Acts of Kindness
Community swoops in to help teen homeowner after her mom passes away
Not only did 19-year-old Mackenzie lose her mom, but she suddenly became the owner of a house that was falling apart. Although she desperately needed help, she never expected her community to step in.
Elijah Chan
12.14.21

It takes a village to raise a child.

A lot of people attribute this piece of wisdom to an African proverb. And while the origins of the line remain a mystery, we can agree that it rings true.

YouTube Screenshot - CBS Sacramento
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - CBS Sacramento

It has never been truer in a neighborhood in California, though. In a crumbling home, a firefighter is painting the ceiling with a fresh coat of paint, much like the new hope that it brings.

Mackenzie Sorenson owns that crumbling home.

The 19-year-old was suddenly thrust into this new responsibility when her mother Liza passed away after a stroke. At that moment, she lost not only her mother but an entire phase of her life.

YouTube Screenshot - CBS Sacramento
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - CBS Sacramento

“She would talk to everybody, that was my mom. And I was the quiet daughter she would help bring out of my shell. I miss her so much,” Mackenzie told CBS 13.

Her life changed overnight.

She not only lost her mother but her path would look different too, especially being a homeowner. She could’ve been earning her degree at this point, but with a new set of responsibilities, she needed to be an adult.

Pexels - Ksenia Chernaya
Source:
Pexels - Ksenia Chernaya

“It is like very overwhelming to be a homeowner at 19,” said Mackenzie to the news outlet.

YouTube Screenshot - CBS Sacramento
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - CBS Sacramento

She needed a job. She needed income. She needed to pull the ropes so the house she was living in wouldn’t fall apart. Fortunately, Mackenzie might’ve been left on her own, but a community never let her feel alone.

Jeff Osuna has been their long-time neighbor.

“Her mother was a very sweet, sweet woman. She’d come out and greet us all the time.” said Osuna to CBS 13. “She’d pull in our garbage cans when we were gone.”

YouTube Screenshot - CBS Sacramento
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - CBS Sacramento

He’s a firefighter and has been assisting Mackenzie and Lisa for about six years. He helps them by doing house repairs and maintenance, a task that can be challenging for a struggling mom and her daughter.

And while Osuna tried his best to fix what needed to be fixed, the house continued to fall into disrepair.

Pexels - Anete Lusina
Source:
Pexels - Anete Lusina

“Just walking into the house seeing the situation that this young 19-year-old girl was living in, it was daunting,” said Osuna.

The house her mother left her desperately needed an overhaul.

“Two days ago, I walked into the house to plan my attack on the bathroom I was shocked, deeply saddened, and overwhelmed with what this almost 19-year-old girl was trying to deal with,” Osuna said on the GoFundMe page he started. “90% of her furniture needed replacement and has been removed. She’s in the process of getting rid of the worn-out items along with cleaning, all while trying to create a fresh start.”

YouTube Screenshot - CBS Sacramento
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - CBS Sacramento

But just as things seemed bleak, her neighbors and community poured in their support. Some of them offered financial help. Total strangers were ready to help her remodel her home. An entire village showed up as suddenly as her mother’s passing – all of them ready to lend a hand.

Repairs and remodeling are currently underway.

Osuna stepped up in leading the remodeling, even bringing in friends and co-workers into the task. And while “many hands make light work”, they still need financial help to bring in much-needed materials.

YouTube Screenshot - CBS Sacramento
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - CBS Sacramento

Hopefully, their efforts can bear fruit in a shorter span of time so Mackenzie can focus on earning a degree. And while she’s standing on her own, she will cherish the words “it takes a village,” forever.

Watch how a community stepped up after a girl’s life changed overnight in the video below!

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By Elijah Chan
hi@sbly.com
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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