LEWISTOWN - The hardwood flooring is installed, the walls are painted and pictures hang in the staircase. As Matthew and Christy Clark visit with friends in the kitchen, a hand-painted sign on the far wall is a reminder that, "Fairy tales do come true."
A year ago, Matthew and Christy Clark and their three children, Kennith, Bradley and Spring Rapp, broke ground on their new home with help from Mifflin County Habitat for Humanity. The Clarks were chosen as the recipients of the sixth Mifflin County home after completing an application and being interviewed by a representative from Habitat.
"It was one of the greatest feelings in many years," Christy Clark said about being selected.
Sentinel photo by BUFFIE BOYER
Enjoying their new Lewistown home on Monday are, from left, front, Spring Rapp and the family dog, ‘Koda,’ and Brad Rapp; back, Christy Clark, Ken Rapp and Matt Clark.
The news couldn't have come at a better time. The Clarks had moved out of their previous home due to a black mold infestation that was attacking their respiratory systems. At the time, the family of five was living with a family friend in a house meant for one person.
A year later, the Clarks are happy to have a safe place of their own to call home.
"Finally it's done!" Spring Rapp exclaimed, as she danced through the yard.
Since moving in at the end of February, the Clark family has continued work on the house. Family photos that had been in storage for years now line the walls of their home and the children have been able to unpack their belongings for the first time in quite awhile. Christy Clark and Spring Rapp are also working on a stained glass window design for Spring's room and Kennith Rapp has plans to repaint the walls of his room to look like a castle.
"Life in general is so different," Christy Clark said. "Everybody's health is getting so much better, the kids get along so much better."
Even more, the children are quick to announce that their chore chart is gone. Since each family member had a hand in building their house, they are constantly reflecting on the value of it.
"Before, we always had a chore chart. Now it's simple to say, 'This is what we need to do' and just do it," Christy Clark explained.
The location of their new Lewistown home has also been a welcome change for the family. Kennith Rapp is an avid reader and the Mifflin County Library is only a few strides away. He visits the library once or twice a week to add new books to his ever-changing collection.
On the other hand, Bradley Rapp enjoys having a house with more than two TVs so he can play video games without bothering the rest of the family. Spring Rapp has been taking dance classes in town and is so happy to dance that she performed in a foot-cast at her studio's annual dance recital.
With the help of the community, Mifflin County Habitat for Humanity hopes to be able to help many more families like the Clarks.
"One house at a time, we can make it better for everybody," Jeff Bell, Mifflin County Habitat for Humanity president, said.
Habitat for Humanity currently has two properties waiting and are accepting applications for homeowners. To be considered by the organization, families must meet certain income guidelines, be able to pay their interest-free loan from Habitat and be willing to participate in building their house.
In addition to applicants, Habitat is seeking donors of time and funds. From laying the foundation to putting shingles on the roof, Bell said all help is appreciated and essential to continuing Habitat's mission.
"Everybody has something you can do. There's nobody that has a talent that we can't use," Bell said.
To support their next housing projects, Mifflin County Habitat for Humanity will hold a benefit auction on September 22 at the Armory in Lewistown. For more information, call Jeff Bell at 348-5161 or visit Habitat for Humanity's website at www.habitat.org.