First Things First & U-Haul Offer Amda Family Fresh Start

Dec 17, 2014

Amir Amda scurried to his bedroom, dumped the contents of a goody bag on his mattress, grabbed the crayons and a coloring book, and began to draw.

Jeff-Nov.-24,-2014-780When Brenda Warner asked if he wanted to jump on the bed, he quickly shunned the temptation and continued to color as if he had been in the home forever.

Amir, 6, had a look of uncertainty as he took long, slow strides toward this new house moments earlier. But now that uncertainty had become excitement upon receiving the best holiday gift of his young life.

The First Things First Foundation, founded by former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner and his wife, created these reactions with their Homes for the Holidays project to help place low-income, single-parent families into new homes.

U-Haul has partnered with First Things First for the majority of the past 10 years as a corporate sponsor welcoming these families into their new homes. U-Haul Team Members were present at the Nov. 21 unveiling of the Amda home on W. Grove Street in Phoenix.

As Amir and sister Semira, 8, cut the red ribbon stretching across the porch of their new home, the youngsters couldn’t wait for their mother to open the door. Amir darted straight for the new computer, sat down and pounded the keyboard while swinging his feet.

Nefissa Amda, gripping her keys and shaking her head, struggled to verbalize her feelings. Her oldest children, Abdurazak and Rahema, walked through the home with admiring eyes, trying to touch as little as possible.

Nefissa lost her husband and sister shortly after moving to the United States from Ethiopia and eventually settled in Arizona in 2000.

“We’ve always been struggling and she’s been a single mom, so I learned a lot of hard work from her,” said Abdurazak, an Arizona State graduate who has applied to medical school. “She works as hard as she can to give us the life she envisions she would want for her children. That instills hard work in us to make her proud.”

Jeff-Nov.-24,-2014-760The single-story, adobe-style home features a large living room and dining table big enough to accommodate the family and guests. A sliding glass door opens to their spacious back yard.

The hallway links four bedrooms, including a bunk room for Rahema and Semira. The master bedroom offered a relaxing getaway at the back of the house for Nefissa.

“It gives us a place to be happy and a place to settle and feel warm,” Abdurazak said. “Being able to have (our own) rooms, being able to spend time with our family and being able to enjoy the holidays (is meaningful) as well.”

Amir and Semira found more surprises outside. With tags still on their helmets, they mounted their new bicycles and took off. Nefissa came out to relish in her children’s excitement. Under her breath she continued to mutter, “Wow!”

“We love what this program represents…it gives us perspective,” Kurt Warner said.

“It’s hard to do anything by yourself, whether you’re playing football, whether you’re living life, we always need help to come alongside of us and give us opportunities. That’s what this program represents.”

As spectators left the family, Nefissa whispered her farewells: “It’s so exciting. I can’t believe this. Thank you.”

More articles like this one…

What’s New

U-Haul Volunteers Gain Satisfaction from Service at St. Mary’s

U-Haul Volunteers Gain Satisfaction from Service at St. Mary’s

U-Haul® volunteers recently helped St. Mary’s Food Bank put a fresh spin on its mission to provide food for people in need across Arizona. Thanks to St. Mary’s partnership with meal-kit company HelloFresh®, people facing food insecurity can now receive both an...

Texas Panhandle Wildfires: U-Haul Offering 30 Days Free Storage

Texas Panhandle Wildfires: U-Haul Offering 30 Days Free Storage

U-Haul® is offering 30 days of free self-storage and U-Box® container usage to residents impacted by the wildfires across the Texas panhandle. The Smokehouse Creek Fire started on Monday and has burned more than 1 million acres. It’s the largest in the state’s...

U-Haul and ACS Join Forces in Climb to Conquer Cancer

U-Haul and ACS Join Forces in Climb to Conquer Cancer

The Climb to Conquer Cancer of Phoenix is the American Cancer Society’s largest single-day climb event in the world. Every February in Arizona, thousands of cancer survivors, family members, caregivers and supporters participate in the Climb to Conquer Cancer. U-Haul...

U-Haul, Tribute Journey Spread Valentine’s Day Love to Veterans

U-Haul, Tribute Journey Spread Valentine’s Day Love to Veterans

February 14 is not just Valentine's Day. It is recognized as a National Salute to Veteran Patients day. During Valentine's Day week each year, U-Haul and the Tribute Journey say “thank you” to veterans of the U.S. Armed Services who are cared for in Department of...

U-Haul International Moves with U-Box Makes Moving Abroad Easy

U-Haul International Moves with U-Box Makes Moving Abroad Easy

Every new year invites new adventures. If your 2024 adventures include moving abroad, U-Haul International Moves® is equipped and licensed to support your exciting transition each step of the way. The U-Haul® brand is known globally for empowering do-it-yourself...

U-Haul Helps Kurt Warner Charity Change Lives of Arizona Family

U-Haul Helps Kurt Warner Charity Change Lives of Arizona Family

When Luz decided to apply for Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona’s Homeownership Program, she had no idea just how much of an impact it would have on her son, Jason. The family met Habitat’s criteria and completed more than 400 hours of “sweat equity” by working...

U-Haul Recognizes Its 2023 Volunteers of the Year

U-Haul Recognizes Its 2023 Volunteers of the Year

TEMPE, Ariz. — Michelle Vukov-Mikel and Michele Ramirez have been honored as the U-Haul® Volunteers of the Year for 2023. At the end of each year, U-Haul recognizes the Team Member(s) who has volunteered the most hours, supported the greatest number of U-Haul charity...