DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A piece of Section 8 housing became a chrysalis, the outer shell for a surprise transformation that took place in a South Dallas woman’s apartment Friday.
“We use the illustration of a butterfly. Once you go from a caterpillar to a butterfly, you never go back to a caterpillar,” said the Reverend Johnny Flowers.
“Before” pictures show the bare and meager furnishings for a family of five. “After” pictures reveal a beautiful home for 35-yaer-old Zakiya Payne and her children, ages eight to 18.
The furnishings for the extreme makeover were either donated or upgraded. Out of pocket costs added up to a mere 320-dollars.
New Hope Foundation’s Elves in Disguise, Designer Leslie Ezelle and a host of helping hands covered everything for a woman they say deserves it.
Reverend Flowers, New Hope Foundation’s Director, knows Zakiya well.
“This lady is known in the community as the mom who walks all. The other kids in the community to the bus stop in the morning,” he said.
“She volunteers with our church. She volunteers with the Empowerment Center. She has a dream of going to school for Culinary Arts. She has a lot of potential. If someone would just show her a better way,” he said.
The surprise makeover was overwhelming for Zakiya, who has suffered a life of poverty, loss and abuse. She cried as she was led from room to room in her newly furnished four bedroom, two bathroom apartment.
She put her feelings to words once she composed herself.
“To have people just come out and do all of this for us. Not just for me but for my kids. This is just beautiful,” she said.
“Our hope and our prayer is they never go back to living that life of poverty,” Reverend Flowers said.
It is a life altering gift she’ll never forget.
“This is the greatest Christmas gift ever,” she said.
That wasn’t all the family was surprised with. They were also given $15,000 in scholarship money for college.