August 27, 2021 | Kristen McCulloch
Overcoming adversity is nothing new for Judith Polk. From a little girl born with cerebral palsy to an empowered woman, mother and new homeowner Judith stands tall and is grateful to God everyday as she lives life to the fullest and helps many people along the way.
Judith’s younger years in Buffalo, NY were challenging as she could not walk until she was five-years-old when she underwent surgery and endured physical therapy to help her cerebral palsy. To this day she still has a limp, but that doesn’t stop her from doing what she loves – helping people.
Motivated by her own journey and harnessing a great passion for helping others Judith pursued becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) which entailed a great deal of studying as well as hands-on training.
“I am a capable woman and I thought I could help someone out there. It was a good start for me and taught me to be more independent,” she said regarding taking care of homebound people. Little things like cleaning, taking them to the grocery store and the park made a big difference, particularly during the pandemic. “I’m not afraid to put on a mask and help the elderly,” she said.
Judith was also taking care of herself and her 10-year-old son Maurice during this difficult time with COVID-19. In addition to going to school, Maurice enjoys the YWCA’s language, learning and reading program as well as the Promise Youth Development program whose mission is to foster positive transformation of underserved youth in East Charlotte through resilience focused mentoring, health promotion and academic enhancement. Every Wednesday members of the CMPD come to hang out with the kids. This means a lot for a mom wanting the best for her son as well as for a son who wants to join the police department one day.
The apartment complex where Judith lived “started to go downhill in terms of upkeep and aesthetic,” she said. With a strong desire to own a home for her son, Judith reached out to a friend who had become a homeowner through Habitat for Humanity to learn more. “This motivated me to apply for Habitat.”
Judith’s friend was helpful and shared information about Habitat for Humanity’s processes, including a program Judith would soon develop great pride in – Sweat Equity. This effort involves being part of a team to build or restore other Habitat homes. In addition to the actual home builds, Habitat also helps prospective individuals prepare for the responsibilities of home ownership, such as learning about personal finances, mortgages, maintenance and upkeep of homes.
Judith went online and filled out the information. “I sent the paperwork and was contacted back that I had been approved,” she said. “I was so excited. I didn’t think I was going to get approved. YES!”
A beaming Judith told her son about the new house and drove him to the lot where it is being built. “I told him this is your house…for you and your family one day. All I need is a room.” Her son shared that excitement and is looking forward to outfitting his new bedroom AND bathroom in a Minecraft theme.
What she’s looking forward to the most as a homeowner? “Having my own space, my own bathroom, and upstairs/downstairs, hanging up pictures, putting carpet down, cookouts on the porch, a backyard and…being able to just be me,” she said.
“Building and restoring other houses meant a lot to me during this process. The opportunity to help someone else is motivating and exciting,” she said. “This really, really changed my life. All of this hard work, even though I am disabled, I work as hard as I can. God is good. He made it work for me.”
“I still want to be part of Habitat. I appreciate them so much for this opportunity to become a homeowner. I pushed myself for my son and they see that in me – my determination. They gave me a chance,” she said.
You can empower more inspiring women like Judith, who are working hard to build a better life for themselves and their families by making a gift in support of Habitat Charlotte Region.