Fort Myers teacher gets her slice of the American dream

A mother gets emotional as she receives the keys to the first home she has ever owned. With the help of Chico’s and Habitat for Humanity, she even got to build it herself.

Before Tuesday, Jamika Johnson only dreamed of owning a little blue house located in a safe neighborhood with plenty of space for her children to play.

“Off on Dora Street where I am now, the neighborhood is a little rough,” Johnson said. “We’ve had many shootings out there.”

That is why Johnson teared up when Chico’s and Habitat for Humanity handed her the key to her first home. The Fort Myers teacher said it is a fantastic feeling as both she and her two children have a fresh start. Her children never had their own room or space for themselves.

But getting to this point required a lot of hard work.

“As a single mom,” Johnson said, “you have to do 300 hours for habitat and at least 100 of those by yourself.”

Johnson’s new home was built in Habitat for Humanity’s Majorca Palms neighborhood and specially dedicated by Chico’s.

“Chico’s is all about women’s empowerment,” said Pam Avesian, Chico’s VP of internal audit, “because of circumstances beyond her control has not been able to provide everything that she dreams of for her family, to be able to be part of that and make those dreams come true. It’s life-changing.”

The company, whose roots sprung here in Fort Myers, unveiled a new plan. It made it their mission to provide affordable housing to 140 families in the Harlem Heights community who like the Johnson family want a taste of the American dream.

“I’m debt-free,” Johnson said, “and I’m a homeowner.”

Reporter:Janae Muchmore
Writer:Michael Mora
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