The construction of a new Habitat for Humanity house in Berkeley Township brings together a very special partnership.

Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity

Ocean County Vocational Technical School students will be participating in the building process as part of a new post-Sandy construction curriculum. Suzan Fichtner, Executive Director of Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity says the school recognizes the shared benefits.

"That a partnership with habitat would allow the students to not just build in, like in a warehouse, but to be able to truly build a real home for a real family, explains Fichtner."

Fichtner says after a recent visit to the vocational school in Waretown to explain the project, the students really got it. "One of the students came up to me afterward and he said I just want you to know that a couple of us have already committed to stay past one thirty on our own time, to help with additional hours. They get that this is certainly more than just a classroom time period, adds Fichtner."

Diane, who's homeless and living with her parents with her two autistic sons in Toms River, describes what it's like to be selected for a new home. "Oh my gosh! This is the most amazing thing that's happened to me in my life! It's going to change our lives forever, for myself and my son's."

Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity will be constructing a two-story, three-bedroom, 1 & 1/2 bathroom, energy efficient house, with brand new donated appliances and cabinets at 102 First Avenue. Fichtner says they purchased three lots in Manitou Park and this is the second home going up.

Diane will be required participate in 300 hours of sweat equity of either helping to build her new house and needed to meet Housing and Urban Development (HUD) financial bracket requirements.

A groundbreaking ceremony takes place September 26th.

To get more information about Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity and its programs visit or call 732-818-9500 ext 105. You can also find them on Facebook.

Listen to a conversation with Suzan Fichtner