Meet the Fabio-Jackson Family

As a writer of fiction, I believe that the best stories happen all around us—waiting to be told: Real people, with real hopes, dreams, and challenges.

As a former member of the Board of Directors and volunteer for Sacramento’s chapter, I believe in Habitat for Humanity. Simply stated, Sac-Habitat improves our community, one family at a time.I’m promoting my first short story collection, “Matters Familiar,” this holiday season. I thought, Why not help a family in need in a meaningful, lasting way at the same time?

MY PLEDGE: For every eBook or paperback copy of “Matters Familiar” sold during the holidays, I’ll donate $1 to Sacramento Habitat for Humanity, for a new home for a qualifying family. (For every individual e-story sold, I’ll donate 10 cents of the 99-cent purchase price.)

MY GOAL: To raise $75,000 to sponsor a complete build in 2013, on behalf of “Fans of E. G. Fabricant.”

Here’s the Fabio-Jackson’s story. (Spoiler Alert: It has a happy ending.)—EGF




(You can see more photos of the Fabio-Jackson family on my Facebook page.)


Ayanna Fabio is a single mother with five children:

  • Two sons, 18-year-old Ashanti Jackson (currently attending Boston University) and 15-year-old Shomari Jackson; and
  • three daughters, 16-year-old Niani Jackson, 12-year-old Inayah Jackson, and eight-year old Alexia Jackson.

Having grown up with the importance of owning one’s home already instilled in her, the dream of homeownership had always been on the forefront of Ayanna’s mind.  Ayanna’s grandfather was an immigrant from the Phillipines, a self-taught carpenter who worked in the fields until he was able to buy his own land.  Eventually, her grandfather and his children, Ayanna’s mother and uncle, began building homes in Monterey County.  Ayanna’s mother grew up in a home built by her and her father.  Having aspirations to one day own her own home, her mother bought a home when Ayanna was in Fifth Grade.

Ayanna moved to Sacramento in 1992, shortly after graduating high school.  She was married at 20 and had her first child, Ashanti, a year later.  Wanting to live in a diverse community was very important to Ayanna, so she and her fledgling family decided to take root in Sacramento.  Ayanna developed a soft spot for helping children at risk while working her first job at 15 in the child care center of a local gym.  For the last seven years of their marriage, Ayanna and her husband became foster care parents.  Ayanna admits that, during this period, things were very crowded:

My own children were sharing space with other children in the house.  We lived in a four-bedroom home with 13 children!

Ayanna and her husband stopped doing foster care when a family member who as unable to care for her daughter came forward and asked for their help.  They welcomed little Alexia into her immediate family with open arms, and she and her husband stopped doing foster care when Alexia’s adoption was finalized.

Ayanna and her husband separated five years ago and have since divorced.  Owning her own home, Ayanna said,

was always something I would look to want to do, but I was married 16 years and when that didn’t work out I just never thought it would be a possibility, so I abandoned the idea.

Though the divorce was amicable, raising her children was a struggle.  In the past five years, Ayanna and her children had lived in five different places.  Most of the moves were because of not being able to afford the rent.  As she said:

The subsidized place where I lived was over $1,000 a month—for an apartment!   We were like nomads, but owning our own home changed all that.

Ayannah’s children were thrilled, too.  When asked if they were excited about their new house, Niani chimed in:

Oh yes!  Especially the back yard; we always loved the idea of a back yard.  But, going in and out of apartments, we hadn’t had that in a long time.  That’s the most fun part of a house—having a yard to play in.

The youngest, Alexia, couldn’t contain her excitement either:

I think the house is pretty and I just couldn’t wait until the garden came in and to be able to have my friends come over.

Ayanna is a family advocate at the River Oaks Center for Children, working directly with families whose children need receiving mental health services.  The Center gives them direct support refers them to resources in the community for needs they cannot meet themselves.  Before that, she worked as a Development Director for Foster Care and in the special education departments for the Elk Grove and Sacramento City school districts.  When asked what drives her, Ayanna said:

It just feels good to help people and be a part of the community and change.

Why did she come to Sacramento Habitat for Humanity?  Ayanna laughed and said:

When you spend a lot of time trying to make the lives of others better, sometimes you forget about yourself.  I was telling everyone else about Habitat and then I thought, ‘Hey—maybe this might be a good fit for me!’

The Fabio-Jackson family moved out of their cramped three-bedroom rental and into their brand new, four-bedroom Habitat home on September 22, 2012.


Won’t you join me? Click here.

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