Steven and Mara (Bierbrodt) Gayken live in Mason City with their 5 children.  With such a large family, this couple got stuck in the ongoing cycle of renting.  As their family grew, it became more difficult to find affordable and safe housing large enough to fit their needs.  After being stuck in the vicious cycle of renting for years, they are ready for a fresh start in their own home as a Habitat Partner Family.

As a whole, this family has had to overcome many challenges, including having to move, a lot. But despite the challenges, their goal has never wavered.  They have always wanted to own their own home – a home that for them would provide safety and comfort, and a home that would provide them the knowledge of knowing that they will never be uprooted again. This family is excited that this will be their final move; a move into a home they have helped to build and have great pride in.  Steven and Mara feel that working with Habitat for Humanity has been a very rewarding experience that allowed them to work together, work hard, and learn along the way.  The Gayken family is planning to continue to be a part of Habitat for Humanity even after their home is built to continue to help others who may find themselves in the same or a similar situation as them.

Steven and Mara both work full time at 43 North Iowa in Mason City, where they help provide employment training and support to individuals with disabilities.   Steven works with individuals on 43 North Iowa’s production team, building pallets for local businesses.  Mara works with students in the Mason City and Osage high schools and assists them in gaining competitive employment within their communities.  They both love what they do and have a passion for helping others whenever possible.

Steven and Mara’s five children are so excited to move and finally have the opportunity to call a place their forever home!  All of their children currently attend school in Clear Lake and where they love displaying their Lion pride.  Their oldest son, Todd is in 7th grade.  He is enthusiastic and loves to be the class clown.  He also enjoys running on the Clear Lake cross country team and hanging out with his friends.  Brice is in 6th grade and always full of life and fun facts.  He loves singing in the local summer musical and playing in the school band.  Madison is in 5th grade and is described as sassy and classy.  She enjoys playing her tuba in the school band and participating in Girl Scouts.  Roman is in 3rd grade and is the youngest boy.  He is bouncy and always full of enthusiasm. He loves to ride his bike and go to the movies.  Their youngest, Willow is in preschool and is known as the wild child.  She loves to color, help her mom in the kitchen, and keep everyone on their toes!  They are all excited to move and  become a part of their new community in Garner.