On Friday, December 18th, the Lee BIA Builders Care and Lennar Homes unveiled a new home that was constructed for the Smith family in Cape Coral, completed in just 18 days, in time for Christmas. Over 150 Lennar associates, along with more than 100 other local business and community partners donated their time, services and building materials to build a brand new house, from start to finish, in time for the Smith family to spend the holidays in their new home. The home site, located in a Southwest Cape Coral neighborhood within a mile of Kayla’s school, Patriot Elementary, was donated by Carney Properties and Investment Group.
Brad and Charyse Smith saw their dream come true of owning a home accessible for their daughter with special needs, Kayla and their son Logan. The “home that love built for Kayla” is the 251st Builders Care project since the nonprofit organization’s inception in 2005.
Grammy award-winner Alicia Keys kicked off the unveiling with special video-taped message for Kayla: “Keep shining… you’re beautiful.” At the close of the ceremony, local deputies surprised Kayla and her family with another celebrity message. Basketball great Shaquille O’Neal sent a special recorded message to the family, sending his love to Kayla from “Uncle” Shaq, with special wishes for their first holiday in their new home.
Kayla is 100 percent dependent on her family for daily care because she was born with life threatening issues that resulted in permanent brain damage and the diagnosis of Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy.
“It’s so not real,” said Charyse. “I keep looking around thinking I’ll see the family that the home is for! Thank you doesn’t begin to cover what we are feeling right now, I am grateful to God for choosing me to be Kayla’s mom and this means the world to us. You will forever be in our hearts.”
Fred Barry, past President of Builders Care and a founding board member, said Builders Care is so grateful to the community for joining forces, building a home in 18 days and giving the Smith family peace of mind. The Smith home is 2,032 square feet under air and features three large bedrooms and three bathrooms. The home has been adapted to include wide hallways, doors and open spaces to maneuver a wheel chair for Kayla.
Inside their home, personal touches can be seen in every room. There are pictures of the family, a framed poem that expresses the gift she has in Kayla, and presents under the Christmas tree, including a brand new bicycle for son Logan. Kayla also received an enormous framed Hello Kitty, created by a Lennar employee, now hanging in her new room. On their new living room coach sits a giant stuffed Teddy Bear, to which Kayla exclaimed “unbelievable!”
“The community effort is overwhelming, it’s beyond belief for our family,” said Chuck Smith, Brad’s father. “I had never heard of Builders Care and it is amazing to see how they can work together and overcome challenges, this is evidence of God’s grace.”
Darin McMurray, Division President at Lennar, thanked Builders Care for giving everyone the opportunity to do something special in the community.
“We gave the family a timeline of early January, but our hope was always to get them in by Christmas. We like to under-promise and over-deliver! But truly, this home wouldn’t have been ready without the support of the entire building community and the businesses that pitched in to help,” said McMurray.
Lee BIA Builders Care is the nonprofit charitable arm of the Lee Building Industry Association (BIA). Its objective is to provide emergency repairs and construction services to elderly, disabled and economically disadvantaged people who are unable to obtain home repairs through traditional means. To date, Lee BIA Builders Care has put nearly $3.7 Million in construction services back into the community at no cost to homeowners in need. Builders Care enlists the volunteer services of Lee BIA members and leverages grants and donated materials to provide construction and remodeling services to qualified homeowners throughout Lee County. Major supporters include: Lennar Homes, Land Solutions, Inc., Carney Properties and Investment Group, the City of Cape Coral, Ken Sneeden & Associates and Priority Marketing of Southwest Florida.
Builders Care is headquartered at the Lee BIA offices at 10501 Six Mile Cypress Pkwy., Suite 118 in Fort Myers. The Building Industry Association (www.BIA.net ) is a 50-year-old association affiliated with National Home Builders Association and Florida Home Builders Association to serve the local building and related industries to strengthen our community by advancing a professional building industry through advocacy, education and services. Donations can be made online at www.LeeBuildersCare.org, or to the Builders Care general fund at BB&T Page Field branch at 4959 South Cleveland Ave. in Fort Myers. For more information, visit www.leebuilderscare.com.