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Rockin' Rollers

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Jon Bon Jovi may be handier with an electric guitar than an electric drill. But standing amid the dust and drywall in a partly built duplex in Philadelphia on Oct. 25, he is in fact admiring the fruits of his labor. After giving $50,000 of his own money—and soliciting $400,000 in corporate donations—toward the building of four Habitat for Humanity homes, the singer is using the construction site as a set for the video of his band’s new single, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.” Home-owner-to-be Jackie Starr can’t quite believe her luck. “I keep thinking I’m going to wake up from the dream,” she says after meeting the rocker for the first time at the work site, where he pitched in with some painting. “I’m gonna tell everyone Bon Jovi sponsored my house.” Teases her sponsor: “I’d say your real estate value just went up!”

Bon Jovi, 43, is profiting too—in a different way. The father of four, who lives nearby in New Jersey, loves the buzz he gets, as he says, “bringing families together.” Already involved in community work through his arena football team the Philadelphia Soul, Bon Jovi decided to partner with Habitat for Humanity in July after writing “Home” with bandmate Richie Sambora. Starr, 47, her husband, daughter and grandson will get an l,100-sq.-ft. house. Like all Habitat participants, Starr, who applied for a home in 2004, will put about 350 hours of sweat equity into building houses with Habitat. Which means that in addition to working a fulltime job helping people with mental disabilities and studying at the Community College of Philadelphia, she is busy laying cement and putting slats on a roof, a feat even more dizzying than meeting a rock star. “I was like, ‘I’ve never been on a roof. How will I get down?’ ” she says. Not to worry: The guy with the great hair is ready to lend a hand. “You find that thing that moves you, and you hold on to it,” says Bon Jovi. “Because it can change your life.”