Tanisha is an ultimate example of a strong woman that never gives up … on life, her family or herself. She is a single mother to three beautiful children: Kenadi and twins Jalia and Jaden. Together, this sweet family enjoys soccer (both girls play locally), dancing and going to the park.
As the mother of a special needs child (Jaden), Tanisha stays very busy with therapy and making sure that all needs are met for her family. Caring for Jaden has also inspired her to take online classes in psychology and child development. Her goal is to earn a college degree and apply her experience, education and passion for special needs children to help more families in the Knoxville community.
Obviously, with a full-time job at TeamHealth, classes and the hard work it has taken her to acquire 500 hours of “sweat equity” in the Knoxville Habitat homeowner education program … on top of the extra care she provides as a single mother … Tanisha is constantly on the go. She credits her strong faith for keeping her grounded and moving forward.
Tanisha also credits her faith in God for bringing her through the most difficult time in her life. When she was pregnant with the twins, a routine ultrasound led to devastating news. “They told me that Jaden doesn’t have a brain; he’s going to die.”
But Tanisha refused to accept that report … and with faith, she continued to move forward, believing in a more hopeful future for her son. “It was stressful, and it was hard … but I was not going to give up. Faith brought me through it.”
Today, Jaden continues to amaze his doctors and family with all he has overcome. With a laugh, Tanisha says, “He was never supposed to be able to talk, and now I can’t get him to stop! And he’s so funny … The other day, he said ‘Mom, I’m gonna call the police on you because you’re too pretty!’”
“He is amazing … everybody that meets him loves him.”
Tanisha also says that Jaden was her inspiration for going through the Habitat program. Before building and moving into their Habitat home, the family lived in a small, cramped two-bedroom duplex, and with Jaden’s prosthetic leg, they had an urgent need for a home that is handicap accessible.
“I looked at what I could do (to rent or buy with a conventional mortgage) … And to look at a house that’s handicap accessible, that I could afford … there was just no way I could do it.”
Her aunt (a Habitat homeowner) encouraged Tanisha to apply for homeownership through Knoxville Habitat. Tanisha had been inspired by how her aunt has paid off her mortgage and built a better future.
And now, Tanisha and her children are experiencing one of the greatest blessings in their lives … a home. A home that is handicap accessible, where each child can have his/her own room, and where this inspirational mother and her children can build their future in a place they can truly call “home.”
“They (my children) already have such a sense of pride, and they are seeing how if you work hard and have your priorities straight, you can accomplish anything you want to.”