As a Gospel Village mentor-mentee pair, Andy Guinn and Giovanni Garcia, both of Tyler, have been able to build a positive and trusting relationship over the past three years.

On Saturday, the two had what could be considered one of their most important meetups yet when they worked together to help build the house Garcia, 14, will soon call home.

Garcia’s mother, Imelda Tiscareno, is slated to become the owner of the 107th home built by Habitat for Humanity of Smith County over the past 29 years.

In her route to being a homeowner, Tiscareno has taken financial literacy and home ownership classes and put in sweat equity by helping build the Habitat home next door to hers on North Tenneha Avenue.

The wall-raising event by Habitat represented the next big step in Tiscareno’s journey, and brought out dozens of professional home builders and volunteers, such as Guinn.

“Right now, I’m so excited and (emotional),” Tiscareno said before the event began. 

She added that she is looking forward to the new memories she and her three children will make inside the home when it is complete.

“It takes a lot of hard work to get to this particular point...” Jack Wilson, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Smith County said during the event. “There is a very comprehensive application process that she had to go through.”

The home is the second in a six-home subdivision Habitat is building at the corner of North Tenneha Avenue and West 25th Street. 

Walls went up on the first home in the subdivision in June. The first two homes in the project are being built from funds provided by Lin and Sandra Barker, an anonymous donor and the Junior League of Tyler.

Garcia said his family has moved somewhat frequently and lived in different residences around Tyler. He’s watched his mom work hard to earn her U.S. citizenship and provide for her family.

He’s excited about getting to have a room that he will be able to customize to reflect his personality.

As Garcia’s Gospel Village mentor, Guinn said he was happy to be a part of the process as a volunteer builder.

“It’s just a great blessing for me to be involved in something so significant for him and his family,” Guinn said. “His pastor is here and there are people from the Mentoring Alliance that are here, so there are a lot of people that love this family and are here at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning to support this family.”

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