Working five days/week plus more hard work each weekend leaves all of our Brenkle Court homeowners tired, but the overarching goal of home ownership keeps them motivated. “This is a dream come true. I’ll be able to live and work in the same town, and my son will grow up in his own room. I am blessed.”

our town st helena juan salomon and son are brenkle court families who are providing 65% of the work to build their own homesJuan Salomon and his family left a small town in Michoacán, Mexico and settled in Middletown

Juan was 11 when the family moved to California. Like many immigrants, they were seeking a better life for their family. Juan’s father grew concerned that Juan didn’t want to go to school. He had applied for green cards a few years earlier, so the family packed up and left everything that was familiar and moved to California, settling in Middletown.

None of the family—not his parents, his three sisters or Juan—spoke English. There were no mentoring or training programs, no ESL classes, but like most immigrants, they slowly found themselves integrating into the community. Juan learned English because he had to, but those first few years were difficult.

Juan graduated from high school and ultimately sought work in Napa Valley’s wine industry. Along the way he became a US citizen and had a son, Jayden. He’s now working for Colgin Cellars as a production assistant, a small St. Helena winery with opportunities for growth. Juan saw the posting for the Brenkle Court program and applied, but didn’t qualify. When the application was posted the second time, he applied and was accepted.

Having a team is critical to the success of the program

Each of the families must put in 35 hours of work each weekend to keep the project on schedule. Like all of the families, Juan is grateful for his own team—mostly his own family members—who are helping him build a home for himself and Jayden.