At just 36 years old, Jose Castro's life has come full circle. 

In 1991, at just four years old, Castro, his mother, father and four siblings moved into a brand-new home in Point Douglas built by Habitat for Humanity.

"My family helped build it along with other people on the street," said Castro. "Prior to that, we had been living in a small apartment, which was pretty cramped with seven people. When we got our first home, it was a big difference. We had an apple tree. All that good stuff."

Castro says it was a wonderful neighbourhood to grow up in. 

"We had friends right across the street. Everybody came out and played hockey and basketball. Everything was bright and green," said Castro. "It was awesome growing up there."

It was also there where Jose would find his passion for cycling after a generous community member donated bikes to kids in the neighbourhood.

"There was a U-Haul type truck that showed up at the top of my street, near my house and they were handing out bikes to all the kids," said Castro. "That was my first bike. It's what started my love for cycling."

Jose is now using cycling to give back to the community that supported his family. From July 3-5, Castro will participate in Habitat Manitoba's Spirit of Manitoba cycling fundraiser. 

"I'm super happy to be connecting with my roots and helping a great organization," said Castro. "My experience with Habitat Manitoba has been a blessing from the day we moved in, to the day we sold the house in 2005, and continues to be up to this day."

The home that Castro grew up in was one of 18 built on Angus Street, and this was the first multiple-home dwelling of its kind for the organization that culminated in The Jimmy Carter Work Project coming to Winnipeg for the first time in 1993.

Castro believes the influence of growing up in a friendly, inclusive community has helped shape his character.

"Thanks to Habitat and other groups donating clothes to us, bikes, all that stuff, it's helped us thrive in Canada," Castro explained. "If I'm able to give back, even a tiny percentage of what we've been given, I'm happy to do it. 

Anyone interested in supporting Jose in his cycling journey can donate here.