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Chaparral High senior raises $7,000 for Habitat for Humanity in Arizona through singing

Reust chose to donate to Habitat for Humanity after he said his mom, who immigrated to the U.S. before he was born, also struggled to find housing as a refugee.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Valley high school senior Michael Reust has a passion for music.

But he also knows the reality of the housing crisis in this country after his own mom dealt with evictions as a refugee.

So he's using his singing voice to create change. 

“I reached out to pretty much every single person I know and every single person whose email address I had, and I offered them a musical greeting in exchange for a donation for Habitat for Humanity,” Reust said.

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: Estudiante de preparatoria Chaparral recauda $7,000 para Habitat for Humanity en Arizona

That one ask brought some needed relief to the organization. 

“And that coupled with the donations from my website, we’ve raised just over $7,000," Reust said.

Reust chose to donate the money to Habitat for Humanity, which builds, renovates and repairs homes for families struggling to make ends meet, out of his own personal connection.

“When my mom first came to this country, she had a lot of issues finding a consistent place to stay," Reust said.

Reust’s mom, who moved to the U.S. from Slovakia before he was born, dealt with a lot of housing challenges, fueling his fundraising.

“And by donating to Habitat for Humanity, I hope I can help other families avoid what my mom had to go through," he said.

Habitat for Humanity's Daniela Riley said there’s a lot of different ways Reust’s donation will be used.

“What does it take to build a home, and in this case sticks, bricks, everything costs money, the lumber involved," Riley said.

The Arizona charity's organizers are thrilled Michael and his friends are giving back in such a big way.

“This is a kid that just identified a need, noticed that here in our Valley that we have this housing crisis," Riley said. "He said 'OK, what can I do?'”

Reust has been singing since elementary school. He never imagined his passion would turn into a greater purpose. He now has plans to take his fundraising statewide for Habitat for Humanity and recruit more friends to join his cause. 

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