Orlando Magic, AdventHealth and Habitat for Humanity Provide Local Family Keys to New Home

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

ORLANDO - “Joy, peace, and happiness.”

Those are three of the words Donya used to describe what her new home means to her. Now that she and her three children, ages 18, 13 and 3, have officially moved in at Orlando’s Silver Pines Pointe Community, that joy, peace, and happiness is right at their doorstep.

It’s a big change for the family, who were previously living in cramped and uncomfortable conditions.

Joining them on Tuesday afternoon on their front lawn to celebrate this transition into a cozier, safer and more secure residence were the three organizations who helped build and sponsor the home – the Orlando Magic, AdventHealth and Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando and Osceola County. Also there to surprise the family with a gift basket that included personalized Magic jerseys and courtside tickets to an upcoming game was Magic Community Ambassador Bo Outlaw.

“They mean the world to me right now because without them I wouldn’t even be here,” Donya said during the key dedication ceremony. “They helped me with everything. And working alongside with them, able to work with them while working on my home, it was amazing. Amazing experience.”

It was Donya’s hard work, perseverance, and resilience that made this dream come true. To qualify for Habitat for Humanity’s homeownership program, she had to put in a minimum of 75 hours of sweat equity or volunteer hours and attend eight homeownership classes.

As the old saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That really resonates with Donya, who originally applied for a Habitat house several years ago but was denied. Through her faith and positive attitude, she never lost hope.

“I did not give up. (There were a) little bit of bumps where I feel like I could have gotten discouraged,” she said. “God kept pushing me. And I remember why I started. I started for them (her children). I knew I had to do something to change my kids’ lives because if I didn’t do it I didn’t who was going to do it. So, I thank God for perseverance because there are many times I could have given up. I’m living proof that it can happen, so don’t give up on anything that you are doing in your life.”

This is the second sponsored home for the Magic in the Silver Pines Pointe community and 12th overall throughout Central Florida. Donya’s new neighborhood will feature 58 single-family homes upon completion in 2023. Each home will be Florida Green Building Coalition Certified.

“One of the core values of the Orlando Magic is community. It’s been instilled in us from our ownership group (DeVos family) since they’ve owned the team for over 30 years,” said Shelly Wilkes, Magic senior vice president of marketing and social responsibility. “It’s very important for the Orlando Magic to be more than a basketball team. To continue to give back to the Central Florida community, and one of those core areas of focus is homelessness. Orlando and Central Florida has a very tough problem with affordable housing, and partnerships like this with Habitat for Humanity and AdventHealth allow us to help limit that problem in Central Florida and help provide more affordable housing for those low-income families who just don’t have as many options.”

The mission of Habitat for Humanity is to bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Habitat for Humanity partners with people in the community, and all over the world, to help build or improve a place to call home.

“It is truly about helping people help themselves and take that next step in their journey in life,” said Catherine McManus, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity in Greater Orlando and Osceola County. “We are so honored to just be on that journey, on that path right along with her (Donya).”

“When people hear stories like Donya’s, they go, 'oh, that could be me...oh, I’ve been where she is. If she can do it, maybe I can do it,’” McManus added. “So it’s very inspirational because sometimes you just want to say, ‘oh yea, maybe I should try, maybe I should go for it.’”

Organizations with the same philanthropic goals and values partnering together is what strengthens and inspires a community. The Magic and AdventHealth, specifically, have teamed up many times over the years on community projects to lift their neighbors up.

“Most of our societal challenges are bigger than any one organization can solve on their own,” said Rob Deininger, AdventHealth Orlando CEO. “So really, it’s going to be all of our organizations working together, and we are absolutely thrilled in this case to continue partnering over 30 years with the Magic. But now adding Habitat for Humanity to that for us. So, the ability to have three organizations now really committed to helping solve some of the housing challenges that we have right here in our backyard in Central Florida. We are definitely better when we work together.”