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The new executive director of Edisto Habitat for Humanity is no stranger to the work of the organization that helps families build and buy their own homes.

Jessica Burgoyne began her work in early January, replacing former longtime executive director Jamie Wood.

“I really am truly blessed to be here and be a part of the community and help. I’m very committed to affordable housing. I’ve seen the benefits and the impact, and there’s nothing like it,” Burgoyne said.

The Lexington native lived for more than 20 years in Massachusetts, where she served as the executive director for a Habitat affiliate. When she returned to South Carolina, she worked as manager of the United Way of the Midland’s Flood Recovery Group before being tapped for her current position.

“I have a lot of affordable housing and grant-writing experience, and I’m really enjoying my first four months here at Habitat – wonderful people. They’re the most dedicated group of people I’ve ever worked with,” Burgoyne said.

The Christian housing ministry brings together volunteers and future homeowners. The future homeowners help to build their own houses and pay an affordable mortgage to buy them. Homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are recycled through a revolving fund that Habitat uses to build more houses.

Edisto Habitat for Humanity dedicated its 84th home on March 28 in Bowman and is currently working on its 85th home, this time in Cordova.

“I definitely would like to launch some new programs. We’re starting our strategic plan in June. We’ll be starting our strategic planning for the next few years. … I’d like to see us add on some new programs over time and just help increase our capacity to serve more families, whether that be with new homes or some variation,” Burgoyne said.

Her favorite quote is one from Margaret Mead which states: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

“It embodies just the true goodness of a volunteer. I love working with volunteers, and I especially love working with our Orangeburg volunteers. … I look forward to many years with this affiliate,” she said.

She added, “Volunteers are what make the engine go, truly the only thing that works. We are grateful for our volunteers, whether it is their resources, time or love.”

Burgoyne also expressed appreciation for the many sponsors of home builds, which help make dreams of homeownership come true for so many.

“We have a lot of sponsors that support us, along with our churches and countless organizations that support us. We’re grateful,” she said.

The Edisto Habitat for Humanity board has between 14 to 19 members at any given time. The local Habitat affiliate also has several committees, including its building, fundraising, volunteer and family partner committees.

“We’ve got a very solid board. We’re always seeking committee members and volunteers. The thing I love about Habitat is there’s a place for everyone to participate. There’s a role for everyone. However you want to help strengthen your community, there’s a role for you to play,” Burgoyne said.

The Edisto Habitat for Humanity Homestore at 260 John C. Calhoun Drive is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

“The Homestore is doing well, but we really need donations. We’re actively seeking donations of furnishings, lamps, fixtures. ... We also always need donations of lunches on our build sites. With all the committee opportunities, there’s always a way for people to be engaged,” Burgoyne said.

Among the EHFH’s upcoming initiatives is the dedication of the Michael G. Salley Community Park on April 29. The park is being dedicated in honor of Salley, who co-founded Edisto Habitat for Humanity in 1989.

He is known as the “Edisto Habitat Father” and has donated more construction hours over the last 25 years than any other volunteer in the local organization.

Burgoyne is looking forward to the occasion and pursuing other goals for the group.

“I look forward to serving this community. I really hope that we can increase our ability to serve more families through various programs. My door is always open,” she said.

For more information on Edisto Habitat for Humanity, or to become a volunteer, please call the office at 803-536-2300 or visit www.edistohabitatforhumanity.org. The Homestore can be reached at 803-539-2242.

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Contact the writer: dgleaton@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5534. Follow "Good News with Gleaton" on Twitter at @DionneTandD.

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