Sleeping on the couch, getting kicked in the face by Marissa … yeah, I appreciate it a lot. Thank you, guys. It’s awesome.”
Do you have a warm story to tell about U-Haul or giving back to the community this holiday season? Share with us in the comments below!