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My name is Julia Gonzales, and I grew up in Houston, Texas. I have a twin sister, a brother, and two more sisters. My parents divorced when I was only eight years old which unfortunately resulted with my mother operating a household of five children.

In 1978, when I was 15 years old, I became the mother of a beautiful baby girl. Just a few years later, I had two beautiful boys. I was grateful to simultaneously complete my GED at Houston Community College and attend Barclay Career School while raising my family. Although I was proud of the work I was accomplishing to better myself for my children, my joy came to a brief halt when my father passed away while serving in the U.S. Army. I believe he would have been proud to see me graduate in 1990 as a Certified Medical Assistant.

I did my best to raise my children alone after marrying and divorcing twice. In 2000, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. I received chemo treatments for 14 years, and finally entered remission. There were times where I prayed to God and asked, “Why me?” I am blessed to have survived my illness because I know God wanted to stay alive so that I could continue to help others.

During the past decade I became a caregiver to three great-nieces, a set of three-year-old twins, and a six-year-old who had been placed in foster care. I fought for their custody for over two years before bringing them home in 2011. Additionally, I also helped raise my teenage granddaughter.

I am elated to move into my new home later this year in Texas City, Texas. I cannot thank Bay Area Habitat for Humanity enough for giving me hope, strengthening my faith, and turning my aspirations into a reality. I am appreciative for their sincere love and compassion for not only myself and my family, but for their community.