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FirstEnergy Foundation Grant Helps Habitat for Humanity Complete ’Most Unique Build’ for NJ Family


Diana Pita’s home in Manchester, New Jersey, is full of memories and stories. And she doesn’t even live in it yet.

Pita is a single mother of twin six-year-old daughters, Adrianna and Arianna, both born with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, requiring the use of wheelchairs. She works to support not only herself and her daughters, but her family back in Mexico.

When Pita’s application was selected in a lottery by the Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity in New Jersey, she knew her road to homeownership would be an exciting journey.

“It has been quite a ride to get here, for my daughters, too,” said Pita. “This place will be their safe haven, a place where they belong, a place adapted to their needs.”

Located in the heart of Jersey Central Power & Light’s (JCP&L) service area, the Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity has completed 21 homes for deserving families, each with a unique story of their own.

Kristine Novakowski, executive director of the local Habitat for Humanity chapter, depends on the generosity of donors, like the FirstEnergy Foundation, to fulfill homeownership dreams.

She said this particular project faced challenges when a donated lot did not meet the requirements of the New Jersey Pinelands Commission. However, the Habitat for Humanity chapter simultaneously acquired an adjoining lot and received a modular home donation to make homeownership a reality for Pita.

“We call this our most unique build ever,” said Novakowski at the home’s dedication ceremony on May 22. “We knew our needs would be higher than our typical builds to fit this family’s needs, and we needed our community as much as ever.”

With the support of a FirstEnergy Foundation grant, all expenses were covered to modify the home and make it wheelchair accessible, install a roll-in shower and convert an extra room into a therapy room. The funds also helped cover the costs to transport the modular home 25 miles to the property.

“We have the ability to improve the quality of lives in our communities and support initiatives that keep families safe and allow them to thrive,” said Elaine Vincent, a FirstEnergy community involvement advisor at JCP&L. “We’re proud to support this project because its missions aligns with our commitment to a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace where everyone feels safe, valued, included and respected.”

Pita’s sweat equity kept the project moving, building ramps for her girls to get in and out of the house and painting the walls their favorite colors. Volunteers took care of all the needed plumbing, electrical and HVAC work. And when Mother Nature pulled rain out of the forecast after the lawn was seeded – grass is a requirement to receive a certificate of occupancy – the local fire department volunteered to water the lawn.

“Part of what makes this home special is all the hard work everyone put into it,” said Pita. “And the fun we had doing it.”

About the FirstEnergy Foundation

The FirstEnergy Foundation is funded solely by FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) and provides support to non-profit, tax-exempt health and human services agencies; educational organizations; cultural and arts programs and institutions; and civic groups in areas served by FirstEnergy’s 10 electric distribution companies and in areas where the company conducts business.  You can learn more about the FirstEnergy Foundation’s commitment to local nonprofit organizations at

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