Living With as much intention as possible

Andrew is a native of Albuquerque where his family roots go back several generations. His grandfather was a professor at the University of New Mexico, and Andrew is now working at the city’s oldest high school, Albuquerque High School (AHS), teaching New Mexico History and Health classes in English and Spanish. In February, Andrew purchased his first home—a 100-year-old adobe house with a smaller casita—and now spends his evenings and weekends immersed in a complete renovation. “I wanted a fixer-upper,” he explained. “I like working with my hands, but it is also important to me to have sweat equity in my home. It’s a really big project, but one that I feel ready to take on.”

Before he started teaching at AHS or had thoughts of homeownership, Andrew graduated from college and made travel a priority, most notably in Israel, Spain, and Portugal. He saw a lot and learned a lot, but eventually found his way back to Albuquerque. “Albuquerque is home to me, and always will be home,” he said.

Upon discovering that friends from all over the country could not afford to rent much less buy a home in the cities where they grew up, Andrew was dismayed. He couldn’t imagine not being able to own a home in the place that you call home. “I never want to see this happen in my hometown. I always want Albuquerque to be affordable to those who grew up here, and also to those who would like to make Albuquerque their home.” He decided it was time to take action and buy a home of his own. “For me, it was about making an investment: an investment in myself, an investment in my community, and in my city.”

Andrew had been researching the Santa Barbara-Martineztown neighborhood which he found appealing due to its proximity to AHS and to the Downtown area. He stumbled across the property he now owns on a Bernalillo County assessor’s map. When he found out it was owned by Homewise as part of their Acquisition Rehab program, Andrew approached the nonprofit to see if he could purchase the property and do the renovation himself. He worked with Ambrose, a Homewise Realtor®, and before long, he was a proud homeowner.

Andrew is a believer in the Jewish principle of Tikkun Olam (Hebrew for “repairing the world”) and is committed to creating positive change and doing what he can to make the world a better place. He plans to join a neighborhood association so that he can more actively participate in revitalizing the area and help bring in more people and families. “I see so much potential here,” he stated. “I want to lead by example in giving new life to all the old, vacant houses.”

Andrew is also excited to indulge in his passion for gardening and permaculture. He started a gardening club at AHS, and now can’t wait to grow things in his own yard. He’s already planted rosebushes across the back wall, installed an enormous 500-gallon rain catchment system, and has a vision for turning the space between the two houses into a green oasis. And despite the demands between his full-time teaching job and a major home renovation, he has still found time to plant a small front yard flower bed with bright, colorful blooms and to hang a string of decorative lights across the portal so that the neighbors will have something nice to look at.

“It’s a lot,” Andrew acknowledged, “but for me it’s about living with as much intention as possible.” Whether he’s helping young people reach their potential through teaching, or he’s investing in a sustainable homeownership model that values restoring old homes and neighborhoods, Andrew strives to be engaged, and continues to look for opportunities to “help move my city in a progressive and positive direction.”

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