State News

Woman fulfills childhood promise to herself

Posted July 21

Dianna Lester and her sons

"I want my mistakes, actions, and achievements to show my boys that you can accomplish anything with hard work, no matter what background you come from." – from Dianna Lester's application letter

Dianna Lester is living proof that a person's past doesn't have to dictate her future. Growing up in poverty as the child of drug-addicted parents, Dianna was determined not to repeat the mistakes that her parents made.

Losing her mom at the age of 9 only strengthened her resolve to aim higher and work harder. As a single mother of two, working and going to college, Dianna used the turmoil of her childhood as a motivating force.

Against all odds she became the first person in her family to earn a degree. With her education complete, she began a career as a health access counselor for Western Carolina Medical Society. While she had accomplished her goal of becoming a working professional, Dianna soon learned that job security doesn't guarantee financial stability. With the cost of rent on the rise, she moved her family of 3 into a 2-bedroom apartment in what appeared to be a decent neighborhood.

As time went on, she began noticing an increase in drug activity and crime. In addition, her apartment flooded on multiple occasions causing mold to grow and fester. When both of her children started exhibiting breathing problems, Dianna knew she had to make a change.

With the same determination that Dianna enlists to approach every challenge, Dianna worked on her credit, and then applied and was approved for homeownership through Asheville Habitat.

Dianna and her children will soon live in a 3 bedroom/1.5 bathroom house in Habitat's new Arden neighborhood. The house is sponsored by the State Employees' Credit Union (SECU) Foundation, as part of SECU's Mountains to the Sea Challenge, building a Habitat home in every county in North Carolina.

Through the purchase of his home, Dianna can take pride in knowing that the promise she made to herself as a child, has been fulfilled.

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