The 2021 Street of Dreams would not have been made possible without the help of many dedicated volunteers. One of those people, Mary Sperlazza, dove in head-first to help bring the online auction to life. Mary was instrumental in helping the auction become successful. From asking local businesses to donate to staging items to be photographed, Mary’s touch was much needed and appreciated!
“I really enjoy the details of event planning,” she says. “I’ve always loved Habitat. I just want to help where there is a need.”
She has certainly done that. Mary served on the Habitat Board of Directors 15 years ago. During her tenure on the Board she helped to bring ReStore to life and also helped create Habitat’s first website.
The opportunity to come back was presented to her earlier this year when Ann Davis, the chairperson for Habitat’s Homeowner Support Committee, asked if she’d be interested in returning as a mentor/partner to Lanea C., who’s partner moved out of the area.
“I was super excited to return to Habitat, especially post-Covid. I really wanted to give back and be involved. This was a perfect opportunity to do that.”
As a mentor/partner she embraced Lanea and Nova (Lanea’s three-year old daughter) immediately, helping Lanea navigate her sweat equity requirement and the other commitments that a Habitat home-buyer must meet while her home is being built.
“I’ve loved getting to know Lanea at a deeper level. She’s a wonderful woman who only wants the best for Nova.” Mary says. “We’ve been able to cultivate a very real relationship. Sometimes the conversations are hard. I’m very empathetic to her struggles as a single mother. It isn’t easy. But the reward is great for both of us. I’m honored to be a part of her journey.”
Mary’s return to Habitat coincided with the planning for Street of Dreams. With a background in marketing and sales, she offered her assistance with the event. Her timing was perfect.
“We were all disappointed when we had to transition from a live event,” says Jim Phelps, Nevada County Habitat’s Development Director. “Mary teamed up with Evelyn Naake, another superstar volunteer, and helped to make the online auction a reality in a short period of time. So much of our success as an organization is dependent on committed volunteers. We are all grateful for Mary’s contribution. It makes a real difference.”
Mary says she is excited about Nevada County Habitat’s direction, especially the effect these efforts have on the workforce housing gap. The transformative effect Habitat has on the lives of individuals who just needed a break impacts the entire community.
“Being a part of Lanea’s dream – it’s so huge for her. Personally making sure that happens for her and Nova is what inspires me.”
And inspires us all.