Acts of Kindness
Elderly widow’s home is condemned so neighbors invite her to live with them
Though the Silvas already had a full house with eight children, they didn't hesitate to let the elderly woman move in with them. She became like their "adopted grandma."
D.G. Sciortino

They say that home is where the heart is. And there is a lot of heart in the Silva household.

They are the literal definition of “good neighbors.”

That’s probably why it was so easy for Gean LeVar to adjust to living with them after her house was condemned and the Silvas invited LeVar to live with them as their “adopted grandmother.”

LeVar was married to her husband for 58 years. Police entered LeVar’s house after her husband died in their Glendale, Arizona home.

That’s when the house was deemed to be inhabitable.

At least one in 1000 people over 65 live in squalor or unsafe conditions due to the loss of a partner, frailty, or neurocognitive disorder, according to the National Library of Medicine. The living conditions were so poor that the house was condemned rendering LeVar homeless. So, she lost her husband and her home in the same day.

CBS Sunday Morning - YouTube
CBS Sunday Morning - YouTube

Though they were neighbors, Carmen Silva barely knew LeVar.

But when she learned that LeVar had no family to live with, she invited LeVar to live with her and her family in their already full house.

“I told her, ‘Don’t worry Gean, we’re going to fix it,'” Silva told CBS News.

CBS Sunday Morning - YouTube
CBS Sunday Morning - YouTube

The Silvas live in a three-bedroom house with their eight children. So, they were already short on an ideal amount of space.

Still, the boys gave up their bed to sleep on the couch so that LeVar could have it.

“I’ve always taught my kids to take care of their elders,” Silva said.

CBS Sunday Morning - YouTube
CBS Sunday Morning - YouTube

LeVar says that she was very surprised by Silva’s gesture.

But Silva doesn’t see her act of kindness as extreme.

She just thinks it’s something that good neighbors do.

“She [LeVar] looks very happy, and I believe it’s because she has a whole family now,” Silva said.

When asked if she felt like she had found a family with the Silvas, LeVar teared up.

“It means everything,” she said. “Just thinking about it.”

As if that act of kindness wasn’t miraculous enough, LeVar learned she had even more neighbors that wanted to help her out.

Operation Enduring Gratitude, which helps Arizona veterans and their families, learned about Levar’s story after she moved in with the Silvas.

Since LeVar’s husband was a Navy veteran, volunteers from the nonprofit got to work renovating LeVar’s house.

“We’re all joining together to do one thing, and that’s to make somebody’s life whole,” one of the volunteers said.

Now that LeVar’s house is no longer condemned, she plans on sharing it with her new family, the Silvas. LeVar’s story was featured on CBS Morning. The YouTube video of her story was watched almost 50,000 times in just a couple of days.

“Carmen is teaching and leading by example. That’s how you raise good kids, Mama! May all their lives be blessed by each other’s presence for many years to come,” wrote one YouTube commenter.

“A beautiful story about beautiful people. May God bless you Carmen – and your wonderful family too!” said another.

Check out this truly amazing story in the video below!

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By D.G. Sciortino
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D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at [email protected]