What would you be willing to do for your child? Most parents, innately, would do anything for their child. We would run into a burning building, shield them with our own bodies to protect them from a stray bullet, falling debris or a terrible storm. On a less dramatic scale, and far more often, we see parents who sacrifice time, money, sleep, comfort, food, clothes, social life, career and personal desires.

Yet with all of this giving, protecting and sacrifice, there is something that most of us still remain tight-fisted about. This thing that we hold onto so firmly can be difficult to acknowledge and even more problematic to concede. Allow me to illustrate (with words, of course, because I can in no way illustrate with drawings, since I am and always will be in the art course of Beginning Stick People).

As many of you are aware, as part of the Community Outreach Committee for the Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors, we join up with the Northern Wasatch Home Builders Association to build Have A Heart Homes. These are new construction homes built on donated or deeply discounted lots in Davis and Weber counties that are made available for purchase at a substantially discounted price to families or individuals with special needs.

The builders and subcontractors of these homes donate supplies, services and labor. Realtors and affiliates contribute as well by holding fundraisers throughout the year and collecting donations to help with the cost of these Have A Heart Homes.

To be clear, these homes are not given away. The buyer still must qualify for the purchase price of the home; however, this beautiful new home is made available to purchase at an incredibly modest price. This is possible because of donated labor and supplies.

This is an incredible opportunity for so many families that struggle with special needs children. Yet, every year our committee, surprisingly, struggles to find applicants for this opportunity. One would think, with the number of families with special needs in this state, there would be stacks of applicants. Not so. We have to set up booths at a number of events throughout the year to educate the public about this effort. The medical costs as well as the physical logistics of having a special needs child is sometimes so prohibitive for parents and families. We just want to help. Really. No strings attached.

It wasn’t until this year — in fact, just our last meeting — that it finally occurred to me why we don’t have the plethora of applicants I would expect. It happened when one of the members spoke up about why the family she had invited to apply (and you actually don’t need an invitation, you can just ask any of us for an application and we will supply you with one) did not end up applying. It was then that I realized what it was that many of us are so resistant to concede. It’s ego. Essentially, we will do anything for our child, with the exception of accepting “charity.”

Except, this isn’t charity. The applicant still must qualify. They will still have a house payment. They still must have income. We just want to help special needs families with the physical logistics. That’s it. So, I guess there are strings attached. Let go of the pride. Be willing to do whatever it takes for your child.

Jen Kirchhoefer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or jenkirchh@gmail.com.

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