Woman aims to end poverty cycle by helping fix foster family house

A call for help to fix a home for a foster family.

Dena Dupie is asking for your help to fix up the home of a family in Buda.

Dupie said she wants to break the cycle of poverty through the efforts, which is something she knows about first-hand.

Holes in the wall, plywood floors, and a leaky ceiling. This is the home in which 11-year-old Barbara and 12-year-old McKayla are living.

But they're happy to be there.

"There are so many people in this neighborhood that we can play with,” said Barbara.

Their grandmother, Lei Lonnie LaBonte, took them in last year.

"I didn't want them to have to spend their lives in foster homes that they didn't have any idea who their foster parents were going to be,” said LaBonte.

But it's not something for which LaBonte was financially prepared.

"It's a struggle every day,” she explained.

She has a full-time job, but it’s not enough.

"It's been difficult,” said LaBonte. "I live from month to month on my income.”

So now, Dena Dupie is trying to help the family.

"They want to achieve something,” said Dupie.

Dupie first met the family as part of the Austin Angels Love Box program, which aims to build a relationship with foster children and provide mentorship.

But Dupie, took it to the next level.

"We need help with the roof, and the septic tank which has collapsed, and the foundation,” said LaBonte.

"They want to make a difference, and Lei Lonnie wants these girls to grow up and have a future," said Dupie.

Dupie is working to fix up their home. She said they already have an offer to renovate the inside of the house, but first said it needs a new foundation and new septic tank.

For Dupie, it's personal.

"We just had a really hard life growing up,” said Dupie.

She grew up in poverty, and in an abusive home.

"Our family was broken up quite often, we were homeless a couple times, and we couldn't live with each other,” said Dupie. "I understand what separation and chaos does in a young child's life."

She feels lucky teachers helped pull her out.

"If it wasn't for their love and compassion, I don't know if I would be owning my own business, at this point,” said Dupie. "I had them to guide me and to be there for us, for me when it was most important, when I was growing up."

Now she wants to pay it forward by fixing this home, so Barbara and McKayla can continue living at the home, together.

"The girls are motivated, they're motivated to break that chain,” said Dupie. “You know not go through the same struggles that their parents went through."

And Dupie hopes this will help.

"We want these girls to ultimately have a bedroom that they can be proud of,” said Dupie.

"I don't know how we're even able to thank them,” said Barbara.

If you want to donate to the cause, Dupie is looking for anyone who can donate parts or labor for a new foundation and septic tank.

You can also donate by going to the Austin Angels website, and mark it with “Lei Lonnie Home Fix Up.”

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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