On a rainy Monday morning, in the backyard of the place they call home, the Colts teamed up with Stanley Security and Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity to start building a place the Ndatira family can call home.
“They have only been in the United States for three years. They are refugees from Rwanda and the tremendous obstacles that they’ve overcome to be part of the Habitat program for at least a year,” said Stephanie Cassel, Director of Community Relations for the Colts, “to be successful and be on the path, I’m inspired by them.”
Working alongside Colts coaches, employees, partners, volunteers, and his mother, Mukakigeli Donatille, Boniface Ngonga said he and his family are nothing but grateful.
“I can’t thank them enough,” he said. “It is so important to be with them so I can say God bless them.”
By the time football season starts, the family will be ready to move into their new home. They’ll take over the mortgage and make the payments. And from there, they’ll have the freedom to build their life – and their dreams – around it.
“The stability of the home ownership program and what they’re able to have as an owner and then the pride – because they’ll tell us it’s the fact that they get to host Thanksgiving for the first time in their own home. That’s what’s really important to them is that pride of owning a home,” said Jim Morris, President and CEO of Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity.
For the Colts, it’s all about family. And family starts at home.
“It’s a chance for us to make a difference in our community and that’s one of the Irsays’ missions, is to give back when we have a chance to give back. This is one of the great opportunities,” said General Manager Chris Ballard. “To know that every night you’re going to have a place for you and your kids to eat dinner, to get up in the morning, to know that you’re going to be safe, I think it’s important.”
Head Coach Frank Reich has only been in Indianapolis for about three months. He’s spent most of that time working on building a team. On Monday, he took a break to work on building a house. And just like football, it was a lesson in teamwork.
“I know it’s a corny analogy but in football, we always talk about one play at a time. When you get a group together and you say, ‘Hey, we’re going to accomplish this goal – just one nail at a time or one play at a time,’ it works in all of life.”
“Everybody is working together, kind of like a football team,” said Pass Rush Consultant Robert Mathis. “It’s very important that we work together because this is going to be somebody’s residence, somebody’s home.”
And Lucas Oil Stadium, a place built on teamwork, served as the perfect backdrop.
“First thing’s first, it’s all about the family. This gives an American dream to a family,” said Robert Raff, President of Stanley Security. “And for the Colts, the leadership, and then the leadership of Stanley Security all coming together – these events are fantastic.”
Together, they constructed the interior and exterior walls of the Ndatira family’s future home. And despite the elements, they did it in record time.
“I think it’s pretty magical,” said Cassel. “They showed up positive and ready to get it done. And they got it done.”
After 19 years as refugees, the Ndatira family finally has a country to call their own.
And in a few more months, they’ll have a house to call their home.