For the past 25 years, Consuela Mackey has tirelessly helped those living with disabilities by providing them with job training, individualized training in personal care and education on workplace etiquette. Since she has devoted most of her life to helping others, it was long overdue for something extremely nice to be done for her. When the team from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition came to Consuela’s house in Granada Hills, California, they were able to give something back to an individual who has sacrificed so much for her community.
Consuela is the founder of the non-profit organization Operation Confidence which, as of 2004, has helped almost 10,000 disabled individuals find gainful employment and assimilate into the workplace. But her efforts to help the disabled don’t stop when she gets home; as an example of how she sacrifices her own happiness and comfort to help others, when one of the people she works with needs a place to spend the night, Consuela selflessly gives up her own bed and sleeps in a chair.
Consuela has had many foster kids over the years, and has raised her grandson since he was a baby. She took in her niece when the girl was just six years old, and most recently brought her visually impaired sister, Sandra Lawson—along with Sandra's teen-aged daughter, Georgia—down from Sacramento to live with her. Consuela has been using her knowledge and resources to educate her sister about technology that’s available to facilitate life with partial vision. The family, in turn, is involved with all of Consuela’s projects, and look to her for guidance and advice in their daily lives.
A beauty shop business is Consuela’s sole source of income, the money going towards caring for her extended family and continuing Operation Confidence’s community efforts. With such limited funds and with all of her time taken up by her non-stop philanthropic activities, Consuela has had no opportunity to tend to the upkeep of her own house.
While the team of designers, contractors and over 400 workers transformed her ranch-style, one-level home into a decorator’s delight, Consuela, along with her 14-year-old grandson, Eric Jones, sister Sandra and Sandra’s 16-year-old daughter, Georgia, and Consuela’s niece, Valada Smith, 26, went on a seven-day vacation to Playa del Carmen, Mexico and stayed at the Viva Wyndham Hotel.