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Giving and Receiving: ‘I fell in love with the vision and mission of Habitat’

January 3, 2018 GMT

Several years ago, Morgane Brown saw a homeless woman leaving the river bottoms in the rain, pushing a stroller with a child in it. At that point, she wanted to become more involved.

Brown, 39, of Yuba City, is the administrative officer with Habitat for Humanity Yuba/Sutter. But she’s been volunteering with the Marysville-based organization for many years, as well as other local groups, such as Hands of Hope and the Salvation Army.

“When they were evicting the homeless from the river bottoms, we really wanted to find a way to help, and now we have the Life Recovery Center,” Brown said. “It’s inspiring to be around so many caring leaders that want to make the community better.”

Habitat for Humanity purchased the former T.E. Matthews Community School, which was run by the Yuba County Office of Education, and transformed it into the Ric Teagarden Life Recovery Center. The site is where they work with people who need to rebuild their lives.

“I fell in love with the vision and mission of Habitat for Humanity,” Brown said. “We help people achieve the lifelong dream of home ownership.”

Brown, who was born and raised in Chico, worked in the administrative side of the medical field for many years, moved to the area in 2008 and began volunteering with the Salvation Army.

“It is definitely a blessing to be able to serve our local community. I am inspired each day that I come to work. We live in a community full of big hearts and kind people, and each day I witness this firsthand,” Brown said. “I think the most important thing I could ever impart on another human being is that which I always tell my kids – never forget where you came from, always be humble, extend to people the grace you would want extended to you and always give back.”

Joseph Hale, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Yuba/Sutter, said Brown has been with the organization as a volunteer since 2012 and started working in her full-time capacity in October.

“She’s great – very community minded, driven and a great public speaker,” Hale said. “She’s working in administration and HR, and even though many people can learn the job, there are some people, like Morgan, who are good at defusing things and making themselves amenable to others.”

Hale said Brown joined the staff at a time when the organization was experiencing a lot of growth.

John Nicoletti, also with Habitat for Humanity, said the Salvation Army was an important entry point for Brown to become more involved in the community.

“Morgane benefited from the Salvation Army,” Nicoletti said. “She started as a bell ringer getting herself refocused and since that time she’s dedicated most of her life to being a great person and contributing to the community.”

He said amid the aftermath of the Cascade Fire, Brown stepped up to help sort a mountain of clothing the organization received from the community.