What a great experience we have had with habitat. We are so very excited about our build and are excited about what is to come! We are Cleo and Kara Allen with three wonderful children, Rashad, London, and Kamari. Rashad is the oldest at age 11, and he attends the Oaks Academy and loves basketball. London is the middle child at age 3; she loves to play dress-up, and is eager to start school one day. Kamari is the new edition to our family at five months old. We were accepted into the Habitat program in September of 2011. At the time Cleo and I had been together for a little while. Prior to us dating, we were both single and had been praying to God for a companion.
Cleo grew up in Flint, Michigan. His parents were divorced when he was about 2 years-old, so he was mostly raised by his mom in a single parent home along with 4 older brothers. Later in life, he moved with his dad and stepmother and lived with them while he attended school at Carmen-Ainsworth High School in Flint. He moved to Indianapolis in September of 2008 because of a bad situation with his dad and stepmom. He was supposed to start college in 2008 but his parents had a different objective. He wasn’t getting any help from the state to go to school and his parents weren’t trying to help either. He saw no end to the madness at that house, so he left and came to Indianapolis to live with his mother. In October of 2009, his dad passed away; Cleo misses him so much and wishes that his dad could be here to see him be successful. Cleo moved from his mother’s house in May of 2009 and he has been on his own since then. He has always been independent since he was 16, holding a part-time or full-time job.
Kara (I) grew up here in Indianapolis where I attended Warren Central High School. I was raised by my mom along with 2 older brothers. In 2002 I was blessed with my son Rashad. As a single mom myself it was a struggle for many years; I attended school while working. In 2009 I got laid off, got my car repossessed, and was blessed with my daughter London all within three months. My kids and I have moved 8 times within the last 4 years. I could barely afford to pay anything and really struggled to pay rent so we had to move many times to live where it was affordable, and that included returning to my mother’s house 4 times. One place we lived had unsafe living conditions. The place had no air conditioning and for a long time I did not have a stove to cook on. Yet, we were still blessed! After 10 years in college, in 2011 I graduated with my first degree in engineering and soon after ended up getting a fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation to return to school to become a teacher!
God has truly blessed us. Cleo and I met at a Laundromat in town. Cleo entered our lives during a stormy time and made a huge difference. Not only is he courageous for stepping into my situation, but he also prays everyday for us and has been a huge help, supporter, provider, and up-lifter of our spirits. Currently, Cleo works full-time and is attending Ivy Tech Community College. He is going to be a chef when he graduates. I am currently in school and will finish my teaching program this summer.
Cleo and I recently got married at our church, East 91st Street Christian Church, last August. We have a really blessed and beautiful family and live on the east-side of town. This moment in our lives is hallmark and a teachable moment for our community and especially our kids. We want our kids to remember Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Although life may sometimes throw curve balls and things happen, through hard work you can bounce back, keep going, dreaming your dreams and ultimately living them.
Cleo & I have many common goals and want to continue to build our dreams together. We want to be totally debt free (have my student loans paid off) before the kids start college, be able to pay tithes at church, be able to travel, be able to save money for emergencies and for the kids to attend college, and make a huge impact in our community. We are committed to making a difference, living a full life in God’s will, and raising a family according to His Word. The opportunity to build a brand new home, with a yard to play in, in a safe neighborhood, and a mortgage with no interest is near the pinnacle of our dreams. With our Habitat home we can live our dreams and many more of our dreams will come true!
Kara and Cleo will be part of our Fox59 build starting in September.