2019 United Way Annual Report - Page 47

Shawnta remembers the day
when the walls were raised.
In October 2018, she created a legacy for her
children by becoming the first in her family to
own a home.
But as a single mom with three kids, the road to
get there wasn’t necessarily easy. It was paved
with rejection and hard work and a community
standing strong around her.
Shawnta first heard about Habitat for Humanity
in 2013 and decided to apply. Unfortunately,
her application was not approved. So, she was
turned away and given some resources to better
prepare for the next time she applied.
She says she got off track for a while and then
decided to apply again in 2016. Again, her
application was declined.
But with three young children, Shawnta was
adamant that she’d provide them a home of
their own. At the time, she was living in a twobedroom, 800 square foot duplex—the two boys
in one bedroom, while she and her daughter
shared the other.
“I was tired of moving and repeating the same
cycle year after year,” she says. “Owning my own
home meant stability, which my kids deserve."
She was referred to Christian Community
Services, Inc. (CCSI) and joined their Mentoring
Toward Independence program to learn about
financial freedom and empowerment and began
to work toward becoming mortgage ready.
“From the day we met Shawnta she exhibited a
beautiful, positive spirit,” says Dr. Rietta Turner,
CCSI CEO and executive director. “Her reason
for wanting to participate in the program was
to establish a better life for her children and to
show them that in life it’s not how you start but
it’s all about how you finish. … Shawnta was
fully dedicated and never missed a session.
She eagerly received the new information we
presented and put it into practice. Shawnta was
already resilient. However, we saw her grow in
hope, mindset, knowledge, skills, choices and
confidence that she could achieve her goals.”
Every Tuesday night, she’d show up to class
empowered that she’d soon be able to direct her
financial future and one day own her own home.
“I learned so much through that program. They
basically gave me the foundation to have the
PAG E 45

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